Temple University Owls
6-foot-4 5/8, 305 pounds.
Linden, N.J.: Linden High School
While most of the nation might not have heard of Wilkerson, National Football League talent evaluators and college football offensive coordinators have been very aware of his raw ability during his last two years as a starter. The once 240-pound freshman, a product of the Owls' renowned training room, has not only added over 65 pounds of bulk to his frame, but has also shown outstanding bull rush and pass rushing ability.
Compared to the Oakland Raiders' Richard Seymour, Wilkerson has the low pad level, burst and wingspan to easily split double teams and shot the interior gaps. Much like Seymour and former Arizona Cardinals standout, Eric Swann, the youngster has that explosive speed and excellent balance to come off the edge and beat offensive tackles to generate a sudden surge to close on the quarterback and collapse the pocket.
Starting his last 25 games, Wilkerson gave opponents nightmares with his ability to wreak havoc in the backfield. Since being inserted into the lineup, Temple went from being ranked 81st in the nation, allowing 388.00 yards per game during his 2008 campaign as a reserve, to improving to 32nd nationally (334.00 ypg) in his first year as a starter in 2009. In his final season, he led the charge as the Owls ranked 16th nationally and second in the Mid-American Conference, holding opponents to 317.67 yards per game.
Wilkerson produced 16.5 of his 17.5 career quarterback sacks during his time as a starter. He also delivered 23.5 of his 26.0 tackles behind the line of scrimmage during his time with the first unit. He closed out his college career with 144 tackles (88 solos), as he caused and recovered three fumbles. His superb wingspan saw him bat down eleven pass attempts at the line of scrimmage and also block one kick. Those statistics helped him earn All-Mid American Conference first-team honors in both seasons that he started.
During his playing days at Linden High School, Wilkerson excelled in football and basket-ball for the Tigers. The Prep Star Big East/Independent All-Region selection, he also earned Home News Tribune first-team All-Area and Newark Star Ledger second-team All-Union County honors. He lettered twice on the gridiron as a defensive end and tight end.
Despite recording 78 tackles with five quarterback sacks, six pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery as a senior, Wilkerson received just a two-star prospect rating from Rivals.com. Scout.com accorded him just a two-star rating during his days at Linden.
As a junior, Wilkerson received first-team All-Wachtung Conference accolades as a tight end, while grabbing three touchdowns. He was a more highly recruited prospect on the hardwood, where he was the 173rd-rated power forward nationally by Scouts, Inc., as he helped his basketball team to the 2005-06 Group IV state title. He also guided his AAU basketball team to the national tournament in Florida.
Wilkerson signed his national letter-of-intent to attend Temple on February 5th, 2007, but he failed to qualify academically and instead, enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy. Under the tutelage of renowned head coach, Robert Prunty, he competed on both sides of the ball for the 2007 Tigers. His performance saw Rivals.com elevate him to a three-star ranking, while Scout.com improved his status to four-stars.
In 2008, Wilkerson earned his first letter at Temple, playing in eleven games as a reserve behind Andre Neblett at nose guard. He delivered thirteen tackles (7 solos) that included one sack and 2.5 stops for loss. He also deflected four passes as the Owls ranked 87th in the nation vs. the run, allowing 166.33 yards per game.
Wilkerson shifted to left defensive tackle as a sophomore, earning All-Mid American Conference first-team honors in 2009. He recorded 61 tackles (36 solos) and ranked second on the team with seven sacks. He also finished second on the squad and sixth in the conference with 10.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He recovered two fumbles, caused another, broke up four passes and blocked a kick.
Wilkerson changed jerseys from #96 that he wore his first two years at Temple to #9 prior to the 2010 campaign. He was virtually unstoppable, receiving All-American recognition while again being named All-MAC first-team. He ranked third on the team with a career-best 70 tackles (45 solos), leading the Owls while placing second in the league and 15th in the nation with 9.5 sacks.
He also led Temple and tied for fifth in the conference with 13.0 stops for loss. He caused two fumbles, recovered another, deflected three passes and showed off his prep tight end skills, catching his first collegiate pass for a 3-yard gain in the Connecticut contest.
After the season, head coach Al Golden left the Owls program to accept the head coaching position at the University of Miami. On January 4th, 2011, Wilkerson announced that he was leaving college and had applied for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Before his announcement, Wilkerson met with the new coaching staff, but felt that he was better served testing his wares in the National Football League in 2011. "I've spoken to Muhammad and his mother," head coach Steve Addazio said, "and they feel it's in his best interest to enter the Draft at this time. We thank Muhammad for all that he has given to Temple Football during his tenure, and we wish him the best."
"I sat down with my mom, and we decided to take the shot now," Wilkerson said. In December, he was among the underclassmen who petitioned the NFL Advisory Committee for an evaluation. Made up of league front office types, the advisory committee reviews film of the applicants to determine their NFL readiness. According to that report, he was told that they expected him to be taken in the second round.
"We went through the process, and I made my decision based on my grade," Wilkerson said. "Growing up, I always dreamed about playing professional football, and once I got to Temple, from the coaching I got, and the progress I made on the field, I started hearing I could be an NFL player."
Rob Christy/US Presswire
"Maybe a little bit," said Wilkerson, who said he spoke with newly hired Owls coach Steve Addazio over the phone, but had not met him in person. "But I had a special bond with those guys. They were the first to recruit me. But, I'm going to miss Temple, and being with my teammates, and all the good times, and being a student-athlete there."
Wilkerson said that he promised his mother, Janice Wilkerson, that he would return to Temple to get his Sociology degree over the next few years. "I won't break my promise to my mother," said Wilkerson, who called his mother his "best friend."
"I enjoyed my time at Temple University," Wilkerson said. "It was a good experience for me. I'm thankful for the opportunity for a scholarship and for an education. I promise to come back and get my degree. I'm definitely going to miss my teammates and being a student-athlete at Temple."
Wilkerson appeared in 36 games at Temple – eleven at nose guard and 25 at left defensive tackle (started all of his left defensive tackle assignments…Switched to jersey #9 in 2010 after wearing #96 during his first two years with the Owls…Finished with 144 tackles (88 solos), 17.5 sacks for minus 132 yards, 26.0 stops for losses of 127 yards and five quarter-back pressures…Caused three fumbles and recovered three others…Deflected eleven passes and blocked one kick…Also caught a pass for a 3-yard gain vs. Connecticut in 2010…Wilkerson's three sacks vs. Kent State in 2010 were one shy of the school game-record of four, first set by Decara Burgess vs. Pittsburgh in 1997 and matched by Dan Klecko vs. Connecticut in 2002.
2010 seasonAll-American second-team selection and listed as the most underrated "under" tackle in college football by The NFL Draft Report…Unanimous All-Mid American Conference first-team choice…Named to the Outland Trophy Watch List…Chosen MAC Defensive Player of the Week vs. Central Michigan and Buffalo…Recipient of the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player Award…Served as one of the squad's captains, starting all twelve games at left defensive tackle…Ranked third on the team and led the league's down linemen with a career-best 70 tackles (45 solos), as he led the Owls and ranked second in the MAC while placing 12th nationally with 9.5 sacks for minus 75 yards…Tied for fifth in the conference, 57th in the nation and led the squad with 13.0 stops for losses totaling 60 yards…Credited with two quarterback pressures…Caused two fumbles and recovered another…Deflected three passes and caught another for a 3-yard gain vs. Connecticut…Helped the Owls rank second in the MAC and 16th in the nation, allowing opponents an average of just 317.67 yards per game in total offense and 19.08 points per game.
2010 game analysis
Central Michigan…Wilkerson earned MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors, as he collected six tackles with a pair of sacks, three stops behind the line of scrimmage, a forced fumble and a pass deflection in a 13-10 decision…He forced CMU to punt after their game-opening possession, when the defensive tackle brought Cody Wilson down after just a one-yard gain on a third-&-2 carry…On the final play of the first half, he sacked QB Ryan Radcliff for minus 10 yards…Radcliff took off on a bootleg early in the third frame, but Wilkerson tripped him up for a 1-yard loss…The junior forced the game into overtime when he again sacked Radcliff for a 13-yard loss, causing a fumble at the Temple 45 as time expired in regulation…On the first overtime play, he batted down a Radcliff pass attempt at the line of scrimmage…Head to Head Competition-ROG#65-Darren Keyton (6:03-301)…Wilkerson Defensive Impact-The defender made five tackles vs. the run, holding those ball carriers to minus 18 yards (-3.60 ypc), as he produced two third-down stops and delivered three tackles behind the line of scrimmage…Led a defense that allowed 43 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries (1.30 ypc) and 342 total yards on 68 plays (5.03 ypc).
Penn State…The junior was in on a season-best nine tackles (matched that total two more times in 2010)…On the game's second play from scrimmage, Wilkerson simply ran over All-American offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski to flatten Stephfon Green on a 1-yard rushing attempt, causing a fumble that PSU recovered, as the Nittany Lions would salvage some points from that series with a 45-yard field goal…Penn State settled for another field goal after Wilkerson tackled Green at the Temple 15-yard line for no gain during their next possession…On the Lions final play for the first half, Wilkerson leveled QB Rob Bolden at the line of scrimmage for no gain on a fourth-&-1 carry…On fourth-&-5 with 0:19 remaining in the contest, the left tackle upended Green at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Head to Head Competition-ROG#61-Stefen Wisniewski (6:03-306)…Wilkerson Defensive Impact-The defender made nine tackles vs. the run, holding those ball carriers to 16 yards (1.78 ypc), as he produced one third-down stop and two more on fourth-down plays. He also delivered one tackle inside the red zone and stopped runners for no gain at the line of scrimmage three times…Led a defense that allowed 216 yards and one touchdown on 46 carries (4.70 ypc) and 439 total yards on 74 plays (5.93 ypc).
Army…Wilkerson followed with five tackles (3 solos) in a 42-35 victory…He killed an early fourth quarter 8-play drive, as he first brought down Malcolm Brown behind the line of scrimmage on a rushing attempt and then forced the Cadets to punt when he sacked QB Trent Steelman for minus 12 yards on a third-&-5 snap…Head to Head Competition-ROG#54-Seth Reed (6:01-279)…Wilkerson Defensive Impact-The defender made five tackles vs. the run, holding those ball carriers to minus 4 yards (-0.80 ypc), as he produced one third-down stop and took down runners behind the line of scrimmage twice…Led a defense that allowed 235 yards and four touchdowns on 57 carries (4.12 ypc) and 359 total yards on 74 plays (4.85 ypc).
Buffalo…The defensive captain picked up his second MAC Player of the Week honors for 2010, as he assisted on three sacks, had one solo QB drop, a pressure and six tackles in a 42-0 shutout…The Bulls' game-opening series came to an end, as Wilkerson sacked QB Alex Zordich for a 2-yard loss on third-&-11, forcing Buffalo to punt…With 0:39 left in the first half, the junior sacked Zordich for an 8-yard loss and two plays later on third-&-8, the final snap of the second quarter ended with Wilkerson again dropping Zordich for minus 9 yards at the Buffalo 38…Midway through the third frame, Zordich was sacked by the Owls defender for a 1-yard loss…Head to Head Competition-ROG#54-Seth Reed (6:01-279)… Wilkerson Defensive Impact-The defender made six tackles vs. the run, holding those ball carriers to minus 13 yards (-2.17 ypc), as he produced three third-down stops and made four tackles behind the line of scrimmage…Led a defense that allowed 63 yards and no touchdowns on 33 carries (1.91 ypc) and 161 total yards on 65 plays (2.48 ypc).
Kent State…Wilkerson registered a career-best three sacks for minus 21 yards and was in on six tackles in a 28-10 triumph…Midway through the second quarter, KSU brought out the punt unit after the defensive tackle sacked QB Keith Spencer on a third-&-6 snap for an 8-yard loss…He sacked Spencer again for minus 3 yards early in the second half and another third period series ended with Kent State punting, as Wilkerson leveled Spencer on a third-&-16 play with a 10-yard sack…Record Watch- Wilkerson's three sacks rank third on the school game-record list, topped by only the four sacks that were first recorded by Decara Burgess vs. Pittsburgh in 1997 and matched by Dan Klecko vs. Connecticut in 2002…Head to Head Competition-ROG#72-Zac Kasparek (6:05-299)…Wilkerson Defensive Impact-The defender made six tackles vs. the run, holding those ball carriers to minus 14 yards (-2.33 ypc), as he produced three third-down stops and made three tackles behind the line of scrimmage…Led a defense that allowed 16 yards and no touchdowns on 21 carries (0.76 ypc) and 223 total yards on 60 plays (3.72 ypc).
Miami (Oh.)…In what would be his final collegiate game, Wilkerson made seven tackles with an 8-yard sack, a pressure and a pass deflection…The RedHawks punted early in the second quarter after the junior defender leveled tailback Thomas Merriweather on a third-&-1 run over right end for a 1-yard loss…Later in the first half, he recovered a blocked Miami 33-yard field goal attempt at the Temple 20…The third quarter ended with the Temple game captain sacking QB Austin Boucher for an 8-yard loss…Head to Head Competition-ROG#70-Nate Williams (6:05-293)…Wilkerson Defensive Impact-The defender made seven tackles vs. the run, holding those ball carriers to three yards (0.43 ypc), as he produced two third-down stops, made two tackles for loss and stopped runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain twice…Led a defense that allowed 253 yards and one touchdown on 38 carries (6.66 ypc) and 408 total yards on 66 plays (6.18 ypc).
Other Notable Performances…Wilkerson opened the season with five tackles and assisted on a stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. Villanova…Had just two tackles, but he caught a 3-yard pass on a fake punt at the end of the first quarter in a 30-16 triumph over Connecticut…Registered nine tackles (4 solos) vs. Northern Illinois and matched his season-high again the following week, as eight of his nine hits vs. Bowling Green were solo tackles, breaking up a pass while delivering a stop behind the line of scrimmage in a 28-27 victory…Posted four solo tackles vs. Akron and had a pair of solo hits while also recovering a fumble in the Ohio University clash.
Muhammad Wilkerson — Brian Spurlock/US Presswire
Wilkerson earned All-Mid American Conference first-team honors and was named Defensive Player of the Week vs. Central Michigan and Kent State during his first season as a starter…Also earned team Player of the Week accolades vs. Villanova, Navy, Miami (Oh.) and Kent State…Started all thirteen games at left defensive tackle, recording 61 tackles (36 solos), as he finished second on the squad and sixth in the league with seven sacks for minus 54 yards…Also placed second on the squad with 10.5 stops for losses totaling 62 yards…Added three quarterback pressures with a forced fumble and a pair of fumble recoveries…Deflected four passes and blocked a kick…Helped the Owls rank second in the conference in total defense, allowing 334.00 yards per game, as the front wall was responsible for Temple leading the MAC, giving up just 107.62 yards per game on the ground (18th in the nation).
2009 game highlights
Villanova…In his first career start, Wilkerson responded with four solo tackles…He also sacked QB Chris Whitney for a 2-yard loss.
Ball State…The sophomore defensive tackle delivered three tackles with 1.5 sacks in a 24-19 decision…Midway through the first quarter, BSU was forced to punt when Wilkerson sacked QB Kelly Page on a third-&-6 snap for a 7-yard loss…With 3:24 left in the game, he preserved the Temple win by again sacking Page for minus 7 yards on Ball State's final drive, recovering a fumble by the quarterback at the BSU 44.
Miami (Oh.)…Wilkerson posted five tackles (4 solos) as he produced his first multiple-sack performance for the Owls in a 34-32 victory…With 2:29 to play in the third frame, he sacked QB Zac Dysert for minus 6 yards…The final play for that quarter saw Wilkerson chase down Dysert at the Temple 41 for a 10-yard sack.
Kent State…Wilkerson added five tackles (3 solos) and again had multiple sacks to lead the Owls to a 47-13 romp…The final play of the third quarter had the sophomore defender sacking QB Anthony Magazu for minus 13 yards at the Kent 12…On the opponent's next possession, Wilkerson blasted into the backfield to drop Magazu at the Kent 24 for another 13-yard sack.
Other Notable Performances…Had just a tackle and a pass break-up at Penn State, adding a solo stop in the Buffalo clash…Made six stops, forced a fumble and recovered another in the win at Eastern Michigan…Posted six solo stops, including one for a 2-yard loss vs. Army…Added four tackles, a pass break-up, and a pressure in the Toledo clash…Led the Owls with a career-high 13 tackles, including a career-high nine assists at Navy en route to the coaches' defensive player of the game accolades…Posted two solo tackles and a pass deflection vs. Akron…Blocked an extra point attempt and was in on six tackles in the Ohio University contest…Registered five tackles (3 solos) with 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. UCLA in the Eagle Bank Bowl.
Wilkerson appeared in all but the Connecticut game as a reserve nose guard behind Andre Neblett…Recorded 13 tackles (7 solos) with a 3-yard sack, 2.5 stops for losses of 5 yards and four pass deflections, but the Owls finished 87th in the nation vs. the rush (166.33 ypg) and 81st in total defense (388.00 ypg).
2008 game highlights
Made his debut with two assisted tackles vs. Army…Had a stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. Penn State and broke up a pass vs. Western Michigan…Was in on two assisted tackles vs. Miami (Oh.) and had two more hits, including one for a loss vs. Central Michigan…Recorded his first career sack for minus 3 yards and registered a pair of solo tackles vs. Kent State…Had two more solo hits and two pass deflections vs. Eastern Michigan…Posted one tackle in each of the Buffalo, Navy and Akron clashes.
Attended Hargrave (Chatham, Va.) Military Academy, playing on both sides of the ball as a defensive end, tackle, tight end and offensive tackle for head coach Robert Prunty…Had originally intended to play at Temple, but enrolled at Hargrave to improve his academic standing.
No injuries reported.
Campus agility tests
5.04 in the 40-yard dash…1.81 10-yard dash…2.84 20-yard dash…4.73 20-yard shuttle…
7.68 three-cone drill…32-inch vertical jump…8'9" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times.
Attended Linden (N.J.) High School, playing football for head coach James "Bucky" McDonald…The Prep Star Big East/Independent All-Region selection also earned Home News Tribune first-team All-Area and Newark Star Ledger second-team All-Union County honors…Lettered twice on the gridiron as a defensive end and tight end…Despite recording 78 tackles with five quarterback sacks, six pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery as a senior, Wilkerson received just a two-star prospect rating from Rivals.com…Scout.com accorded him just a two-star rating…As a junior, he received first-team All-Wachtung Conference honors as a tight end, while grabbing three touchdowns… Was a more highly recruited prospect on the hardwood, where he was the 173rd-rated power forward nationally by Scouts, Inc…Helped his basketball team to the 2005-06 Group IV state title…Also guided his AAU basketball team to the national tournament in Florida.
Business Administration major…One of four children (two brothers, one sister) of Janice and Alvin Wilkerson…Father played football at Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey…Born 10/22/89 in Linden, New Jersey.
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