Tuesday, October 9, 2012

the recruit: Donta Wilkins

Name: Donta Wilkins
Position: DT
Hometown: Dumfries
School: Potomac
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 315

24/7: 90, four stars; #24 DT, VA #15
ESPN: 74, three stars; #71 OG, VA #32, Atl. #132
Rivals: 5.5, three stars; VA #25
Scout: three stars; #60 DT

Other offers: Virginia Tech, Penn State, Miami, NC State, North Carolina, Boston College, Mississippi State, Maryland

How would it sound to have a little beef on the defensive line?  Right now the only 300-pounder in the rotation is Justin Renfrow, who for now is seeing his time gradually dwindle in favor of Chris Brathwaite.  The guys we have now are perfectly good players, but perfectly good players with 20 or 30 extra pounds each would also be nice, and that's what we'll get in pairs with Wilkins and Tyrell Chavis.

The various recruiting sites don't agree exactly on Wilkins's weight (they never do) but there's one thing they do agree on: he's 300 pounds, easy.  That size is likely a big part of the reason why so many ACC schools went after Wilkins despite a general consensus among the recruiting sites of a lowish three-star rating.  Wilkins carries that weight well and there's little doubt in my mind he'll end up with a playing weight in the same general range.  He's got the thickness, and, despite a good height of 6'3", looks to have a low center of gravity that'll make him damn hard to move off the line once he converts some fat to muscle.

Wilkins committed in June at the front end of a one-week commit-apalooza, shortly following a visit to Charlottesville during which it was widely thought he wouldn't.  Now, is that commitment solid?  Yes; I don't think Wilkins will change his mind, but the question is fair - Wilkins maintained even at the time of his verbal that he'd take official visits to UNC, PSU, and Michigan State and hasn't changed his mind three and a half months later, although for reasons which are easy to guess, he's replaced PSU with Miami.  (I suspect, by the way, that the Mississippi State offer listed by most of the sites is actually that Michigan State offer - "MSU" has a way of getting lost in translation at times.)  Whether these visits take place remains to be seen; London sometimes has a way of dissuading them.

Right now, UVA has a nice little conveyor belt setup at DT, which is a good situation.  Will Hill graduates this year, Renfrow and Brent Urban next year, Brathwaite the year after that.  As they move on, guys like David Dean and Vincent Croce will start to take over.  There's enough talent here that Wilkins can take a couple years, much like Dean and Croce are doing, to get himself conditioned and ready.  But the nice thing about DT is that it requires a lot of bodies, so Wilkins can play right when he's ready, but no sooner.  Between he and Chavis, Wilkins projects a little closer to three-tech than Chavis does, but both could play nose tackle.  And no, despite ESPN's scouting report claiming Wilkins would make a better offensive guard than defensive tackle (they're very lukewarm on Wilkins, which based on his offer list I don't agree with), I don't see him getting moved to that side.  If that were the plan, the coaches wouldn't be casually chasing a few other offensive linemen to join the class.

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