Trinity's Wilkins 'an unbelievable physical talent'
Trinity senior defensive end/tight end Ken Wilkins doesn't like to miss a workout.
Opponents could use that time to get better, and he could lose ground, he reasons.
"I get paranoid if I do miss a single workout," Wilkins said. "I'm in the gym three or four times a week, sometimes five."
It shows. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Wilkins bench presses 365 pounds, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds and tirelessly chases down opposing ball carriers.
With his combination of strength and quickness, Wilkins attracted dozens of Division I scholarship offers before he made a verbal commitment to Michigan.
"He's an unbelievable physical talent," Trinity coach Ed Dalton said. "He's very muscular, and he has a 28-inch waist. He looks like an NFL player today. He's not going to take a year in college to get that physical look. He already has it. He's blessed physically."
Wilkins will get another chance to display his skills when Trinity faces Uniontown for a scrimmage at 6 p.m. today.
The Hillers open the regular season by hosting Canon-McMillan at 7 p.m. next Friday.
Wilkins has used his gifts to become the latest standout at Trinity, which in recent years has been a mecca for Division I colleges looking for top-notch defensive talent.
Trinity alumni playing defense at Division I schools are Ohio State sophomore linebacker Andrew Sweat, Ohio University sophomore linebacker Brandon Weaver, Penn State freshman linebacker Mike Yancich and New Hampshire freshman defensive tackle Jack Jamerson. Mark Faldowski, a defensive tackle, recently graduated from Army.
"We're good at identifying talent when they're younger and putting them in positions where they can develop," Dalton said. "And these kids love to train. Some coaches say it's hard to get kids to work. Our kids are cult-like when it comes to training."
Wilkins is one of the leaders in the weight room.
"We kid that he gets bigger with every set," Dalton said.
When Wilkins was a sophomore, he saw the recruiting interest and accolades that Sweat and the others were receiving, and Wilkins knew he wanted a piece of that.
"Coach told me that could be me," Wilkins said. "And I just kept working harder."
As a junior, Wilkins collected 89 tackles and 12 sacks. After that, the scholarship offers started rolling in -- Boston College, Illinois, North Carolina, Pitt, West Virginia, and on. He narrowed his choices to Michigan, Pitt and West Virginia before giving the nod to the Wolverines in June.
Wilkins said he wanted to make an early commitment so he could devote his full attention to the upcoming season. Last year, Trinity finished 5-5 and lost in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
"It was a relief off my shoulders," Wilkins said. "I found out where I wanted to go, and there was no point in letting the pressure build up. It was a good position to be in to be wanted by all those schools, but I wanted to do what was best for me."Additional Information:
School : Trinity
Position : Tight end/defensive end
Height, weight : 6-foot-3, 231 pounds
Did you know? : Wilkins is a cousin of former Washington High School and Notre Dame star running back Travis Thomas, who is now with the Cleveland Browns' practice squad. Wilkins said Thomas gave him advice at the beginning of the recruiting process.