Trinity LB Wilkins commits to Michigan
Football players normally complain when coaches schedule two-a-day workouts.
For Trinity linebacker Ken Wilkins, such sessions are self-imposed. It's weightlifting in the morning, speed and agility training several hours later.
"Six days a week," he said.
Wilkins started gathering the benefits of his hard work Tuesday, when he made a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Michigan.
"He is a physical, freakish-looking kid," Trinity coach Ed Dalton said. "He is 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, and he has a 30-inch waist. He is an unbelievable physical specimen."
Dalton said Wilkins' potential is off the charts.
"When he plays with a high motor, he is unbelievable," he said. "He has to become a little more consistent and play at a high level every snap, but the sky's the limit."
Wilkins, who said he has run a 4.61-second 40-yard dash, whittled his list of offers from 27 schools to five — Michigan, Maryland, Pitt, Virginia and West Virginia.
"Michigan was my favorite school when I was younger, and I just felt comfortable there when I visited," he said. "I just felt like I belonged."
Wilkins, who also plays tight end, is the second WPIAL player from the Class of 2010 to make a verbal commitment to Michigan, joining Hampton linebacker Jordan Paskorz.
Pitt was chasing all three local players who made their decisions in the past week, but Wilkins, North Allegheny offensive tackle Tom Ricketts (Penn State) and Fox Chapel lineman Miles Dieffenbach (Penn State) committed elsewhere.
Several area players have made recent commitments to play for college athletic programs.
Freedom point guard Jenn Cantella, Trinity point guard Danielle Gilmore, Peters Township guard/forward Sam Higgins and West Allegheny guard Olet Stasko have committed to Westminister College and will join the basketball team for the 2009-2010 season.
Moon High School graduate Amanda Ardinger has made a commitment to Point Park University where she plans to join the softball and volleyball teams.
Highlands graduate Michael Shoemaker, who was a four-year starter on the soccer team and a punter on the football team, hopes to walk on to the soccer team at Penn State-Behrend.
With Parkland and Brandywine Heights each advancing their baseball and softball teams to the state championship games Friday in Altoona and Shippensburg, the PIAA has changed starting times to accomodate fans.
The day in Altoona — site of the baseball championships — starts at 10 a.m. with WPIAL Class AAA runnerup Chartiers Valley (16-7) playing District 2 champion Abington Heights (18-3). The Class A title game between WPIAL champion Serra Catholic and District 3 champ Camp Hill (22-2) has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. The Class AA championship between WPIAL third seed South Fayette (18-5) and District 3 champ Brandywine Heights (21-4) is at 7 p.m., the last game of the day. North Penn (19-6), the fifth seed from District 1, plays Parkland (21-6), the District 11 champion, at 4:30 p.m.
The Parkland and Brandywine Heights softball teams play at 10 a.m. at noon in Shippensburg, giving fans of both teams enough time to arrive in Altoona. Parkland's softball team plays WPIAL runnerup Shaler (16-5), which has graduation ceremonies scheduled Friday night.