Ex-Wolverine Update: Another Pre-Season Edition

Tag: Ken Wilkins

26Aug 2014
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Ex-Wolverine Update: Another Pre-Season Edition

Demetrius Hart (#1) has moved on from Alabama to Colorado State (image via 247 Sports)

Former DT Richard Ash: I already reported that Ash will be playing for Western Michigan this fall. What I didn’t know until recently is that he will wear the #9 as a defensive tackle. You have to love single-digit numbers on defensive linemen, especially tackles.

Former S Josh Furman: Furman is listed as a 6’2″, 202 lb. linebacker for Oklahoma State. He’s #1 on the depth chart at “Star,” and you can see why they wanted him – his backup is a 6’2″, 190 lb. freshman, and the other four players on the linebacker two-deep are one junior, two sophomores, and another freshman. They open against Florida State on August 30th.

Former RB commit Demetrius Hart: Hart is a grad transfer from Alabama to Colorado State. He struggled to break through at Alabama and had some off-the-field troubles, but former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain is now at CSU. Now Hart is trying to earn the starting gig for the Rams. They open against Colorado on August 29th.

Former LB Kaleb Ringer: Ringer – and his brother – are not listed on Ferris State’s football roster this fall.

Former CB commit Anthony Standifer: Standifer was booted from Ole Miss’s program after getting into some trouble, and he now appears on the roster of Eastern Illinois (his home state), which plays in the FCS’s Ohio Valley Conference.

Former OT commit Denzel Ward: Ward is listed as a 6’8″, 353 lb. freshman offensive tackle for Syracuse.

Former DE/DT Ken Wilkins: Wilkins appears on the California University of Pennsylvania football roster as a junior 6’3″, 250 lb. defensive lineman. It is a destination for some former big-time football players, including Jeff Knox (a former Pitt player who was booted for attacking a girl who told him she was pregnant) and Desimon Green (a former Texas Tech commit).

15Mar 2013
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Ken Wilkins, ex-Wolverine

Defensive tackle Ken Wilkins

Defensive tackle Ken Wilkins has left the team.  Wilkins just finished his redshirt sophomore season, but he had yet to play a single down at Michigan.

Wilkins committed to Michigan in June 2009 as a member of the 2010 class.  Rich Rodriguez recruited him as a “Quick,” the OLB/DE hybrid that Craig Roh played at one time.  As you can see from my commitment post (link), I always had doubts about whether Wilkins had the athleticism to pull off that kind of role.  Wilkins redshirted in 2010, and by spring 2011 he was playing strongside end for Brady Hoke.  Wilkins eventually grew into a 6’3″, 294 lb. nose tackle, but the weight wasn’t good weight.  Reports indicated that he lacked intensity on the field and in the weight room, struggling to stay low; that was evident in the limited practice film and in his spring game performance.  He was not expected to contribute much in 2013, since rising sophomore Ondre Pipkins had already surpassed him, Wilkins’ classmate Richard Ash has earned some playing time, and the coaches seemed more excited about redshirt freshman Willie Henry, too.

Wilkins is the 16th member of the 27-man class of 2010 to depart early, joining Cullen Christian, Demar Dorsey, Stephen Hopkins, Carvin Johnson, Conelius Jones, Antonio Kinard, Ricardo Miller, Christian Pace, Jerald Robinson, Davion Rogers, Terrence Talbott, Terry Talbott, Ray Vinopal, Austin White, and D.J. Williamson.  Michigan is still technically above the 85-scholarship limit for the coming season, so Wilkins’ departure does not really affect the size of the 2014 recruiting class.

20Jun 2012
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2012 Season Countdown: #71 Kenny Wilkins

Kenny Wilkins (image via UMGoBlog)

Name: Kenny Wilkins
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 280 lbs.
High school: Washington (PA) Trinity
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #41
Last year: I ranked Wilkins #57 and said he would be the third string SDE.  He did not see game action.

Wilkins has had an interesting journey at Michigan so far, and he’s only a redshirt sophomore.  He was recruited as a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, arrived on campus planning to play defensive end, and has now grown into a 280-plus pound defensive tackle.  Rumors from practices suggested that Wilkins just didn’t show the aggressiveness and work ethic to earn playing time, but putting on 30-40 lbs. in a year or two can do that to a guy sometimes.

This spring the talk was a little more positive, as the light was rumored to have flipped on for Wilkins a little bit.  I won’t buy it until I see it, but there’s an obvious need on the interior of the defensive line for someone to step up.  Perhaps Wilkins sees the opportunity for playing time and has decided to make a run at a starting job.  Wilkins played both nose tackle and defensive tackle in the spring.  I think he’s too short on technique and size to play the nose once the season rolls around, but he could be in the mix as a 3-tech.  He’s probably not in any danger of starting, though.

Prediction: Backup defensive tackle

4Apr 2012
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Spring Practice Thoughts and Rumors – Defense

Cameron Gordon has impressed the coaches again this spring

If you missed yesterday’s discussion of the offense, here it is.  And now for the defense:

Defensive end: As we know by now, Craig Roh has switched to strongside end.  He has done fairly well at the position, but he’ll need to spend the next several months eating a ton and bulking up.  The coaches want him in the low 280s and right now he’s about 270.  Insiders say Frank Clark looks like the starter at weakside end for the upcoming season.  Brennen Beyer, who switched from SAM linebacker this offseason, also has reportedly fared well but looks to be a step behind Clark at the position.  Beyer’s a thicker, run-stopping sort and Clark will have to work on that aspect of his game.  Nathan Brink is the presumed backup at the 5-tech position but has been limited due to his late-season broken leg.  Keith Heitzman is also in the mix, which would be great for depth at the position.  I would not be surprised to see one or two of the freshman defensive ends get some action, such as Matt Godin at 5-tech and Mario Ojemudia on the weakside, although Heitzman’s emergence might preclude Godin from having to burn a redshirt.

Defensive tackle: The first team defensive tackles appear to be Will Campbell at nose tackle and Jibreel Black at the 3-tech.  Campbell looks fit and is being more consistent with his technique, but the coaches continue to work on that aspect.  Black needs to add weight, but he’s more athletic than most 3-techs (especially compared to Will Heininger), so he adds a different dimension.  Richard Ash appears to be the backup nose tackle.  Meanwhile, Ken Wilkins has supposedly taken a leap forward this spring.  He was mired on the bench last season and there were a lot of questions swirling about him, but it seems the light has gone on.  He could be the #2 defensive tackle going into the season.  Chris Rock has also earned a tiny bit of buzz and has put on a significant amount of weight to play the 3-tech.

Linebacker: I don’t mean to overstate things, but the competition between Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon appears to be neck-and-neck for the SAM position.  The coaches really like Gordon’s athleticism, and he’s done a good job in pass coverage, which makes sense because he’s a converted safety.  Ryan has continued to progress after having a solid redshirt freshman season.  There was a huge dropoff last season between Ryan and Beyer, but that won’t be the case this year (if Cam Gordon can stay healthy).  At the MIKE spot, Kenny Demens hasn’t necessarily taken the forward steps that the coaches want.  He has been hampered by a thumb injury, and the #1 middle linebacker in his absence has been freshman Joe Bolden.  Mike Jones is buried at the #3 spot.  The best linebacker this spring has been Desmond Morgan, according to several accounts.  He’s put on a decent amount of weight after playing at 225 last season, and insiders suggest he’s probably close to 240 now.  The backup to Morgan at WILL has been Antonio Poole, who redshirted last season.

Cornerback: Blake Countess has one cornerback position locked down.  At the boundary corner position, Terrence Talbott has stepped up to challenge J.T. Floyd.  Insiders say that Floyd’s “benching” is partly due to him underperforming and partly due to rewarding Talbott for hard work in the offseason.  It might be unlikely that Talbott takes a job from a fifth year senior, but the possibility exists.  He’s made his move not by being a great coverage guy but by supporting the run and turning into a very good tackler.  Those are the top three corners right there.  Raymon Taylor continues to earn buzz as perhaps the secondary’s best athlete, but he’s still not ready mentally and physically.  Courtney Avery is the nickel corner, where he did a great job last season and doesn’t seem to getting challenged this spring.

Safety: The starters here are pretty clear with Thomas Gordon at free safety and Jordan Kovacs at strong.  Freshman Jarrod Wilson has picked things up quickly, and he might be the #2 free safety.  Marvin Robinson has returned to the practice field this spring after disappearing last year with some legal issues.  Despite his absence, Robinson appears to have taken another step forward and should be the heir apparent to Kovacs. A couple backup safeties have been absent from practices so far this spring: Tamani Carter and Josh Furman.  I would have to assume that they will be buried a little bit if/when they return.  These coaches do not like guys who miss practice.

5Jul 2011
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2011 Countdown: #57 Ken Wilkins

Ken Wilkins

Name: Ken Wilkins
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 262 lbs.
High school: Trinity High School in Washington, PA
Position: Defensive end
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #41
Last year: I ranked Wilkins #73 and said he would redshirt.  He redshirted.

I don’t understand the official roster on MGoBlue.com, which calls Wilkins a “DT” when he was clearly playing defensive end all spring.  He’s playing the same 5-tech position as Ryan Van Bergen, who’s listed as a . . . “DE.”  So whatever.  Wilkins came in as a 244-pound defensive end last season, but with his need to bulk up combined with all the upperclassman defensive linemen on the roster, he was able to redshirt and put on some weight.

Now up 18 lbs., Wilkins seems to be in line for some playing time this season.  Defensive linemen rotate often, and he might be the #3 strongside end on the depth chart.  Van Bergen should be the starter, but Jibreel Black can play both SDE and WDE, while walk-on Will Heininger will probably play a little bit at SDE, too.  Wilkins will probably see some minutes in the rotation, but based on what I saw in the spring, he’s not quite ready for the primetime just yet.

Prediction: Backup strongside end