Wilkes becomes a Webber Warrior
Hilliard Flash Brandon Wilkes will soon be a Warrior at Webber International.
Wilkes signed his letter of intent May 4 to play football for the university based in Babson Park. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches tall, the 312-pound offensive lineman should be an imposing player for his new team.
Coach Zack Whittenburg said that Wilkes’ intelligence and physicality will benefit the Warriors. He has coached Wilkes for at least three seasons.
“He’s big of course,” the coach said. “He was kind of able to direct everybody up front because he understands the game. It comes pretty easy for him. He’ll have a transition to the next level, but he’s intelligent. He’ll do well.”
When Wilkes enters college in August, he will mostly likely start on the junior varsity team. He plans to study criminal justice so that he can pursue a career in law enforcement.
“When I went to visit, I really liked their campus,” Wilkes said. “I liked the theme. I believe it will be a good fit for me.”
He will also beef up the Warrior lineup, though he is not sure which position he will play.
“I know they don’t have a big offensive lineman,” he said. “They’ve only got one big guy on the team.”
Wilkes’ dad reflected on his son’s abilities.
“He started out in pee wee football and was always the biggest kid, I noticed, but it was really what other people said – that he should tackle it – but I wanted him to do what he wanted to do,” Lee Wilkes said. “I’m just glad he stuck with it.”
Looking back on his high school career, Wilkes said one of his favorite memories includes a team event off the field, guided by former coach Doug Allison.
“The coolest thing was when Mr. Allison was here and he took us all to see the movie, ‘When the Game Stands Tall.’”
The film is based on the career of football coach Bob Ladouceur. He led the De La Salle High School Spartans to a 151-game winning streak, which lasted 12 years.
Cheryl Wilkes looks forward to seeing her son play at the next level.
“He’s always been an athlete,” she said. “He started out at 4 years old, playing T-ball. He’s always done something sports-wise.”
Wilkes overcame earlier stressors that nearly caused him to leave the game altogether. While playing for the junior varsity team, he had second thoughts, according to sister Kaylee.
She was a senior at HMSHS while Wilkes was a freshman.
“I thought he was going to quit. But he just went back with it,” Kaylee Wilkes said.
The JV team won all but one game that season. With the stakes high, Wilkes said he felt a lot of pressure, but he soon refocused on the game and turned things around. He quickly moved into a position on varsity, replacing a senior player. He never looked back and bonded with his teammates on the offensive line, including Ian McBride, Matthew Holland, Jacob Waters, Vanzant Brand and Jakob Hinson.
“They all pushed me to be a better player,” Wilkes said.
The teen also thanked his parents for standing by him.
“My parents supported me through different opportunities to further my career,” he said.