College football coaches say it doesn’t take long to find a college football player on a high school field.
When coaches come to J.Z. George, it doesn’t take them long to find Keiyhaun Wilks.
Wilks had a monster season for the Jaguars and coach Rusty Smith last season from his defensive end position. Wilks, who made the All-Crossroads team last year as well as an all-division player, led the Jaguars with 103 total tackles. He had 77 solo tackles and 13 sacks. This year, he’s one of The Winona Times Top 11 players to watch for the upcoming season.
“I would like to put him at defensive end, that’s where I see him playing at the next level,” Smith said. “When I first got here, he was a DB so we left him at DB. But I said look man he’s too good of an athlete for us not to have him on the field. He would get confused about coverages and what to do and then he can’t hear good, so you’re hollering stuff, but he might not hear nothing. We put him at defensive end last year and I think he had 15 sacks. He flourished there where he could just go play and led the team in tackles. He probably had 70 or 80 solo tackles at D-end and he kept us in a bunch of ballgames.”
Wilks will also get time on offense this year as well.
“I see him being a goal line or deep threat on offense,” Smith said “He doesn’t have to know every play, he just knows what he needs to do on a few of them. He’s going to get better at that too. He just needs a few reps.”
Smith said Wilks showed what he could do against Coffeeville last season.
“I was going to save him just for defense but I had like five seniors that weren’t there because they tested positive,” Smith said. “So I had to use him on offense and he had three touchdowns. He was just running by them. He’s just that athletic. You don’t see players with that kind of size and speed.”
Along with Jeremy Rais, Wilks will have to carry the Jaguars this season.
“He doesn’t realize that we don’t have hardly anybody that pushes him,” Smith said. “Jeremy is the only one that really gives him any competition. They workout together and they are both seniors. They are the only two starters I’ve got coming back on defense. I’ve got a bunch of tenth graders that are going to play this year. So Keiyaun and Jeremy are going to have to be our guys.”
Smith said one of the state’s junior colleges would be luck to have Wilks. The senior will go to camps at Southern Miss, Mississippi State and Central Arkansas this summer. He is also getting interest from Copiah-Lincoln, Northeast Mississippi and Holmes in the junior college ranks.
“They are recruiting me as a defensive end,” Wilks said. “I like defensive end. I think it’s better for me to be on the defensive side of the football because I like tackling a lot. I like to be the one doing the hitting instead of getting hit.”
Smith said Wilks is getting plenty of interest.
“He’s getting looks from a bunch of folks,” Smith said. “A bunch of folks are interested in him when they come in and see him they are really impressed. He’s got a pretty good highlight film, too. I took him to a couple of camps. He was invited to the Mississippi State camp and I hope he shows out.”
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Wilks certainly looks the part of a college football player.
“He’s got the size, there’s no doubt about that,” Smith said.