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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

2011 High School Football's Best Kept Secret.....but not for long.

Posted Monday, September 12, 2011, at 10:52 PM

(Photo)
San Antonio Winston's La Jordan Wilkerson...leads the nation in rushing.
This is the 21st century in case you haven't noticed lately. Things move at warp speed 24/7. You can be in contact with any corner of the earth in a heartbeat via the world-wide web. People today are not impressed with feats that floored old guys like me years ago. It takes a monumental, superman type of performance to turn heads at any level of anything, including high school sports. Without sounding like a carnival barker, or travelling medicine man from years past, I am going to tell you about a high school football superman that, with the right assistance from the right college coaches, can be a shining star beyond imagination. Who am I to say that.............just listen, please?

I have been doing the 1000 Yard Club thing for 38 years now and probably have watched as much film as a high school coach who has been in the ranks for 25 years. I don't claim to recognize a running back worthy of the college ranks in 20 seconds like former Texas coach Fred Akers could, but give me one game film and I can tell you something. Recently, I saw an ESPN 30 by 30 special called "The Best that Never Was". It focused on former Philadelphia, Mississippi and Oklahoma University running back, Marcus Dupree. I can recall talking to a newspaper reporter from New Orleans by the name of Jerry Ball that told me Dupree could end up being the best that ever was. Now, Marcus Dupree didn't play 6-Man football, but the young man I am going to tell you about named La Jordan Wilkerson, actually reminded me of a raw version of Dupree.........and I mean RAW, but talented to the max. But that RAW version (Wilkerson) is currently the leading rusher in the Nation, having had games of 591, 583, and 255 under his belt thus far in 2011. The 255 yards he had last Friday came in only one half of football and on 10 carries with 6 of those going for scores. The game was called at halftime because of the 45 point rule.

La Jordan Wilkerson is 5-11, 195 pounds of rock hard, solid muscle. Wilkerson attends school at Winston School in San Antonio, Texas. As I mentioned in a previous piece, Winston is a private school for students with some learning disabilities. Not students that can't function, just students that have a difficult time grasping the mainstream flow of learning common in most public schools. The tuition is a bit over 15,000 dollars a year, and this school knows what they are doing with the academic side of things and apparently with this year's football squad. La Jordan Wilkerson's brother, Jerrell was one of the most sought after high school football runners when he broke the San Antonio city single season rushing record a few years back running for 5A, 11-Man football school. Jerrell received a full ride from the Texas Longhorns but things did not work out....what a shame it was. La Jordan is out to change that in his own life. He went to San Antonio Robert E. Lee high his freshman and sophomore seasons and played JV ball. Robert E. Lee is the equivalent of a Class A school like Omaha Central in Nebraska. La Jordan really never had the opportunity to compete because of his quiet nature and honestly all of the tools were probably not there yet.

Last season he transferred to Winston School and promptly rushed for 2,564 yards, had 530 yards receiving, and scored 64 touchdowns. Between his junior and seniors seasons, he was timed at a summer football camp at Texas University at 4.36 in the 40 yard dash. Mark Hambrick, his head coach says the sky seems to be the limit for Wilkerson. Every run seems like a highlight reel. He runs like the wind, drags tacklers with him and occasionally completely reverses his field and goes the distance on the 80 yard gridiron. Should be a cinch for a Division One scholarship, right? Hold the phone........this is 6-Man football and 6-Man football is nothing more than sandlot ball that have plays drawn up in the dirt, right?

Texas 6-Man football is wide-open to put it mildly. There are only 2 versions of football in the Lone Star state, 11-Man and 6-Man. There are around 212 teams that play the 6-Man game in Texas, so they take the game seriously. Winston School has around 200 students attending classes. In Nebraska we have only 17 teams playing the 6-man game. In comparison, to Winston's 200 kids, we have teams like Hyannis playing the game with 24 students in the entire school. How would our Nebraska version of the 6-Man game (which was invented here in this State) compare to the Texas brand of game? A few years back, Wolbach had a pretty salty 6-Man football team. They had won a state title the year before and decided to take a trip to Texas to play a regular season game against one of the better teams down there. They absorbed a good old Texas butt kicking before the first half and eventually ended up on the short end of a lopsided score........and that was a fine Wolbach football team. That's how good Texas 6-Man football is.

I have just finished 2 days of watching game film on young Mr. Wilkerson and this message is to college coaches at any level. For the sake of the pure game of football, DO NOT overlook La Jordan Wilkerson just because he plays the 6-Man version. Football is football. It's blocking, running, and tackling. This young man has raw football skills you cannot teach and is under the radar simply because of the 6-Man thing. Yes, there are not many 6-Man athletes that are stars in D-1 college football, or even play at that level. I think there may a kicker at Abeline Christian that played 6-Man, but in my humble opinion, I think La Jordan Wilkerson is one of the best prospects to come out of the nation in 6-Man football in years. Yes, he may be raw, but still possesses enough God given ability to lead the entire nation in rushing right now. He has bloodlines and you cannot teach or create that. He has instincts like a cat, cuts on a dime, has a body that appears to have 2% body fat, and scores every third time touches the football. It has been a long, long while since I've seen an athlete like this, and if given the opportunity by a school at the collegiate level (or JUCO), could molded into the kind of player that has stars following his name. I firmly believe that this young man is one of the most coachable players around considering the information I have received from Winston head coach Mark Hambrick. On film, with due respect to his opponents, Wilkerson looks like a man playing against boys. Watching these game films leaves you wondering what this player could do at the next level......I'm not a college football coach, but I can envision what could transpire there.

I saw a young man named Drew Ott play for 8-Man Giltner (Nebr.) when he was a freshman, and witnessed him make 15 unassisted tackles against one of the better teams in state. Although I rarely think it, the first thing that crossed my mind was that he was major college material. Before the 2011 season, Ott committed to play football at D-1 Iowa University. No, Wilkerson does not play 8-Man, or 11-Man football, but this young man, if not given the opportunity to play at the collegiate level, will be one of the biggest shames of all time in high school/college football. I know talent when I see it and La Jordan Wilkerson is a magician when he gets the football in his hands. Not many come along like him, trust me.

Does this sound like a plea....maybe. For all I know, Wilkerson may have some college coaches interested long before the season is completed, but I go to bed every night hoping he'll get that opportunity to play in college. All he needs is a look and sometimes that is rare for a player in the 6-Man ranks.

Remember the name...La Jordan Wilkerson-Winston School, San Antonio, Texas. You may just be reading about this young talent right around this time next season when he is at the next level.



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