Boston High School: Christian Wilkins

High ceiling for Suffield's Christian Wilkins

August, 2, 2013
Yesterday, ESPN football recruiting analyst Jared Shanker checked in with Suffield Academy (Conn.) defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, a Springfield resident who is fast climbing up the national radar.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Wilkins, who also played for the Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) on the AAU circuit this summer, is a four-star recruit ranked No. 107 overall in the Class of 2015 by ESPN. Going into his junior season at Suffield, Wilkins already holds offers from Ohio State, Florida State, Maryland, UConn, Boston College, Virginia, Stanford, Penn State and Iowa.

Despite his girthy, powerful frame, Wilkins displays remarkable athleticism, Shanker writes:

Since the seventh grade, Wilkins has been able to cartwheel into a back flip. He can dunk jumping off both feet -- quite a bit harder than leaping off one foot with a running start. He takes his elite athleticism and unbridled energy to the water, too. A double front flip is light work for Wilkins, who with a running start off the diving board can pull off a gainer -- a running back flip without much of a jump.

“You got to be confident, that’s how you do it,” Wilkins says.

A dozen colleges have fallen in love with that athleticism and offered Wilkins, who doubles as the big man on one of New England’s top basketball teams. Suffield Academy coach Drew Gamere stood in awe the summer before Wilkins’ freshman season. At 6-foot-3 and about 280 pounds at the time, Gamere watched Wilkins, who he calls the most talented player he’s ever coached, unveil a back flip from just standing flat footed.

“He has great athleticism for his size,” Gamere said. “I forget he’s 300 pounds all the time.”

Wilkins’ physical talent makes him an elite college prospect but he refines his raw ability with a drive unparalleled on the team. As a 6-foot-3 freshman joining a team that was 24-2 the previous three seasons, he immediately became a leader on the team. Gamere said Wilkins had his growing pains like every freshman, but he worked through them quickly and made an instant impact.

“He’s got everything because he’s a great talent but his work ethic is unbelievable,” Gamere said. “It’s great coaching the kid. He’s got everything you want in terms of a coachable player.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE (Insider only).

Suffield's Wilkins named to ESPN Junior 300

July, 17, 2013
Yesterday, ESPN Recruiting Nation unveiled its first-ever ESPN Junior 300 rankings, ranking the nation's top football prospects from the 2015 class.

Suffield Academy (Conn.) defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was the lone New Englander represented on the list, coming in at 107th overall. He is ranked the No. 15 defensive tackle in the country for the junior class.

A number of high-caliber Division 1 FBS programs have already extended a scholarship offer to the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder, including Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, Stanford, Virginia, Florida State, Iowa, Boston College and UConn.

To see the complete list, CLICK HERE.

BABC, NE Playaz clash in 41st Boston Shootout

June, 3, 2013
BOSTON -- The host Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) and the New England Playaz met in the final of the 41st annual Boston Shootout on Sunday. Through scorching 90 degree conditions at Roxbury's Shelburne Community Center, BABC captured the championship, knocking off the Playaz 60-53 in an overtime thriller.

The two teams went blow-for-blow for nearly the entire first half before BABC’s three-quarter pressure began to help them pull away a bit. Bruce Brown (Vermont Academy '16), who finished with 17 points, knocked down a three-pointer to beat the first half buzzer, giving BABC a 30-23 lead going into the break.

After being down by as much as 13 early in the second half, the Playaz went on a 15-5 run to bring the deficit down to three with still over nine minutes left to play in the game. Crew Ainge (Kimball Union '15) fueled the Playaz comeback, making tough lay-ups around the rim, knocking down a couple of three-pointers, and creating for big men Marcel Pettway (Wilbraham & Monson '15) and Jarred Reuter (Brewster Academy '15) off of the pick-and-roll. Ainge drew rave reviews from Playaz coach Joe Dicruttalo after the game.

"Crew is just a constant energy guy," Dicruttalo said. "He’s always working, he’s always hustling. He’s that guy where you never have to question his effort. It’s good to have a guy like that out on the court. The first time I saw him was last year in Vegas; he’s not the same kid you see right now. It just goes to show how much times he’s put in off the court."

Dicruttalo made the decision at halftime to go to a pressure 1-3-1 zone, forcing BABC away from their precise offensive flow that often results in lay-ups or shots in the paint. By doing so, the Playaz were able to minimize the production of BABC’s super athletic guard Tyree Robinson (Notre Dame Prep ’15) and versatile forward Brendan Hill (Mansfield '15). The lack of space inside, in turn, forced BABC to shoot more outside jumpers via Tommy Mobley (Newton North '15) and Terrance Mann (Tilton '15). Mobley knocked down three treys while Mann had two of his own on his way to 10 points.

Defensive stalemate: Following a hard-fought game with few highlight-reel plays and plenty of scrappy defense, BABC coach Leo Papile praised the quality of the defensive play.

"A lot of people have the perception that AAU basketball is a bunch of guys running up and down dunking, it was far from that today," Papile said. "That was a really hard fought, down and dirty game. It’s smash-mouth basketball on both sides with clean, hard fouls."

Dicruttalo agreed.

"With a team like [BABC], if you’re giving them the passing angles, they’re going to pick you apart," he said. "So our biggest emphasis at halftime was that even though we were in a zone, we still needed to pressure them. Our biggest thing is we wanted more pressure out of the zone. Too many times people think that when you play zone, it’s time to take a break."

In the closing minute of the overtime period, Brown stepped up with the two biggest defensive plays of the game. The first, he stripped his defender on the wing and appeared to have a breakaway dunk until a late touch foul was called on him. After the officials discussed the play, BABC was given possession of the ball -- essentially cancelling out the questionable foul call on Brown.

Ainge, down 58-53 with 30 seconds left and a chance to make one last run, dribbled through BABC’s defense and pulled up for three from the right wing. Brown was there once again, blocking Ainge’s three attempt, retrieving the ball, and knocking down two free throws after being intentionally fouled.

"I call guys NFL bodies, and that’s what Bruce is, he has the body of an NFL cornerback," Papile said. "Those are the type of plays that he’s born genetically to make, with his length and stride."

An eye on the future: Two of the most promising young prospects in the game were BABC’s Terrell Brown (St. Andrew’s '16), a 6-foot-8 center who shows a ton of promise because of his shot-blocking and rebounding, and Playaz guard Tyree Weston, the former New Bedford guard who recently announced he will be heading to Cheshire Academy in the fall and repeating his sophomore year.

“I thought Terrell, for a 14 year-old, gave us some really good minutes in the first half -- especially in terms of his awareness [defensively]," Papile said. "For us, the defensive effort got us home."

Weston was critical in the Playaz' comeback later in the game, scoring eight points and hitting two 3-pointers in the second half. Brown got minutes in the first half, giving Papile an opportunity to rest Hill and Christian Wilkins (Suffield Academy '15). The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Wilkins -- a highly-touted football prospect already seeing a slew of Division 1 FBS interest -- gave Papile great minutes defensively on Pettway and Reuter.

"We’ve got a lot of football guys. I’m a big fan of that as a coach at this age-level," Papile said. "A lot of basketball guys say football ruins you, I love football guys. I love coaching them…the ability to think and the ability to execute -— which in football is a prerequisite. Down the end of the game, there’s no surprise we’ve got Brown, Hill, and Wilkins in the game - they’re all Division 1 football prospects as well. They’ll make plays."

Recruiting Notes: Dexter's Hendren a big commodity

November, 7, 2012
Dexter School junior James Hendren is too big to overlook. Especially if you happen to be a college football coach.

Recruiting NotebookAt 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds, Hendren has what some consider to be ideal size for an offensive tackle at the college level. That explains why so many big-name college programs have Hendren on their radar.

“He's got interest from all over the country –- significant interest,” Dexter School coach Casey Day said. “Virginia, BC, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Stanford, Duke, Vanderbilt, and to a lesser degree, Florida, UCLA and Nebraska.

“He's a solid, dominant run-blocker and an exceptional pass blocker. He's a top kid academically as well. He's in the top two or three in his class.”

Outside of the Ivy League, Hendren has yet to receive a Division 1 offer. He said although academics are his No. 1 priority, he's looking to play college football at a higher level than the Ivy League. Most schools are projecting him as a right tackle.

“The Ivy League is not what I'm hoping for,” Hendren said. “Just like every other [FBS] recruit, I do have a dream of playing in the NFL someday. Not saying it's likely, but it's a goal.”

Hendren, who will also play basketball for Dexter this season, attended camps at Virginia, Penn State and Boston College last summer. He said he plans to attend the Boston College-Notre Dame game on Saturday, and also plans to visit Northwestern later this month.

“I'd be shocked if he didn't have any offers going into next spring,” Day said. “There's gonna big some big-time programs chasing him.”

BC is high on Hendren's list, in part because it's close to home. BC coach Frank Spaziani was the first college coach to notice Hendren, but it wasn't on the football field –- it was on the basketball court.

“In my freshman year he saw me play in an AAU tournament where his son was playing on the court next to me,” Hendren said. “He came over to me and told me to send him my film. I play basketball a little like I play football. I think he liked that.

“BC is close to my heart. I do know that they're not having a great season and they've had a change in administration in the AD position, but I respect all the people there.”

Hendren said he wouldn't cross BC off his list even if the school made a coaching change after this season.

“For most people I think the institution would be enough no matter who is coaching you,” he said. “It would be a great place to be, but I'm not gonna limit myself to that.”

Delayed trip: Everett High School's John Montelus, a four-star offensive lineman, said he will take his official visit to Notre Dame on Nov. 16. Notre Dame is scheduled to play Wake Forest the following day.

Montelus, New England's top prospect from the Class of 2013, committed to Notre Dame in April. He originally planned to take his official visit on Oct 20, but postponed the trip after Everett's game against BC High that weekend was moved from Friday night to Saturday because of heavy rain.

Montelus is the only New England player ranked in the ESPN 300 (No. 292).

Super sophomore: Christian Wilkins, a 6-foot-4, 292-pound tight end/defensive end from Suffield (Conn.) Academy, is a player to keep an eye on from the Class of 2015. One media outlet has Wilkins ranked among the top 100 sophomores in the country.

Suffield is 7-0 entering Saturday's game against Westminster. Wilkins is second on the team in tackles (38), solo tackles (26), sacks (3.5) and first in forced fumbles (three). Offensively, he's second in receptions (11), receiving yardage (167) and touchdown catches (two).

Recruiting information regarding high school or prep school players in New England can be sent to Roger Brown at