High ceiling for Suffield's Christian Wilkins

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.”

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