Next up in our player preview series is tight end Brent Wilkerson. Big things were expected from him last season after an impressive spring and performance in the Blue-white Game. Unfortunately, an offseason injury prevented him from seeing any action during the 2013 season. This season, Wilkerson enters as the fourth tight end on the depth chart and will have to fight for more playing time.
Coming out of high school in Maryland, Wilkerson was listed by some recruiting services as a 4-star defensive lineman and by others as a 3-star tight end. Before committing to the Nittany Lions, he considered offers from South Carolina, Maryland, Nebraska and Michigan State.
Wilkerson has plenty of ability and has really impressed the coaches when he’s been on the practice field. However, missing time last year opened the door for true freshman Adam Breneman, who formed a great relationship with quarterback Christian Hackenberg and ended the year with touchdowns in the final three games. Wilkerson will find himself behind Breneman, Kyle Carter and Jesse James heading into the 2014 season.
Under former head coach Bill O’Brien, the tight end position was used as an important weapon in the passing game. Wilkerson is a big-bodied tight end with a great mix of speed and skill who would have fit perfectly into O’Brien’s scheme. It’s yet to be seen exactly how James Franklin will use the tight end, but with the talent he has at the position, it can be assumed that the tight ends, including Wilkerson, will be utilized in the passing attack.
Though there are several talented players in front of him, Wilkerson will surely see some opportunities, most likely in the red zone. I’m expecting around 150 yards receiving and at two touchdowns this season.