One on One: Shawn Wilkins ‘13 WR - Blackstone Valley (MA) Football
Blackstone Valley Tech (MA) wide receiver Shawn Wilkins '12 has emerged as one of the top offensive skill players in New England in the Class of 2013
The 6-foot-3 captain elect has worked hard to improve each season and possesses game breaking abilities on the outside.
Despite coming from a small school in Central Massachusetts Wilkins has college coaches taking notice as he prepares to lead the Beavers in 2012.
We caught up with the Central Massachusetts wideout as he prepares for his final season at Blackstone Valley Tech.
Talk a little bit about what you have been up to this summer in terms of football related activity?
SW: For clinics I began in June at Lauren’s First and Goal down in Pennsylvania. 256 College coaches were in attendance and instructed players in positional drills, and skills. It is such a worthy cause and gives players a chance to meet recruiters and talk to coaches. I then completed clinic work at various Colleges and Universities that have shown recruiting interest. I had to limit those choices, however, so as not to get burned out.
Talk a little about you and your teammate’s preparation for your senior season and what are your team goals for the 2012 campaign?
SW: I have been preparing for the season ever since last season ended. I worked out at Athletic Evolution in Woburn, MA during the winter with trainer Steve Sheppard. I then competed for our track team in order to work on my straight line speed. My teammates have also been attending clinics and camps in order to prepare for this year. Our team goals are to be competitive and to make post season play.
Your team record has improved in each of the last three seasons, culminating in a 9-3 record in 2011. Can you talk a little bit about your team’s progression in your three years at Blackstone Valley?
SW: I would credit the coaching staff for our improved record. They have been together year after year. We did have a change this past season with our head coach. Coach Glenn Arnold became an assistant at WPI and Coach James Archibald moved up to the head coach position.
The philosophy remained the same, so there was not much of a change, and the staff remained committed to the program. As far as the team, we had a strong core and good leadership that had been used to making it to the post season. We just wanted to win.
Coming from Central Massachusetts and a smaller program like Blackstone Valley can you talk about some of the obstacles you have had to face when it comes to college recruiting?
SW: I have been told by college coaches that Massachusetts isn’t exactly a hot bed for football. With that in mind, I wanted to see what it would be like to compete against southern talent, and the Mid-Atlantic States. I traveled to South Carolina and Pennsylvania where I attended clinics and realized that the play is definitely much more intense and faster paced. They treat it as a year round sport and I know a few were surprised I was from Massachusetts.
I feel strongly that we are overlooked because some feel football is just a fall sport.
Talk a little bit about the recruiting process and some of the schools that you have been in the most contact with.
SW: I started the recruiting process when I was a freshman. I learned quickly that your junior year is not your “break out year” as it seems to be believed up here in Massachusetts. I received over 45 letters from Division 1 and 1AA, Ivy, D 2, and D3 schools starting September 1, 2011. I responded to every coach who sent me a letter and left nothing to chance. \
That paid off and I have been talking to around (8) schools now, schools such as the University at Albany, URI, Marist, Holy Cross, Assumption, and Wesleyan just to name a few.
What piece of advice could you give to another small school football player who is trying to get noticed by schools?
SW: The first thing I would tell any underclassman is not to wait. I am thankful that I had a lot of help from many different people. I was not afraid to ask for help and every coach I met was more than willing to give me tips on how to get noticed.
Go to their camps as well. They are inexpensive and will give you the opportunity to work with the staff of the college or university that you may want to attend. They will get to know you personally and you will get to know them.
How would you describe your game as a Wide Receiver? What is your strongest skill and something that you need to continue to improve on?
I have had some great feedback. It has not always been positive and I have used it to make some beneficial changes. I have been called a “home run threat” and I have worked continued to work hard on my speed and transition and still continue to work on improving my routes.
What do you like to do when you are not playing football?
I like computers. I hope to major in computers in college and honestly I am a gamer. And……. I love to play football.
Tell us something unique about you or something that not many people know about you.
I think I am quiet unassuming. I am no better than anyone else and I have been made humble by this process. I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way and football has allowed me to go to places I never dreamed of going.
I ate dinner in the Hall of History at Harvard during junior day. Who can say that?
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