Wilkes signs with Faulkner

Published 1:05 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Pike Liberal Arts senior Grant Wilkes signed his National Letter of Intent to attend and play football at Faulkner University on Wednesday morning inside the school library.

Wilkes did it all for the Patriots in his time at the school. In his senior year alone, Wilkes played on the offensive, defensive line and punted. His positional flexibility, talent and smarts all played a role in fulfilling a lifelong dream.

“I finally lived a lifelong dream that I have had since I was younger,” Wilkes said. “I played baseball, playing golf right now and football. This is the best thing that I have ever had.”

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“It’s always good to have one of your players go on and get to go to the next level and continue to do what they love to do,” said Patriot head coach Gene Allen. “Grant is a great kid and he works hard. It didn’t matter if it was offensive line or defensive line, he didn’t complain. He did whatever we needed him to do. His academics are outstanding. It’s always great to see a kid like that get rewarded.”

While he enjoyed playing other sports, the challenges of football have always drawn Wilkes to the sport.

“I was always physical when I was younger,” Wilkes said. “This is physical, challenging and fun.”

Wilkes’ ability to play multiple positions is a big asset to a team. He is willing to help a team in any way that he can.

“It helps play any position in college,” Wilkes said. “I’m a utility player, that is what I have always called myself. I go where I’m needed. Wherever I’m needed, I’m always there.”

“This past year he started at guard and after a couple of games we moved him to center,” Allen said. “He is just really versatile. You know when you move him somewhere, it doesn’t matter where, he is going to give you 100 percent. He is going to give you everything he’s got.”

Wilkes has been told that he will get a look at linebacker, as well as fullback with the Faulkner Eagles.

“Anywhere he needs me, I’ll play,” Wilkes said.

The choice to attend Faulkner was an easy one for Wilkes. The fact that Wilkes knew members of the coaching staff made it that much easier.

“I have always been interested in going to Faulkner either way,” Wilkes said. “I have always known the coach (Tommy Wasden). I even knew the older coach that was there last year. I have always been interested in going to Faulkner, even if not for sports.”
The size of the school as well as its Christian background was also a big sell for the senior Patriot.

“It was mainly the religion base,” Wilkes said. “I have always liked it and It was always small. I have always liked the smaller schools compared to the bigger schools.”

The Patriots coaching staff led by head coach Gene Allen helped Wilkes get to where he needed to be.

“They have always had your best interest at heart,” Wilkes said. “They push you whenever you needed to be pushed. They are always fun when they needed to be and always serious in certain situations.”

Faulkner is about an hour way from Troy and the close proximity will allow family, friends and coaches the opportunity to watch Wilkes compete at the next level.

“I love to see them close,” Allen said. “It makes it easier for us. When it’s an hour away, you can go up there on a Saturday and watch them play and keep in contact with them. You don’t ever want to lose contact with your kids. That’s always an added plus, hopefully he will get up there and do well. I expect him to do really good.”