A BIG article, page of the SA Express News sports section, continued inside, with a great picture of this young man. http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/high ... 54814.html
Younger Wilkerson forges his own legacy
By Blake Hurtik - Express-News
Web Posted: 09/30/2010 12:00 CDT
The Winston Eagles won't take the field for another two hours, but LaJordan Wilkerson already is in full pads.
He'll eat his pregame meal with his shoulder pads on, trying not to get mustard on his navy and orange No. 21 jersey.
“I'd just rather wear it before the game to show my school pride,” said Wilkerson, a junior running back for the six-man Eagles. “Just so they can know that I love where I'm at and I'm not ashamed to put on the jersey in front of anyone.”
It's also a reminder of how much he treasures putting on the uniform every week. He knows all too well how quickly one can lose that privilege.
He just looks to his older brother — San Antonio rushing king Jerrell Wilkerson — as an example.
According to Bexar County records, Jerrell now sits in jail as he awaits trial on assault charges. This comes just a few years after rewriting the city career record books at Clark and earning a scholarship to Texas.
LaJordan likes to use a metaphor when describing his brother: Jerrell fumbled the ball at the 5-yard line, and LaJordan recovered it with a chance to reach the end zone, something his brother couldn't do.
“He's made a mistake that cost the team and cost himself — a turnover,” LaJordan said. “I'm going to make a success out of that because he did something that was wrong, and I'm going to do something right, something that helps the team win.
“I will follow his footsteps when it comes to football because I've learned a lot from him. The things that he did off the field I will not follow. I'm just going to be better than him.”
He's on the right path in both respects.
On the field, his stats through five games look like one of Jerrell's best seasons. He has 1,417 rushing yards on 80 carries and 38 touchdowns (28 rushing, six receiving and four returns), numbers that are jaw dropping even for six-man football, where scores average in the 50s.
“I just answered e-mail from MaxPreps.com asking if these numbers are correct,” The Winston coach Mark Hambrick said. “I feel like I have an 11-man running back playing a six-man game.”
Off the field, he's showing the kind of commitment to academics necessary to stay out of trouble.
In either case, his success likely wouldn't be possible in any other situation. The Winston specializes in education for students with learning differences, such as ADHD or dyslexia, giving students a better chance to succeed with an 8-to-1 student-teacher ratio and tailored teaching methods.
It has turned out to be a perfect fit for LaJordan.
“I love it here because they actually sit down and talk to you one-on-one,” he said. “They make sure you understand it.”
While attending Roosevelt and Lee high schools for his freshman and sophomore years, he said he felt “lost in the shuffle” and lost in class.
The same was true on the football field. Though he spent his sophomore season playing for the junior varsity at Lee, he said he never felt comfortable despite being what former Lee coach Jimmy Ramos called “very coachable.”
“It was really easy for him to get lost in the shuffle because he's really unassuming,” said Ramos, who now works at the North East ISD central office. “You could see glimpses. We just didn't think he was ready yet.”
A trip to a strength and conditioning camp put on by Hambrick this summer changed that. LaJordan enjoyed the intensity of the drills and working with Hambrick. He soon enrolled.
Once he suited up for the Eagles, it took all of one practice to prove himself.
“He didn't get tackled for the first three weeks,” Eagles quarterback Eric Romero said.
Every time he touches the ball in practice, he runs all the way to the end zone, no matter the distance.
“I feel like I have the opportunity to show everyone that everything's full-speed,” LaJordan said.
He also has the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing college football. The biggest obstacle to that goal isn't an
opposing defense. It's the stigma that college coaches and recruiters have attached to six-man football.
“They see six-man and don't take it as seriously,” said Hambrick, who has had players go on to play NCAA Division III ball in his six years at the school. “I hope that's not a downfall for him.”
At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds and with a 4.5 40-yard dash, LaJordan has the physical makeup to play at the next level.
He also has the maturity. He proved that when he gave a speech to his teammates about what he learned from his brother.
“I just go out there and do what I have to do and not what I want to do,” LaJordan said, referring to his speech, “because doing what you want to do gets you into the position that he's in now.”
Efforts to reach Jerrell were unsuccessful, and calls to his attorney, Ryan Church, were not returned.
Despite Jerrell's mistakes, LaJordan still wants to make him proud.
“Maybe I need to break some records so one day he can look at me and say, ‘Hey, you did pretty good, man,'” LaJordan said. “‘You did better than me.'”