In the past few years Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando Florida has produced a number of great athletes, and being from the area, I have followed some of them closely. I distinctly remember being impressed by Johnny Damon long before he became the darling of the Boston Red Sox, Johnny was a great hitter who ran like the wind when he played here. This year the school has yet another talented athlete to keep an eye on, his name is Chris Wilkes.
For those of you not familiar with this kid yet, think of the next JaMarcus Russell. Like JaMarcus, the 6 foot 4 inch Wilkes has a world-class throwing arm easily throwing the football 70-80 yards. Right now, even before the start of his senior year, Chris has the kind of arm strength that’s needed to complete all the required throws that a quarterback is asked to make. In fact, so good is Wilkes’ arm that he can also throw a baseball up over the 90 mph mark for the school’s baseball team. This year Chris helped his baseball team capture their second consecutive district championship.
Like JaMarcus Russell, Chris is also capable of running a 4.8 40. Though not the kind of speed someone like Michael Vick possess, he is still fast enough to get himself out of trouble in the pocket. That’s not to say that Wilkes is shy about standing tall in the pocket and taking a hit when he needs to deliver the ball. This kid is durable enough to be an effective pocket passer, and he prides himself on his Daunte Culpepper like ability to throw while taking a hit.
Aside from his athletic abilities, Chris Wilkes also has some of the intangibles that all great quarterbacks have, one of which is keeping cool under pressure. During last year’s championship game in his district, Chris led his team on a last minute drive from inside his own 10 yard line. The result was a last minute score that clinched the game for Dr. Phillips. While some might point to his overall passing statistics as not being particularly impressive, one has to remember that Dr. Phillips was far from a passing team last year . The school had two elite runners, and chose to have a balanced offense attack that did not favor gaudy passing numbers. Still, Chris threw for 18 touchdowns.
Heavily recruited even before he begins his senior year, it’s said that Wilkes wants to stay within the SEC and that he will end committing to play for the Rebels of Ole Miss upon graduation. Though he might go under the radar while completing his senior season as Dr. Phillips, rest assure that Chris Wilkes will have a bright future in the NCAA.