With his defending 5A state championship team sputtering to a 2-2 start, three-star wide receiver Rodriguez Wilks decided it was time to take his mind off recruiting and enjoy his senior season. On Wednesday morning at his high school in Smyrna, Tenn., Wilks donned a Tennessee hat and committed to the Volunteers.
"I prayed to God to tell me where to go and he gave me my answer Sunday," Wilks said. "My parents said after the game to pray to God and ask him where to go and I chose Tennessee on Sunday."
Wilks had narrowed his choices down to three SEC schools, with Florida and South Carolina joining Tennessee as his finalists. There was a common theme between the three for Wilks.
"All of them throw the ball, all of them have great coaches and all of them were able to tell me that I'll be able to play football and play as a freshman," he said.
Wilks is a speedy receiver who has sub-4.5 speed and is known for his ability to make plays after the catch. Though he knows that early playing time will be a challenge, he is up for it.
"The opportunity to play as a freshman isn't heard of cause you have to be a great player, an outstanding player to do that and you gotta work hard," he said. "And that's the thing I do. I work hard and everything I want, I go out there and get it, because it's not gonna be handed to you. My dad always said, 'respect is not what's given, it's what you take.' And I'm gonna take it."
In the end, there were several reasons for Wilks committing to the instate program including his belief in Tennessee's youth.
"They're young and right now they're not winning but that's ok," he said. "My brother (Marsalous Johnson) plays for them so it's exciting to reunite with him. You've got David Cutcliffe and Trooper Taylor so there's always great coaches to be out there with."
Wilks and Tennessee will both be trying to bounce back from two early losses on the season but the 6-foot-1 standout hasn't been phased saying, "It really don't mean nothing with losses. You just have to learn from them because all champions take losses. All of them."
Wilks is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 5 player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 56 receiver in the country.