Playing for Trotwood-Madison (Ohio) means three-star defensive end Verondtae Wilkinson knows former Rams who are at colleges across the country, but the ties he has with Kentucky may run deepest.
Two adults in Wilkinson's life have strong connections to the University of Kentucky. His head coach, Maurice Douglass, was a safety for the Wildcats who would go on to play eleven season in the NFL. There is also a connection with his mother and the University.
"My mom's down there right now and I'm trying to get down there with her and see the campus," Wilkinson said. "She lives in Kentucky, I believe in Lexington or she is close to it."
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Kentucky's early dominance in recruiting Wilkinson's home state - five of their current seven commits are from Ohio - has created other ties to the program.
"I've talked to a few of [Kentucky's commits] and played with a few of them," Wilkinson said. "Dorian [Hendrix] I've known since the eighth grade. We have that natural rivalry."
Despite all those ties, though, Kentucky has not yet ascended to the top of Wilkinson's interest list.
"My first one will always be Ohio State, but [Kentucky] is in my mind," Wilkinson said.
Ohio State is recruiting the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Wilkinson, but has not yet offered a scholarship.
"They want me up there on the ninth," Wilkinson said. "I took a [visit] not too long ago, and was up there to tour the campus. They took me around the Woody Hayes Center, but I have to get around more of the school."
Besides the Ohio State camp, Wilkinson plans to camp with other colleges this summer. He has not yet pulled that list together, but expects to make stops at Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.