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Why Tra Wilkins Picked UK over Family and Home State Ties at Georgia



Tra Wilkins could have been a Georgia Bulldawg.  The linebacker from Stone Mountain could have been a hometown hero.  He could have played alongside his cousin, Mecole Hardman, the wide receiver who scored two touchdowns in the National Championship Game.  Instead of following in his family’s footsteps, Wilkins will create his own legacy at Kentucky.

Last night the three-star prospect announced on Twitter a commitment to the University of Kentucky, a decision that incited plenty of push-back from friends and family.

“I’m not going to lie, it was tough,” Wilkins said in a conversation with KSR.  Even though Hardman and others wanted him in Athens, Wilkins did not want to play in the shadow of his cousin.  “I want to start my own legacy.  I want to start my own path.  I think Kentucky would be the best place to do that at.”

Wilkins made his decision last week during an official visit to Kentucky.  After committing to UK’s coaches, he followed through with a scheduled unofficial visit to Georgia, but could not be budged.  Kentucky’s pitch was too appealing to turn away.

Recruited by wide receivers coach Michael Smith, the chance for early playing time enticed the inside linebacker.  Jordan Jones enters his final season this fall and Kash Daniel only has two more years of eligibility remaining.

“We’ve been talking for a while.  I got a chance to come up there and they treated me nice.  There’s good people up there.  I liked it and I don’t have any regrets doing what I did.”

During his visit, Wilkins was paired with another inside linebacker from Georgia, Jamin Davis.  What put UK over the top was the camaraderie around the football facility.

“The people. Every school has academics. It was really about the people there.  Plus, they want to see me succeed.  I just like it up there.  It’s a good place to be at.  Coach Stoops is cool too.”  Wilkins added that playing for a defensive-minded head coach was a must.  “That’s why I didn’t think twice about Louisville.”

It takes quite a bit of cojones to spurn the family business and leave the in-state football powerhouse to play for an SEC East foe.  Finding some swagger is not a problem for Tra Wilkins.

A self-described jack-of-all trades that can “handle any type of defense,” he called his shot and said his Stephenson Jaguars would finish the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as State Champions.  When asked what Kentucky fans can expect to see him bring to the Big Blue Nation, without pausing he responded, “a Butkus Award.”

Wilkins will be pressured to flip his commitment.  He even has a trip with his high school teammates to Auburn planned for this weekend.  While some fans will worry, Wilkins plans on graduating in December and enrolling at Kentucky in January.

Wilkins’ family wanted him to go to Georgia, but now it’s “time to turn it up a level with my Wildcat family.”


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

14 Comments for Why Tra Wilkins Picked UK over Family and Home State Ties at Georgia

  1. Jiminy Crickets
    4:04 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    A defensive minded coach. Does he know that 5 times in last 70 YEARS of Kentucky football, a UK defense allowed opposing QBs to AVERAGE 64% or better completion on passes?? 2 of those 5 years… has occurred under stoops. Think about how bad uks defense has been in last 70 years, and stoops owns 2 of the top 5 worst against the pass.

    • ClutchCargo
      4:13 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

      So, do you want him to go somewhere else, or are you just venting? Either way, not helpful.

    • Soylentbeans
      5:25 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

      Doesn’t Change the fact that he’s a defensive minded coach. You could be the worst defensive team in the ncaa and still be a defensive minded coach.

    • shelby
      6:31 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

      Do u realize that 60 of the last 70 years we’ve had less talent than nearly every other team in the SEC? We still do despite the fact that stoops has brought in the best talent we’ve ever had. He’s climbing a mountain; we’re 30 years behind the big boys of this league my friend.

  2. ClutchCargo
    4:11 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    This kid seems to have a pretty good head on his shoulders, and exactly the type of attitude that I want to see more of at UK.

    • Luether
      4:51 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

      Plus this kid has a FAR better chance at playing time at KY than at GA…

  3. Wade
    4:18 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    He also inherited bums and you want him to work miracles in 5 yrs in the sec well shit here it is be happy punk!

  4. Wade
    4:26 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    IS this the beat your family down when there up hour. Stoops is defensive minded… yes…didn’t say he was the best. We have to build a d suitable for sec quarterbacks with big arms and legs. this guy has big offers to play with family in Georgia who is a way better football school and said no and came here. this is what you write and they allow you to post this bs. Go cats… some of the silliest people are on here why don’t you just tell the kid not to come here snake in the grass fan.

    • cats646
      4:50 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

      Preach Wade!!!!! Good get, Go Cats!!!!!!!

  5. Memphis UK Cat
    5:08 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink


  6. My Dixie Wrecked
    6:21 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    Georgia vs UK. CFP vs Music City Bowl. SEC contender vs SEC participant. Sometimes players aren’t ready for success on a national stage.

  7. shelby
    6:28 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    Getting a kid to commit appears to be much easier than keeping him committed.

  8. turdyshmurda
    6:29 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

    He chose UK because he wouldn’t have had a committable offer at UGA. Would have been a walk on.

    • My Dixie Wrecked
      8:47 pm June 19, 2018 Permalink

      So UK is happy with players that aren’t good enough to play for other SEC schools? Stoops will win the SEC for sure, with that strategy.