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2024 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Julius Wilkerson, LB, Davenport University

Julius Wilkerson the play making linebacker from Wayne State University (MI) recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Justin Berendzen.
Julius Wilkerson the play making linebacker formerly of Wayne State University transferred to Davenport and recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot.
  • Name: Julius Wilkerson
  • Position: LB
  • College: Davenport University
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 230
  • Twitter: @JuliusWilkerso1
  • Instagram: ju_juwilkerson

What makes you a top prospect at your position in the 2024 NFL Draft

I believe my leadership, intelligence, versatility, and work ethic make me one of the top linebacker prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. My current and former coaches, fellow players, and organizational staff can all attest to my abilities. I understand that being a leader requires you to be personable, relate to others, and unify everyone toward a common goal. Knowing this has helped me command the defense from the middle linebacker position. My intelligence on the field gives me an edge as well because it allows me to capitalize on my God-given ability as an athlete so that I’m in the right place at the right time. I also believe that I offer versatility as I have been and will continue to line up in different positions and take on responsibilities not required of a typical linebacker. My work ethic is what enhances all of these traits as well. I understand that to be a great player I have to continuously develop these qualities; I have to find out how I can improve my leadership, enhance my knowledge of the game, and become a more versatile player on the field. That is why I put in more than what is required of me so I can get to where I need to go.  

At what age were you first interested in the sport of football?

I was first interested in football at around five years old. I remember being in my dad’s office where he had his old football helmet on display. He would share stories of playing football overseas while in the Coast Guard. I distinctly remember the different logo markings and battle scars that were on the helmet and would put it on and pretend to run routes. At the time, it made me feel like a warrior and when I was wearing it I somehow became invincible. Later that year, I had the opportunity to play football and be that warrior and I have never looked back.

What is one thing that NFL teams should know about you?

I would like NFL teams to know that I’m a team player determined to help my team succeed. Not only do I have high expectations for myself, but also hold high expectations for those around me. In my experience, I have found that the more I’ve helped others succeed the better I’ve become whether that be helping teammates learn the defense or staying later to help other guys get some extra reps on concepts we learned during practice. All these experiences have helped me and my teammates grow as players and helped me increase my knowledge of every aspect of the game itself.

If you could donate to one cause in the world, what would it be? 

Though I have been blessed to be able to provide substantial donations to organizations such as F.A.R.M., if I could donate to one cause in the world I would say the Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit, MI. Their organization provides free academic and athletic programs to kids in elementary through high school in the Metro Detroit area and has a 100% high school graduation rate with their students since first starting. I’ve always loved being a mentor to younger students and when I got the opportunity to volunteer while at Wayne State, I got to see firsthand their great work and impact on the community. They truly care about the success of all the children they work with and I plan on helping them to advance their goals in the future. 

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“Concentrate on the solution, not the problem” is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. I have not been able to shake this instruction since I came across it while reading a book in middle school. This advice altered my perspective and encouraged me to keep a positive mindset. I have come to learn if you’re always focusing on what’s wrong or the obstacles in your way, you’ll never be able to see what’s going right or God’s guiding hand helping you navigate your current circumstances. 

Who was your childhood hero? 

My childhood hero was definitely my dad. He would constantly work long hours at his jobs and do whatever it took to provide for my family. Even though he might’ve been tired coming home from work or just beat from the mental toll the world put on him every day he still found the strength to show my siblings and I the love and care we needed. 

Who is the most underrated teammate in your locker room at your school? 

I think the most underrated teammate in my locker room right now is Myren Harris. He truly has the ability to be a game-changer for any offense he’s in. The way that he’s able to dissect a defense and make plays from the running back position is truly spectacular. He’s one of the most versatile players I’ve played with as well and the way that our coaches have already begun to use him in practice will definitely give defenses in the GLIAC a run for their money.

What is your biggest pet peeve? 

Honestly, my biggest pet peeve is when someone wastes my time. I believe time is the most valuable resource we have in our lives; it comes in a finite amount and is something we will never get back. So when people just disregard or waste my time with no remorse, it just really comes off as disrespectful to me. 

Overcoming adversity is what defines character, what was the hardest moment in your life to overcome? 

The hardest moment in my life that I had to overcome is feelings of self-doubt. Self-doubt is a mental battle that I’ve had to confront many times in my football career. There have been a good amount of nights where I sat aimlessly looking over a playbook wondering if I truly had what it took to be a great football player. Thankfully, I am blessed with a great support system around me and the proper mental tools to guide myself out of these feelings of uncertainty. The mental battles we face as players and people are some of the most challenging because there is truly nowhere to go but through it. Every time I catch myself doubting my ability, I pray and tell myself that God has placed me here for a reason and has given me the skills to capitalize upon the opportunities set before me.

Tell me something about your school and why it is so special to you?

Davenport University is a small Division II school out in Caledonia, MI that plays in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. It’s a pretty quiet place honestly, located around 20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. I’d say the thing that makes this university so special are the people, coaches, professors, and support staff that help our school run. The faculty here are kind-hearted and dedicated individuals who strive to help you fulfill your goals. Since transferring here in the spring, everyone has taken me in with open arms and treated me like part of the family. 

What is your favorite snack food? 

I try to be strict with my diet, but my favorite snack is Goldfish. Whenever there are some around, I can’t help but sneak a few. Even as a kid in elementary school, I found them so addictive. You give me any flavor and it’s over with!

What is the best part of football? 

The best part of football is the mental aspect of the game. It’s a challenge to quickly dissect the offense’s play while they’re also doing everything possible to mislead and stop you. I compare it to playing speed chess, but you’re the player and the piece at the same time. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to properly predict what is happening on the field and execute your game plan.

If you could sell yourself in one sentence what would you say? 

I am committed to success and bettering myself and those around me and I have the work ethic and ambition to prove so.

If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be? 

I’d say I modeled my game after Fred Warner. His intelligence, sideline-to-sideline quickness, and high motor are all things I try to mimic. 

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

If I could have dinner with three people dead or alive I would choose Moses, J Cole, and Eric Thomas. I just believe these three men have been/are great leaders in their respective areas. They all have great minds and would definitely be able to teach me more about how to become the best person I can be. 


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