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Chuck Landon: Wilkins says little, proves a lot

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

Craig Wilkins is a notorious non-talker.

Even his Marshall teammates joke about how quiet the junior wide receiver is in the locker room.
It’s as though Wilkins pressed the mute button on his mouth and rarely chooses to turn it back on.

“It’s true,” admitted the 6-foot, 175-pound native of Hialeah, Fla. “I really don’t like talking. I let my actions speak for everything. I just like to go on my deeds and try to get better as a person.”

Sort of a “talk softly and carry a big resume” school of thought.

There’s something rather admirable about that philosophy. Particularly compared to the boorish antics of such big mouths as Johnny Manziel.

But it’s an odd quality to find in a wide receiver — of all positions. For whatever reason, wideouts seem to be some of the most loquacious players in football. On a national level, for example, there were Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.

At Marshall?

There’s always affable Tommy Shuler.

“We are different people,” explained Wilkins. “He likes to talk. That’s his game. My game is to do what I’ve got to do on the field and show my assets instead of words.”

That’s why Wilkins has been extra quiet lately. After missing most of preseason camp with a hamstring injury, the talented outside receiver reinjured it late in the second quarter of the Ohio game.

It appeared to happen when Wilkins really extended himself to make a spectacular 32-yard catch down Ohio’s sideline.

“It did,” confirmed Wilkins. “That was the play.”

Wilkins followed that catch with a 10-yard grab on the next play, but the damage was done. He missed the second half against Ohio and was sidelined for Marshall’s 29-21 triple overtime loss to Virginia Tech.

That means Wilkins has missed most of August and September with the hamstring injury. The problem is

it’s not a typical pulled hamstring. Instead of the strain happening toward the middle of the thick muscle, it’s down low located just above the back of his knee.

“It’s the tendon,” explained Wilkins in his usual quiet fashion.

That makes it more difficult to rehabilitate. But, again, Wilkins’ actions speak louder than his sparse words.

“I feel whatever it takes to get better — whether it’s on or off the field or getting mental reps — I’ll do it,” he said. “If I take a step back, I’ll turn around and try to improve.”

That’s precisely what Wilkins has done during the last two weeks. He was so dedicated to rehabbing the injury, Wilkins is expected to return to practice this week.

“I’ll be out there,” he said.

That’s good news because the Herd will need Wilkins when it hosts UT-San Antonio at 2 p.m., Saturday, in

Edwards Stadium. Marshall has been struggling with its outside receiver positions, so Wilkins’ return is perfectly timed.

Right, Craig?

He just smiled and didn’t say a word.

Enough said.

n POTENTIAL REDSHIRTS: Has anybody noticed offensive lineman Cam Dees and cornerback Keith

Baxter haven’t played this season? That’s because it appears Marshall is trying to redshirt them.
It’s a smart move.

Dees, who played last year as a true freshman, could become MU’s starting right guard next season. As for Baxter, since Monterius Lovett and Derrick Thomas are seniors, MU will need Baxter to pair with Darryl Roberts at the corners next season.

These are wise personnel decisions.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at  clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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