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Wilkins commits to Southern Mississippi

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

Union Grove coach Paul Burgdorf has only worked with rising senior Ed Wilkins for a short period of time since taking over as coach of the program.

However, he has seen enough of the talented wide receiver/defensive back to know he has some skills to play at the next level.

The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder committed to play Div. I-A football next season at Southern Mississippi. He has becomes the first player from Union Grove to commit to a college so far.

"This will be an excellent pickup for Southern Miss," said Burgdorf, who took over the Union Grove program in late February when Steven Collins resigned.

Burgdorf said that Wilkins will more than likely play defensive back for the Golden Eagles, but added he has a skill set to play wide receiver also.

"He has some skills to be evaluated as a wide receiver," Burgdorf said. "He will play both sides of the ball for us. He had a solid spring for us at wide receiver and defensive back. We will be counting on him to fell several needs. I was impressed with his overall work ethic."

Last National Signing Day, Union Grove had eight players to sign scholarship offers.

The Golden Eagles football program has always recruited the Georgia area as the team had eight players from the state on last season's roster.

So far, Wilkins becomes the sixth high school player to commit to the Hattiesburg-based school for the 2011 season. He is the only player from Georgia so far to verbally express a desire to sign with the school.

USM finished with a 7-6 record last season including earning a berth to the New Orleans Bowl. The Golden Eagles lost 42-32 to Middle Tennessee State in the bowl game.

USM earned the trip to New Orleans after a 25-20 overtime loss to East Carolina in the Conference USA championship game.