Hometown: Woodbridge, Va.
Whenever a team changes its defensive scheme from an even-man front to odd, the players who feel it the most are the defensive lineman. Such will be the case for Donte Wilkins in 2016, as he moves from being a 4-3 defensive tackle under Mike London to being a 3-4 (or 3-3-5) nose tackle(ish) for Bronco Mendenhall.
Wilkins's stout frame makes him as close to an ideal nose tackle as can be found among UVA's players with game experience. In a perfect world, an odd-man front features a small planet occupying space in the middle. In lieu of Wilkins tipping the scales at a weight north of 300, however, his athleticism and newly trimmed strength can play a disrupting role on all three downs. If spring ball was any indication, he's ready to roll in 2016.
#UVa defensive lineman Donte Wilkins is drawing rave reviews from coaches this spring. https://t.co/XBP4t0ye4P pic.twitter.com/uYMclAiOhh— Cavalier Insider (@cavalierinsider) April 22, 2016
Wilkins has played in all 24 of UVA's games the past two seasons, with six starts. A three-star recruit coming out of high school, he chose Virginia over offers from Miami, Penn State, and others. Wilkins has been one of the players most prominent in interviews and media coverage of the coaching transition.