Defensive tackle Raashaan Wilkins Jr. is a former part-time starter for Vanderbilt University and originally hails from Chicago. He’s a late addition to the 2022 recruiting class and will join the team as a senior transfer with one year of eligibility remaining. Defensive line depth has been a concern this spring and Wilkins will add valuable experience.
Coming in at 6-foot-3 and weighing 310 pounds, Wilkins is most comparable to former defensive tackle Roderick Perry in both size and the ability to push the pocket. It may not be fair to expect the same type of production from Wilkins, but he’ll have every opportunity to contribute.
The addition of Wilkins brings more Power 5 experience to the roster. He’s strong, agile, and runs surprisingly well for a player his size. He’ll immediately provide depth at the nose tackle spot and could be slid out to defensive end on predictable short yardage situations. Wilkins demonstrates solid technique, the ability to leverage his position, and the strength to hold his ground. He’s the type of space eater that defensive line coaches covet in the 3-4 scheme.
Despite not being highly recruited coming out of high school, Wilkins developed enough at lower levels of college football to gain offers to Vanderbilt and Memphis. He played in a total of 21 games at Vanderbilt and collected 21 total tackles, including 2 for a loss and a fumble recovery.
Coach Bielema continues to use the resources available to him to increase depth and raise the competition level throughout the roster. In this instance, a former Illinois native is coming home to fill a need and help push the 2022 team closer towards their goals.