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March 21, 2011

DeMatha's deadly defensive-end duo breaks it down

HYATTSVILLE -- The defensive-end tandems at Good Counsel and McDonogh can bring it, but there might not be a better duo in Maryland than the one in Hyattsville. DeMatha's Michael Moore and Brent Wilkerson form a one-two punch that's practically death to quarterbacks.

Moore, the son of former Denver Bronco Shawn Moore, is a bullish rusher with the strength and frame of a lumberjack. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound junior started as an underclassman in 2010 (it doesn't happen often at DeMatha) and ranked among the team leaders in sacks and pressures. Not to mention he showed off his hands and footwork at the tight end position. He's currently a Rivals 250 candidate and claims over 20 Division-I scholarship offers, including those from the country's elite programs.

Whereas Moore uses his brute strength to overpower left tackles, Wilkerson relies on speed, footwork and quickness to win his battles. With a long, lean basketball player's frame, the 6-4, 245-pound Wilkerson fires off the line and can usually beat his man to the outside. Wilkerson, like Moore, also plays a little tight end and has shown the ability to stretch the field. He's nearing the 20-offer mark and is being recruited by numerous major powers.

MdHigh publisher Dave Lomonico recently visited DeMatha for a sit-down interview with the two Stags studs. They discussed everything from their careers to wrecking havoc in the backfield to recruiting to DeMatha's recent defensive struggles to the Stags' quest to take back a title.


Let's talk about you careers a little bit first. So tell me about how you got into football, when you first started and eventually how you got to DeMatha. . .

Wilkerson: Well, I got into football really late -- like the eighth grade. I mainly played basketball and baseball as a kid. . . .

My first real, official experience with football was when I was playing baseball during the spring of my eighth grade year. Coach [Herman] Briscoe from DeMatha started coming out and asking me about football. He'd come out to like every game. Actually, a lot of schools started coming out to see me, but I chose DeMatha because it just felt right. . . .

Then when I got to DeMatha I started on the freshman team on the line and at tight end.. I did OK, so sophomore year I moved up to jayvee. I dressed for varsity and practiced with the team, but I played the games on jayvee. Then this year I got my first chance to start on varsity.

Moore: I started playing football in seventh grade. Like Brent, I always used to play basketball as a kid; that was my sport. I was with an AAU team and I was always traveling around with them for my entire childhood. It didn't leave much time for anything else. . . .

But then I moved over to the Eastern Shore around the seventh grade. [AAU ball] kind of came to a halt. So my mom said, 'You got to get out of the house and do something in the summer and the fall.' Well, I was a big kid, so football it was . . .

The problem was on the Eastern Shore in Centreville they didn't have an unlimited [weight] team; they only had 135 [pounds] and down. Well, I was a pretty big dude, so I had to travel over to Kent Island just to play. That was a 30-minute drive every day for two years. . . .

After eighth grade I figured I'd be playing for Kent Island or Queen Anne's. But then all these private high schools started looking at me. So that changed everything. . . .

Like Brent, I started on the freshman team my first year. But then I moved up to varsity my sophomore year and actually had a chance to play a little. Then last year was my first year starting.


Why did you choose DeMatha?

Wilkerson: I wanted to play for Coach McGregor; I liked what he was telling me. He told me about how DeMatha was a brotherhood and how he could help me develop as a player and a person. I felt like I'd have a real shot at playing at the next level here.

Moore: When schools started looking at me in eight grade I took some visits and went around to see a few places. But when I went to DeMatha I just loved it -- the people, the coaches, the opportunity they gave me. It just felt like the right place.

You two were both basketball players at first. What convinced you to turn over to football?

Moore: Well, I always wanted to play football when I was little. But I had always been big, and there were rules about playing with kids your age and how much you could weigh. Like I said before, there were no unlimited weight teams in Centreville. But once they started making unlimited football in some parts [of Maryland], I could finally play with people my age and my grade. So that's when I finally started playing [football].

Wilkerson: I was kind of the opposite. I was always a basketball guy, even after Coach Briscoe started looking at me for football. When I came to DeMatha, I planned to drop football altogether because I just didn't want to play anymore. But then I had a little success on the field and I started to get more in-tune with the game. Now, it's my main sport and I actually just dropped basketball so I could concentrate on football fulltime.


So you guys were both late coming into the game of football. That's interesting, because for a lot of top prospects you hear how they started at six years old and developed throughout middle school. So did you guys really expect to develop this quickly and get this much recruiting attention since you started so late?

Wilkerson: Yeah, I definitely wasn't expecting all of this. I was just expecting to come over, get a good education at DeMatha, play football and have some fun. I didn't really think about scholarships or anything like that.. . .

Actually, I didn't even know about all the recruiting stuff until late in ninth grade and into my tenth grade year. I mean, Coach McGregor and all of them told me about the DeMatha tradition and going to college, but I'll admit I wasn't really paying too much attention (laughs). I just liked the school.

Moore: I always knew I'd go to college somehow, but I never knew I'd have so many options and it would be on a football scholarship. I mean, when I got to DeMatha Coach McGregor told me I'd have the chance to go to any school I wanted to, but I didn't completely buy in at the time. But I guess he was right. I never thought I'd be at this point right now. I'm very blessed.


I know a lot of DeMatha players aren't from Hyattsville. Where did you guys grow up? Also, talk about your families.

Wilkerson: Yeah, like no one is actually from Hyattsville here (laughs). I grew up in Clinton, Maryland, which is like a half-hour away from school. I live with my mother and father and have a younger sister, Lexus, who is 10 [years old]. My mother and father went to Norfolk State, and my dad played basketball there. He played football in high school, but he stopped because of coaches and whatnot. Basketball was his game. But he didn't really influence me or push me to play basketball. He just gives me advice on what I could be doing better on the field.

Moore: I was born in Colorado when my dad, Shawn, was playing for the Denver Broncos. But then I moved when my mom and dad separated when I was very young. For some reason my mom wanted to come over here [to Maryland]. I never knew why and I never really asked. She just wanted to be in the East I guess. . . .
Anyway, we moved to Laurel, Maryland, and that's where I started playing basketball. But then my mom wanted to get out of the city, so we moved to Centreville across the [Chesapeake Bay] Bridge. But I guess it's kind of funny because after a couple of years I'm right back in the city at DeMatha. . . .

My mom still lives in Centreville and I live with her there. But I see my dad when I go down to Virginia every couple of weeks. He played for [the Cavaliers] in college and now he's a coach there. So I get to see him then. . . .

You'd think that my parents separating would be tough on me, but it really wasn't because I don't even remember them together. But they have a good relationship now, and I do get to see my dad often enough. It's good to have him around because he's been through the recruiting process and can really help me when I'm picking through schools.


OK, let's change gears to football. Last year was your guys' first year starting on varsity. Do you know what kind of numbers you put up?

Wilkerson: (laughs) They keep that stuff from us. We don't have any stats.

Moore: Yeah, it was kind of hard to keep track of what you did. But it didn't really matter. We just went out and played. They really stress playing "for the name on the front of your jersey" here.

I guess you guys were just glad to see the field after waiting two full years to start. Was that sort of frustrating having to wait so long when you probably would have started as freshman at pretty much any public school out there?

Wilkerson: Not for me. I knew I wasn't ready to jump in. I practiced against [DeMatha offensive linemen] Arie and Cyrus [Kouandjio] and they pretty much dominated me. So I knew I needed to stay down [on jayvee]. I'm glad I played freshman ball and jayvee just to get better physically and mentally.

Moore: It was tough for me. Freshman year was OK. But sophomore year, even though I was on varsity, I only got in on pass plays. My main job was just to get the quarterback. I didn't have a chance to show all I could do. But last year I finally got to show I could stop the run and also rush the passer.


Now, one thing I want to talk about is how you two help each other as defensive ends. You always hear about Dwight Freeney benefitting from Robert Mathis and vice versa. . . .

Wilkerson: Yeah, we see that somewhat out there. I think [the success] all comes from being competitive. We both want that sack and we both want to get there before the other one does. But at the same time, if I have to take on two people and it opens it up for Mike, then more power to him. If the offense wants to take that chance [on double-teaming], then they'll pay for it. And that's what matters.

Moore: Yeah, me and Brent always like to compete. If I see him doing something well, I know I have to step up my game and vice versa. So it's not so much taking on double teams that makes us successful, in my opinion. It's more like we help each other because we press each other to get better.


What do you guys think your major strengths are as defensive ends?

Moore: I'd say I'm the stronger of the two ends. Brent is probably a little quicker off the ball, but I'm bigger. Mainly I'm going in with a full head of steam and just bull-rushing the guy. I still try to use a little speed, just to show that I can do it. But I'm mainly a bull-rusher.

Wilkerson: Like Mike said, I'm a little faster and I'm always trying to be quick off the line. I'm trying to do a little shake-and-bake and use my speed to get around a guy. Once in awhile, if I get a guy off-balance, I'll try to bull-rush him. But mostly it's speed and footwork.


What do you have to do to improve and take your games up another notch?

Wilkerson: Probably staying low and using my hands more to attack my man. I can't always rely on my speed so much, especially at the next level. I have to get more technically sound.

Moore: People are always telling me I have to stay lower. So that's what I really have to work on. Also, I want to pick up my speed so I'm multidimensional.


What do you guys think you can accomplish as tandem defensive ends now that you've been on varsity for a year?

Wilkerson: I really think we can accomplish a lot. We're used to varsity now and we're both getting bigger, stronger and faster. There will be a lot more attention on us, for sure, but I think our experience will help us really break down [offensive lines]. . . .

Moore: People are saying me and Brent have to go out there and be leaders. We're the veterans and sort of the face of the team. There are lot of young guys at DeMatha this year who are looking up to us. But I think we're ready, and I think we can really do some damage as a defense. . . .


Where do you two think you rank among defensive-end duos in the state?

Wilkerson: In the state, I think we're probably the best. I don't know too many other pairs of defensive ends that can stand with us.

Moore: Yeah, I really hope we're the best. We have to live up to all the [offers and attention]. The only others I really know are guys like [Ryan]Watson and the other dude [Roderick Chungong] over at Good Counsel. But I think we're right up at the top.


Yeah, how is it going up against the Good Counsel offensive linemen like Watson and [Ryan]Madaras? That's got to be quite a battle. . .

Moore: I mean, I love going against those guys. When you go against them it's like preparing you for college.

Wilkerson: It really helps you out with your game. Going against some schools like O'Connell and Paul VI -- no offense to them, but it's not the same talent and competition like the Good Counsel guys. So to go against Madaras and Watson, it really ratchets up the competition. And that can only help you.


Give me a play or a sequence that was your breakout moment. When did you know you could be something special at DeMatha?

Wilkerson: My first game on varsity against Loyola last year. I had three sacks and a couple of tackles. . . .

In the first series of the second half I had a big sack that really helped us. The quarterback was rolling out and the tackle tried to reach me. I used my feet and got around him. Then the running back tried to chip me, but I ran through him and got to the quarterback. That's when I realized I could play on this level.

Moore: The game I realized I could be a big recruit was the first Good Counsel game, when we beat them. It wasn't anything in particular I did, but I saw how the offense started to run away from my side. For a team like Good Counsel to show me that kind of respect, it said a lot. . . .

But I was also getting to the quarterback a lot in that game, too. I did pretty well against Watson and Madaras, so I think that was my breakout game.

How did going against those great DeMatha linemen like Cyrus and Arie in practice help you guys?

Wilkerson: I went up against Arie and Cyrus a lot my sophomore year when I was on the scout team defense. I didn't really go up against them my junior year. . . .

But they helped a lot. They're the best around and they really prepared me in terms of footwork, getting off the line and trying to use my speed to get around them. They made me realize how much more I had to work in the weight room and on my technique to be successful.

Moore: Well, I never really got to go against those guys because I was on varsity my sophomore year and wasn't part of the scout-team defense. But I saw them play and I learned from them. . . .

On defense, Darian [Cooper] really helped me a lot. I always noticed how he shed blocks, stayed low and came off the ball hard. He dominated in the trenches with his hands and his footwork. He was a real technician, and I learned a lot.


What's it like down in the trenches? Is there a lot of talking down there?

Wilkerson: Well, last year was my first year, so I just did my thing and didn't really say much. This year I'll probably talk a little more though (laughs). . . .

As far as what it's like down there, well, it can get a little testy. I don't really get into anything serious, but I'm usually the guy who's throwing the punches (laughs).

Moore: I'm a quieter guy -- I'm not like Coop [Darian Cooper] who like to talk a lot of trash down there (laughs). But in the first Good Counsel game last year it was pretty heated. I'd start jawing with [Ryan] Watson and [Mike] Madaras, telling them 'Yeah, you just keep on holding me every play -- that's the only way you can stop me.' . . .

Then during the Gonzaga game it got so physical my helmet came off during a play. I knew it had happened, but I wasn't going to stop. I actually went out and made the tackle with my helmet off.


What's the best play you guys made?

Wilkerson: I had a big sack in the St. John's game where I beat the dude pretty good. It was in the playoffs and it was the second quarter. The tackle guessed that I was going outside, which was probably a good assumption. Our defensive end coach tells us not to go inside and get tangled up. But this time I had to go inside because [the lineman] was so far outside. I took the lane and I just smashed the quarterback. It was probably my biggest play.

Moore: My biggest play was the first Good Counsel game where I got a big sack. It was right before halftime and I just beat my man and knocked Zach [Dancel] down. The Good Counsel fans started booing me, and that felt real good. Nothing better than getting a rise out of the opposing fans.


I know you guys both play tight end, too. Which do you like better -- defensive end or tight end?

Wilkerson: I'm 50-50 on that. I like both and could play either one in college. I like catching and I like getting sacks. The one thing I don't like is blocking, but I'll accept it (laughs).

Moore: I'm a defensive-end guy. I mean, I'll play tight end if someone really wants me to play there. But, ultimately, I want to chase down a quarterback. That's just a great feeling.


Is there anything you regret about your careers so far?

Wilkerson: For me, it was that I kept playing basketball so long. That held me back a lot. I played full-bore my freshman and sophomore years and that really stunted me as a football player.

Moore: Same deal as Brent. Instead of being in the weight room more we were on the court playing basketball. I mean, basketball keeps you in shape, but it's hard coming from a basketball workout and then going over to football. You work different muscles and all that.


One thing I've noticed is that linemen and non-skill players are a lot more humble and subdued then some of the touted skill players. You guys aren't the flashy ones out there, and thus you don't get as much attention. Do you notice that?

Wilkerson: We probably don't get as much fan attention because we're not catching touchdowns and doing dances in the end zone. I guess 10-yard catches as tight ends or a simple sack as defensive ends aren't as eye-catching as some of the stuff receivers do. . . .

But I think we do get the attention where it counts -- from football people. Coaches realize we're just as important as quarterbacks and all the skill guys. And it hasn't kept college coaches from Facebooking us and asking us to call them. As long as we get the offers, we're good.

Moore: Yeah, I have to agree. The coaches realize it all starts with us -- games are won and lost in the trenches. So as long as they know that, that's fine.


Let's get into recruiting. What's the strangest or weirdest thing you've been told by a college recruiter?

Moore: Nothing too strange. But probably the most shocking thing was when some of the coaches started telling me they wanted me to play tight end. I mean, I play some tight end here at DeMatha, but I never thought I'd play there in college. And I'm not just talking about them wanting me as a blocking tight end either. They want me as an actual, pass-catching tight end. . . .

Then there were one or two places that told me I could play both tight end and defensive end. I was like, 'Whoa, playing two ways in college? Wow.'

Wilkerson: For me, it was when coaches started telling me I could play outside linebacker. I know it makes sense when you think about it - a defensive end standing up in a 3-4 scheme - but to me it was a shock. I'd always played with my hand in the dirt. But beyond that, nothing too weird or strange.


What's the coolest thing you've been told? Something that you have to tell someone immediately about?

Moore: For me, it was getting offers from the Florida schools like Florida, Miami and Florida State. I mean, I thought I'd get offers from local schools like Maryland and Virginia, but to have Miami and Florida? Man, that's real big right there. I had to tell people about that.

Wilkerson: For me, it was talking to Michigan and getting that offer. They're a great academic school and they have a tremendous football tradition. I talked to the defensive line coach and the defensive coordinator, who coached with the Ravens. That was pretty awesome to talk to those guys.


What's the best and worst part of the recruiting process?

Wilkerson: You can't really say there's a 'worst part' because we are so blessed to have all this attention. There are so many people who would love to be in our positions. But if I had to pick something, I'd say all the reporters calling me. I mean, it's cool when guys I know call me, but then people I never talked to start hitting me up. I'm like, 'Man, how'd you get my number?' . . .

At the same time, getting all those random calls is the best part of recruiting. I enjoy the attention. I'm taking it all in and having fun with it.

Moore: The worst part is seeing my friends not get offers and the chances I'm given. I mean, I can go anywhere I want to college and some of my friends have nothing. So that's hard. . . .

The best part is all the attention from the recruiters. I like the feeling of being wanted real bad.


I know those recruiters are probably making all kinds of promises to you. Can you see through all the false stuff they're trying to sell sometimes?

Moore: It helps that my dad is around. He's like my recruiting coach. I'll tell him, 'Hey Dad, this [recruiter] is telling me this and that and how I'll play here and there at their school.' Then my Dad will say, 'Well, some of that may be true, but remember a lot of it probably isn't totally honest. But keep talking to him and keep asking questions and finding out more.'

Wilkerson: Right now, I'll admit, I can't tell what to believe. I'm sure when I start really getting into it and taking official visits I'll be able to pick up more. But right now I'm just taking them at their word.


When you guys actually do start looking closely at schools, what will you be looking for?

Wilkerson: Education, tradition, the campus and the coaches. The coaches are probably the least important because they come and go. The campus is more important then you'd think because I have to be in a place where I want to live the next four years. And, of course, education is why you're there in the first place, so I value that highly.

Moore: One of the biggest things I look at is tradition and what kind of players they've produced in the past. Beyond that, I want a place where I can live the next four years and fit into the environment.


Now, do you guys want to go to the same school? Or is that not important?

Wilkerson: If it happens, it happens. But we're not going to force it.

Moore: Yeah, it's not something we're stressing necessarily. It would be cool, but what's good for Brent might not be best for me.


What about the NFL? Is that a goal of yours?

Moore: I most definitely want to go pro one day, but I also understand it may not happen. So that's why I have a backup plan of going to school for four years and getting my degree. But going to the NFL is my No. 1 goal.

Wilkerson: I do have dreams of playing in the NFL. It is one of my goals, but that isn't my only goal in life. That's why I want to go to a school with great academics just in case I don't make to the NFL. I have always wanted to have my degree and eventually get my master's degree, too.


Alright, let's go back to actual gridiron talk. How do you guys prepare for a game?

Wilkerson: Well, [DeMatha has] a dinner on Friday night before every game. We pray before we eat and come together as a team. Then we eat a lot of pasta, bread and PowerAde -- energy stuff. . . .

Then on Saturday morning -- gameday -- I have a big breakfast at a place like IHOP. I usually get a couple harvest grain pancakes, a slice of bacon and some eggs. Then I listen to music - Lil' Wayne usually - and find somewhere quiet to sit and think. . . .

When it's time to go, I get my father to stretch me out. I have to do that. That's really important to me.

Moore: Well, we eat and pray at the team dinner, but after that I don't eat a thing. I mean nothing. On Saturday I won't touch a morsel of food. I don't know if it's nerves or what, but I just don't feel like eating. Even at halftime when they give us oranges, I don't eat them. . . .

Before a game, I just put on my headphones, listen to my music and just get my mind ready. I'm a very calm, private person.


What are your guys workout routines like during the week? Are you guys benching and squatting a lot?

Wilkerson: Coach Brooks sets it all up for us. We have a great strength program here at DeMatha. We'll do upper body one day, lower body the next and then we'll run. We like to mix it up, and it's pretty effective. I think the strength program really separates DeMatha.

Moore: What's different this year is we're all working out as a team. We used to do our own individual things, but now it's all together. I guess that makes us more unified and it gets us all on the same page.


Now, your guys' routines are different then a lot of other teams because almost all your games are on Saturday afternoons and not Friday nights. Does that bother you at all -- not having those lights?

Wilkerson: Yeah, that kind of does bother me. I'd love to have the lights. I wish every game was on Friday night where everyone comes and it's the only thing going on. There's no college games or anything -- you're the only focus. But I guess you get used to it.

Moore: On Friday nights, everyone in the community comes and rallies around you. It's just a different feeling then Saturday. Plus, when you play on Fridays, you get the weekend off. When you play on Saturday you have to have a curfew on Friday night and you can't go out at night. Basically, your whole weekend is shot when you play on Saturday.


OK, well let's talk about what you would do on a Friday night if you could go out. Do you guys hang out together? What do you do for fun?

Wilkerson: We do hang out sometimes in school and occasionally outside of school. But Mike lives so far away, in Centreville, it's kind of tough. . . .

But if I'm not hanging out with Mike or friends, I'm usually playing basketball, video games or hanging out with my family. I'm a pretty straight-shooting guy (laughs). I'm not getting in too much trouble.

Moore: Yeah, sometimes I get a few opportunities to go over Brent's house and hang out because my ride is so far from DeMatha. So that's been cool. . . .

But, basically, if you don't see me working out or with my friends, I'm at the mall. Even when I don't have any money I'm just walking around the mall and checking things out.


You guys go out to movies at all? Seen any good ones lately?

Wilkerson: Yeah, I'll go see a movie once in awhile. I guess the last good one I saw was Big Momma's House 2.

Moore: Wait a second -- he said good movie.

Wilkerson: That was good!

Everyone: (Laughs)

Moore: The last good movie I saw was The Mechanic. That was really good.

Wilkerson: What? I never even heard of that. That's a little weird Mike.


I asked you two before about what you think you can accomplish as a defensive-end tandem. But what about as a team?

Wilkerson: Well, we're underdogs [to Good Counsel] now. I understand where Good Counsel is coming from when they say they can beat us again. I mean, they put up 42 points on us last year. So a lot of people are having their doubts about our team now. But I'm looking forward to proving people wrong this year. . . .

More than anything, we want to win a title. My 10th grade year we lost [the WCAC championship] and last year we got beat pretty bad. So bringing back that championship that would mean a lot. We want to be known as the class that brought back the trophy to Hyattsville.

Moore: I agree. The individual stuff doesn't matter. I just want to go out and win a championship. . . .

Everyone has been saying we're going downhill. I want to get back to being the powerhouse in Maryland. That's where DeMatha belongs.


That's not going to be easy. On paper, it does look like Good Counsel is the favorite this year. So are you guys sort of embracing that underdog mentality?

Wilkerson: I know I am. I read what Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown said [in an earlier MdHigh interview]. I saw where they said they thought they were the best and couldn't be stopped. Don't think we don't see that stuff -- we do (laughs). . . .

I just have this to say: There are lot of people here no one knows about yet. We're going to have people step up and be a big part of our success.

Moore: I just think it's funny. People were saying Good Counsel would never beat DeMatha about two years ago. But now that they've done it, they're starting to say we won't be beating Good Counsel anytime soon. . . .

But if you really look at it, it's an even match and it could go either way. Last year we beat them during the regular season and they won in the WCAC championship game. You really never know what's going to happen. So to guarantee a victory is ludicrous in my mind.


But after two straight championship losses, losing a few key transfers like EJ Levenberry and Josh McPhearson, and Good Counsel having a couple five-star guys . . . has DeMatha lost some luster?

Wilkerson: I don't think so. Like I said before, I think there are people here no one knows about yet who are ready to step up and replace the guys who left. . . .

And as far as the championship losses, well, we did get to the championship game, and there's something to be said for that. I'll admit, we might be going through a bit of a tough time, but we're not losing it.

Moore: I don't think we're losing it. I just think the expectations are so high here that when we lose people start to get the idea we're going down. I'm not going to lie -- the expectations are that high for a reason, and it is hard to live up to them sometimes. But in the long run that just makes you better and pushes you harder. I wouldn't have it any other way.


That championship game last year against Good Counsel when you lost 42-3 … was that the most frustrating moment you guys have had as football players?

Wilkerson: Yeah, sitting on the sideline during the championship game and seeing us lose 42-3 to our rivals -- that's about as low as you get. I didn't play too much because the coaches stuck the seniors out there. Kendall [Patterson] was at tackle and Cooper was at defensive end and Sam Collura was out there, too. I mean, I was OK with it because it was their last game and I wanted to see them get the win. But to see us lose like that and not being able to do anything about it, it was frustrating.

Moore: Watching your team get beat like that is hard to take. You want to help the team as much as you can, but to sit on the sideline where you can't do anything? There's nothing worse.


That might have been the low point, but that wasn't some anomaly. That wasn't the first time your defense struggled last year. The secondary was torn apart . . . Was that your guys' fault for not getting to the QB?

Wilkerson: Well, if the quarterback is on a three-step drop, we can't do much about it. All we can do is get out hands up. If it's a five-step drop, though, it probably is our fault. . . .

I'll say this, as defensive linemen we don't even want to give our secondary a chance to make a play. We want to be in the quarterback's face as much as possible. And it didn't happen as much as we'd like last year.

Moore: We did struggle some last year, but we're not pointing fingers. It was everybody's fault. Everybody played a part in our downfall last year.


DeMatha has a proud defensive tradition. Can it be restored to greatness in one year?

Wilkerson: I'll say it again: There are players here who are very hungry and want to earn a spot. They are going to be going all out to prove last year was [a farce]. I realize we had a lot of good players last year, but this year we're going to be playing with a purpose.

Moore: There are players whose pride was hurt last year. They don't want what happened in 2010 to happen ever again. I think our defense will be fine next year.


Anything else you guys want to say?

Wilkerson: Yeah, tell Good Counsel and Stefon Diggs to keep talking.

Moore: Yes, tell all the doubters out there to watch out. And tell Good Counsel we're coming. Oh yes, tell them we're still here.


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