Former Trojan Jalen Wilkerson, a 6’5”, 283-pound redshirt sophomore defensive end for the Florida State Seminoles, has signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans following the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft.
In January, Wilkerson announced on his Facebook page that he was declaring for the NFL Draft. "Some people will never know why you have to make the decisions you make, but I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to play for nole nation," Wilkerson wrote on social media. "You guys are amazing and God bless." Wilkerson went to FSU as a tight end but converted to defensive end. He played in all 13 games as a back-up and ended up with 19 tackles. Tallahassee.com stated that those stats included six tackles for a loss and half of a sack.
No team selected Wilkerson in this weekend’s draft. However, he was one of eight players the Texans signed as free agents after the draft. One of those players was Georgia linebacker David Bellamy.
Wilkerson was still developing as a starter within the FSU system when he announced his intentions to enter the draft. Tallahassee.com added that Wilkerson’s prospects in the draft didn’t look good: “He was not expected to declare for the draft, and will likely go undrafted, but he could find his way onto a practice squad as he continues to learn the position.” It appears as though that is exactly what happened.
Wilkerson was an All-State and All-Region tight end at Coffee High School. He also played defensive end for the Trojans. Rivals.com and ESPN rated him as a four-star recruit out of high school while Scout.com and 247Scout had him as a three-star recruit. He and fellow Trojan Cole Minshew, an offensive lineman, both headed to FSU after graduating from Coffee High.