It is officially camp season.
While we wait for the Jets to get started at SUNY Cortland in two weeks, kids all over the country have flocked to football camps. Recently Green & White DE Muhammad Wilkerson served as a mentor at a Sports International Football Campat William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.
"Everything about here is just working hard," Wilkerson told JetsTV producer Alex Darcey. "Just focus on the little things that the coaches give them and just keep working at it every day when they leave this camp. When they go home or they're taking a bike ride to the park, just keep working on and thinking about their game."
Wilkerson, a Linden, NJ native who has become a stellar performer for the Green & White after being selected in the first round (No. 30 overall) out of Temple in 2011, worked with both sides of the ball last week.
"I did play offensive line a little bit in high school and I was basically telling the offensive linemen you have to use your hands," said Wilkerson. "Make sure their elbows are tight, their thumbs are up and they're driving their feet."
But Wilkerson makes his money attacking offensive linemen on the professional level. Jets DL coach Karl Dunbar teaches Big Mo and the rest of the Jets front to shed those hands and then get after the quarterback.
"For the defensive line, you want to get the offensive guy's hands off of you and work on half the man. That's what I'm taught by my defensive line coach is work half the man, rush the passer and try to be productive at the end of the day," he said.
From his rookie season to his sophomore campaign, Wilkerson got immeasurably better across the board in everything statistically including sacks (3 to 5), tackles (53 to 90) and even PD (2 to 6). His attack plan is simple.
"Just get up the field and wreak havoc," he said.
The 23-year-old Wilkerson has some sound advice for youngsters participating in camps — in any sport — this summer.
"If they learn the small things at a young age, it's already a habit for them when they get older," he said. "Once they get to the next level, its techniques and fundamentals that don't have to be taught. They just have to polish it."
Hill to Climb
With "Jets Talk LIVE "on hiatus for a couple of weeks, NYJets.com is re-airing a few of the interviews we had this offseason. Stephen Hill, a second-year wideout from Georgia Tech, will have the spotlight on him in camp and he is confident heading into his sophomore campaign.
"I'm definitely going to look a whole lot better from last year," he told me this spring.
The Jets need him to be (especially considering the unknown regarding Santonio Holmes) and I think this candid interview is worth a watch…