In 11 games, Wilkie completed 174 of 301 passing attempts for 2,309 yards and 23 touchdowns, while throwing just eight interceptions. He led the Grizzlies to an 8-3 finish, as they were eliminated by East Paulding in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs by a 34-33 score.
Now a junior, even bigger things are being expected of Wilkie.
“The challenge for Kyle is he had a good sophomore year, and for him not to come into this season thinking that he is going to have an automatically good junior season,” Creekview coach Terry Crowder said. “I have to push him, and he has to work harder than he has to. If those two things happen, then he is going to have a stellar junior year.”
Many players that had the kind of sophomore season that Wilkie did would begin receiving visits from college recruiters, but that hasn’t been the case for the Grizzlies’ signal-caller, a member of the 2014 Cherokee Tribune Super Six.
The reason for that is pretty simple. Wilkie was a standout baseball player before he became the quarterback for Creekview.
The catcher on the varsity team as a freshman, he plays baseball from early spring until football starts up in August. While other quarterbacks were honing their skills at 7-on-7 tournaments, Wilkie was playing travel ball with the hope of raising his baseball stock.
Crowder said he doesn’t see Wilkie as strictly a baseball player or a football player. Rather, he feels the junior is a balance of both.
“I think he is a unique kid,” Crowder said. “He is, obviously, a great baseball player and going to have a chance to play college baseball. He is coming into his own and could be a college quarterback. I think, after two years, he is going to garner some offers and some looks, and then he will have to decide what he wants to do.”
Many athletes just have to choose what college to play for. Wilkie may have to choose what sport to play.
Wilkie’s stellar sophomore year could be seen as a product of two things. First, few could know what to expect of Creekview in its first season under Crowder. Second, few could have expected Wilkie to be the starter, as he only took on the role during the summer after Hunter Wingfield suffered a torn ACL.
Now, teams know what to expect from the Grizzlies and from Wilkie.
“A lot of teams had played against me when I coached at Chattahoochee, and they knew what I liked to do offensively, but I think that Kyle caught them off-guard in how quietly he adapted and how well he picked up on what we do,” Crowder said.
Crowder said he has tried to be hard on Wilkie leading up to the season opener, and the player responded to the challenge each time.
“I’ve realized that I’ve got to push him,” Crowder said. “I’ve got to stay on him and push him to make him better. He is a great kid and a great quarterback for what we do.”
Creekview opted to play two scrimmages this season and forego spring practice. The Grizzlies faced Lambert a week ago, and Wilkie rose to the challenge in leading then team to a 19-14 victory in the final seconds. He was 18-for-39 passing for 237 yards and three touchdowns.
If Wilkie feels pressure to perform, he certainly doesn’t show it.
“I don’t think he even looks at it as pressure,” Crowder said. “I don’t think he cares if he throws for 400 yards a game, or 100 yards, as long as we win. That’s, probably, what I like about him best.”