A converted linebacker, Naples High School running back Wilken Cadet plans to use some of his defensive skills as an offensive player.
“I’m always thinking about hitting them before they hit me,” Cadet said of the defense. “I’m going to go after them.”
With eight returning starters on defense, and three potential defensive starters transferring in from Barron Collier, Naples coach Bill Kramer decided that moving the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Cadet to running back would be best for both the senior and the team.
The Golden Eagles reached the Class 5A state-title game last season, finishing with a 13-2 record. They appear ready to make a run to the state title game again this year.
“He’s big, he’s strong, fast, quick, all of those things,” Kramer said. “He has a linebacker mentality, playing running back.
“Hitting somebody is not an issue for him. He’s our strongest player and one of our quickest players. That’s a great combination for a blocker, or a runner.”
Cadet can run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.
The strongest player on the team during the spring practice sessions, Cadet can bench press 360 pounds, power clean 341 pounds and squat 600 pounds.
In the spring game, Cadet rushed for 84 yards on nine carries as Naples defeated Sarasota 45-8.
“People said I did well,” Cadet said. “But I don’t feel like I did that well. I had high expectations going into that game.
“My main goal is to get a state championship.”
Kramer said Cadet’s powerful running will complement the more-elusive style of senior running back Jamelle Eugene, who just missed the 2,000-yard mark last year.
“Jamelle’s been doing great,” Cadet said. “Jamelle’s more of a shake ‘n’ bake type of guy. I’m going to try to crush a guy before he can tackle me.
“Playing linebacker, I was too short. Moving to running back, I had the size, the strength, the weight.”
Cadet entered the spring as one of Kramer’s secrets on offense. The secret appears to be over.
“Cadet’s not going to surprise people for long,” Kramer said. “You have to see him play or watch him on film one time. You can see he’s really, really powerful.”
News-Press file photo
* Naples’ Joe Cosimano (4), Jonathan May (5) and Cory Hogue (bottom) all return this season for the Golden Eagles. The trio combined for 218 tackles and 10 interceptions in 2003.