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Wilcox Football Star Justin Hylkema: Lions, Tigers & Bears? Oh My! 

The Wilcox Chargers football team currently sits at 2-1 through the first three weeks of the high school football season. As per usual, the Chargers’ success has been driven by a ridiculously awesome rushing attack. And as per the norm in the sport of football, an overlooked aspect to the team’s strong running game has been the play of the offensive line. In particular, the Chargers feature a senior left tackle who is leading the way. His name is Justin Hylkema.

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Hylkema towers over everyone else on the field. Weighing in at 315 pounds, Hylkema has been trucking over defenders, pushing defensive linemen off the ball to allow Chargers’ ball carriers room to scamper downfield.

Wilcox is averaging 261 yards rushing per game, over 100 yards more than the national average. The team’s 7.6 yards per carry mark soars above the national average of 5.8. The former Santa Clara Lions product at left tackle is a big reason why the Chargers have sustained success on the field over the past three seasons.

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“He can move people, he can really take people off the ball, and he enjoys it. He enjoys being a physical football player. And he has great technique,” praised Chargers Offensive Line Coach Mike LaFleur. “His technique is some of the best I have ever seen.”

Hylkema has parlayed that physical play and elite technique into a full-ride scholarship to play at the University of Arizona. The future Wildcat had 10 different scholarship offers from DI programs but chose Arizona based on his connection with the university’s Offensive Coordinator Brennan Carroll.

“In April I met Brennan Carroll of U of A. And the connection we had was something different compared to the other coaches,” noted Hylkema. “Communication went both ways, he’d check in on me, I’d check in on him, and building that relationship between athlete and coach was stronger than with other coaches. That and then my first official visit really just sold me on U of A”

Growing up a huge San Francisco 49ers fan, Hylkema mentions 49er offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Williams when asked which professional lineman he likes to watch. With Hylkema previously being a Lion, soon to be a Wildcat (not quite a Tiger), could he end up a professional himself? Perhaps on the Chicago Bears? Oh my!

“We won’t know that ’til next year,” responded LaFleur when asked if Hylkema’s ceiling is to be drafted into the NFL. “He’s not there yet as far as being as strong as the other young men that will be in that college room, but his target, his ceiling, is as high as he wants it to be if he continues to work hard, which I think he will.”

Hylkema’s dream would be to eventually play for his childhood team in the aforementioned 49ers. Only time will tell, but one day soon there could be a Santa Clara native playing professional football at Levi’s Stadium.

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