COVINGTON, Ga. — For as long as he can remember, Khalil Wilcox has never had to worry much about choosing between football and baseball — the two sports he loves.
But that changed Friday when the Newton senior, a standout safety for the Rams’ football team and outfielder for the baseball squad, chose Alabama A&M for the furtherance of his baseball career.
I’ve patiently trusted the process but now the day has come. I am extremely proud to announce that i will continue my career at Alabama A&M University. #TheHill #Committed @CoachTGrant42 @MANNY_NOROIDS @AAMU_Baseball @PBRGeorgia @MLBDevelops @MLBPDP pic.twitter.com/aYx5WpVb3z— Khalil Wilcox (@KhalilW_ATH10) October 26, 2018
“Choosing which sport to pursue was not an easy decision at all,” Wilcox said. “Whatever I chose to do, I had to realize that it had to be something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When I step on a baseball field, there is a different smile on my face, and it always has been since the age of five. Will I ever play football again? Only the man above knows that.”
Wilcox added that Alabama A&M baseball coach Manny Lora “sees no problem with me doing both.” But for now, Wilcox said he’s excited about the prospects at his future baseball home.
“The thing that finalized my decision to attend Alabama A&M was the amount of warmth I felt on a visit there,” he said. “The environment made me feel like I would have a home away from home and a second family who will help me prepare for what goals I plan to achieve. Out of all the places I visited, not one spoke to me as much as A&M did, so considering a school wasn’t that hard.”
In Wilcox, the Bulldogs will get a stellar centerfielder who batted .338 as a junior while leading Newton in triples and home runs and placing third on the team in RBIs. Most impressively, he registered a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage as he aided a Rams squad that came within a couple of games of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs.
On the football field, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound safety has registered 15 total tackles, an interception, forced fumble and three pass breakups in six games of action this season.
When Wilcox steps foot on the diamond for his senior year, he’ll be playing for a new coach, as Andre Byrd departed Newton recently to take an administrative position at Creekside High. James Jackson has been pegged as the Rams’ new baseball coach.
That’s a chance Wilcox — Newton baseball’s lone senior — says will do little to nothing to alter the way he’ll approach his last go-round with his baseball teammates.
“Having a new coach doesn’t phase me one bit,” Wicox said. “I’ve met him, and he has come in with the same intentions for this team as I have now. My senior year, I plan on leading this team to new heights. I’m willing to give this team my all, and hopefully they’ll realize the potential that I know they have inside.”
Wilcox carries a 3.3 grade point average and says he wants to major in engineering at A&M. And although he’s still more than half a year away from making that high school-to-college transition, he said he already gets emotional thinking about his last few months wearing the blue and white.
“I love these boys, and it brings me to tears that I’ll be leaving after this season,” Wilcox said. “My time at Newton will truly be a time to remember. I’ll never forget what every single person in that building did for me. I wanna leave this team knowing that I’ve righteously passed the torch to them so that they’ll continue the legacy of being outstanding young men.
“I’ll always be proud that I can call myself a Ram.”