Sweet Water’s Kilpatrick commits to UWA

REDZONE-2014-Deshon-KilpatrickThe Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 2A Lineman of the Year has found a home not too far away from home. Sweet Water standout Deshon Kilpatrick verbally committed to sign a national letter of intent with the University of West Alabama.

“The fact that it was close to home and it really felt like home just being over there,” Kilpatrick said of what appealed to him most about the Tiger program under second-year head coach Brett Gilliland.

Kilpatrick was a starter on both sides of the line of scrimmage for the Bulldogs, blocking along an offensive front that led Sweet Water to 3,500 yards rushing on the season. Still, it is defense where Kilpatrick truly made his name, leading the Bulldogs with 87 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and a touchdown despite often drawing double teams from opposing linemen.

“They’re getting an extremely hard worker. He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached, a good kid and a good player. He is one of those kids that wants to get to that football,” Sweet Water coach Pat Thompson said of Kilpatrick. “He has been our best offensive and defensive lineman for the past two years. He is just our best football player.”

Kilpatrick looked upon his time as an offensive lineman as an opportunity to improve his defensive line skills, noting that it provided ample chance to study techniques from opposing defensive players.

(Photo by Johnny Autery) No. 62 Deshon Kilpatrick brings down Rebels TE Travis Tharp, as the Bulldog's  stingy defense allows a first half field on route to a 34-3 victory

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
No. 62 Deshon Kilpatrick brings down Rebels TE Travis Tharp, as the Bulldogs’ stingy defense allows a first half field goal en route to a 34-3 victory

“I feel like that helped me a whole lot. It taught me a lot of different things. It really showed me a lot of things to expect,” he said.

As he readies to suit up for the Red and White, Kilpatrick knows there are improvements he will need to make to his game.

“I’ll be playing defensive end but they told me that I need to get to know every position on the defensive line for them,” the 6-2, 235-pound Kilpatrick said. “I think I need to improve my pass rushing. I’ve never really been a good pass rusher and I’ve always wanted to really work on that.”

Proximity played a key role in Kilpatrick’s commitment as he selected the NCAA Division II Tigers over Tuskegee, Alabama A&M and Jacksonville State University.

“That’s huge,” Kilpatrick said of the fact that his parents will be able to attend his home games. “My family has always been there to support me, so that’s really huge for me. That’s basically what I really wanted.”

With Kilpatrick Livingston bound, Thompson and his staff will now work to find multiple players to fill the void left by the departing senior.

“I don’t know that we can fill that spot,” Thompson said. “We may have some guys grow into it, but it is going to be very tough to replace Deshon Kilpatrick.”