Joel Wilkinson

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Joel Wilkinson
38 Joel Wilkinson 4.png
Wilkinson (front) in May 2012
Personal information
Original team(s) Broadbeach (QAFL)
Draft Zone Selection, Gold Coast
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 90 kg (198 lb)
Position(s) Defender
Playing career
Years Club Games (Goals)
2011–2013 Gold Coast 26 (1)
Sources: AFL Tables,

Joel Wilkinson (born 29 November 1991) is an Australian American football cornerback who is currently a free agent. Wilkinson formerly played as a defender for the Gold Coast Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL), where he was one of the club's underage recruits, and played in Gold Coast's first season in 2011. Known as one of the best pound for pound athletes[citation needed], he holds numerous records at the AFL combine, including the 20 meter sprint and repeat 30 meters sprint test. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals NFL team in February 2016 as a Cornerback.

Early life[edit]

Born in Sydney, Wilkinson is one of three children. He is of Nigerian descent.[1] At the age of four his family settled on the Gold Coast, Queensland and instantly began pursuing an interest in Athletics.[2] Although excelling in athletics, Wilkinson also represented the Gold Coast in cricket, soccer and tennis. In 2008, he grew tired of the sports he had already tried and began playing Australian rules football for his school Palm Beach Currumbin High School, for the first time at 16 years of age. Although Palm Beach Currumbin High School was predominantly known for its rugby league program, Wilkinson elected to play Australian rules football. He studied Biomedical Science at Griffith University.

Junior football[edit]

Wilkinson signed up to play for the Broadbeach Australian Football Club's under 18 team in 2009 and was chosen to represent the Gold Coast Stingrays in state competition later that year. He began playing senior football for Broadbeach in 2010 and in just his fourth game earned a nomination for the AFLQ Rising Star Award.[3] He was also named state captain of the under 18 Queensland Scorpions squad that competed in the 2010 AFL Under 18 National Championships.[4] At the conclusion of the 2010 season, Wilkinson was drafted as a Queensland zone selection by his hometown Gold Coast Suns who were entering the professional Australian Football League in 2011.

AFL career[edit]

Wilkinson made his professional debut for the Gold Coast Suns in round 14 of the 2011 AFL season, against the Western Bulldogs. In his second game in the AFL he kicked his first goal while playing against Fremantle at Subiaco Oval. During his debut in 2011, Wilkinson was racially abused by Western Bulldogs player Justin Sherman.[5] While competing against the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG in 2012, Wilkinson was racially vilified by a Collingwood member in the stands.[6] Wilkinson set many fitness records while at the Gold Coast Suns. Despite only being 186 cm, 86 kg and 21-years-old at the time, he set a bench press record of 160 kg (352 lbs) for three repetitions in 2013.[7] He also set the 2 km time trial running record in 2013.

During Wilkinson's AFL career he traveled to Arizona on three separate occasions from 2011-13 for off-season training and was a standout in the high altitude drills.[8] He was delisted by the Gold Coast Suns at the conclusion of the 2013 AFL season and was signed by the semi-professional Northern Blues for the 2014 VFL season in an attempt to be redrafted into the AFL.[9]

NFL career[edit]

Joel Wilkinson
Free agent
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Born: (1991-11-29) 29 November 1991 (age 26)
Sydney, Australia
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 201 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school: Gold Coast (Qld) Palm Beach
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Arizona Cardinals[edit]

Wilkinson abruptly announced his retirement from Australian rules football in July 2015, stating his intentions to pursue a career in American football.[10] Following his announcement, in August 2015, Wilkinson moved to Phoenix, Arizona in an attempt to secure a tryout with an NFL team. The Cardinals allowed Wilkinson to tryout twice for the position of cornerback in early 2016.[11]

Wilkinson signed an official contract with the Cardinals on 16 February 2016.[12] Wilkinson stating after his signing that the cornerback position was very similar to what he played in the AFL.[13]

New York Giants[edit]

In May 2017 Joel attended the New York Giants Mini Camp as a DB, defensive back.[14]


  1. ^ "Joel Wilkinson still making his stand against racism -". Retrieved 2018-06-04. 
  2. ^ Smart, Nick (24 June 2011). "Wilkinson makes AFL debut with Suns". Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Round 6: Joel Wilkinson". 
  4. ^ Smart, Nick (2 October 2010). "Shining young Cat attracts Suns eye". 
  5. ^ Suns rookie Joel Wilkinson shaken by Western Bulldog Justin Shermans racial slur – Published 28 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  6. ^ Suns rookie Racist comments cost Pie fan his membership – Published 5 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Hulking Joel Wilkinson set to lift Suns from the AFL shadows". 
  8. ^ "Arizona 2012: Day 2 - Run. Recover. Run..." 
  9. ^ "Northern Blues pair Joel Wilkinson and Jack Anthony keen for another crack in the AFL after solid years in the VFL". 
  10. ^ Michell, Tim. "Northern Blues defender Joel Wilkinson calls time on his football career to pursue gridiron". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  11. ^ "Cardinals Sign Aussie Rules Player Joel Wilkinson". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "Arizona Cardinals sign former Australian Rules player Joel Wilkinson". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  13. ^ "Cardinals Sign Aussie Rules Player Joel Wilkinson". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  14. ^ "May 12, 2017 New York Giants Rookie Mini-Camp Report". Big Blue Interactive. 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2018-06-04. 

External links[edit]