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Wilkerson impresses new mates

New York Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha, left,

New York Jets defensive tackle Sione Pouha, left, first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson, center, and defensive end Jamaal Westerman stand together. (June 2, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- He hasn't even gone through his first official practice and Muhammad Wilkerson is already turning a few heads.

On his own team. 

“I tell you what,” Mike DeVito said, “he’s a natural athlete, man. Just from the little bit that we did today, you can tell that he’s going to be really good. You can tell by today that he’s got it. So, that’s a great sign. I’m excited to work with him. I’m excited he’s on our team.”

"He’s a good guy," Jamaal Westerman said. "He looks good out there, man. A big guy, he looks very fluid and athletic out here on this grass. But nah, it’s good that he came out. A young guy really trying to be around guys that you will be with throughout the season, and all the way to the Super Bowl. So it’s good to get out here."

Ripota Pitoitua said: "He's ready."

Weirdly enough, because of the NFL's ongoing lockout, Wilkerson has been in limbo. Selected by the Jets with the 30th pick in April's draft, he hasn't spoken to any of his new teammates much and today was the first time he actually met the quartet he worked out with.

Typically, he'd be carrying a veteran's equipment back to the locker room after practice or doing other, um, tasks bestowed upon him. But as of now, that rookie hazing will have to wait. 

"You usually meet him, tease him a little bit in the hallway," Pouha said. "But you know circumstances are not too much for jokes now. But we are trying to have as much fun as we can with him. First time meeting him, he’s a great guy and I’m excited to play with him."

Wilkerson has spent most of his time since getting drafted hitting the weights, among other things, at his old digs here in The Garden State -- Linden High School. So you can only imagine the level of excitement flowing through his 21-year-old body.

"I was looking forward to this because before this, I was just working out on my own," Wilkerson said. "It was good meeting up with them."

"It was helpful because the coaches aren't here," he added, "but I also got a playbook and I'll bring that tomorrow and the guys will help me out with that, too. I'm just looking forward to what we started today.

"It was fun. It was a nice little workout and I'm looking forward to us doing this again."

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