The South Florida player whose tackle of Central Florida’s McKenzie Milton ended the star quarterback’s season said he and his family have faced threats on social media.
Cornerback Mazzi Wilkins told the Tampa Bay Times in an interview published Saturday that he has been the subject of harassment ranging from angry name-calling to death threats, including one tweet that instructed him to “sleep with one eye open.”
Wilkins tackled Milton in a Senior Day matchup between the rivals, won 38-10 by the Knights on Nov. 23. Milton suffered a right knee dislocation and nerve damage and has undergone multiple surgeries since the hit, which was not penalized.
“I made that tackle so many other times, and nothing bad ever has happened,” Wilkins told the Times. “And then just this one time, just a freak accident.”
“You never want to hurt anybody,” Wilkins added. “If you watch the tape, you can tell that I felt sorry once it happened. But I got threats against my parents, against my mom under my Instagram pictures. People going on Facebook, Twitter, everything.”
Wilkins eventually reached the point where he found the vitriol too much to bear.
“It was starting to bother me, so I just blocked every person that sent me things like that. I might have one or two left; I still get one every now and then from somebody,” he said.
Now training for the NFL draft and just one course credit away from a degree in health sciences, Wilkins remains contrite about the play. He hasn’t spoken to Milton, though he did send a tweet after the game offering prayers and best wishes for a speedy recovery.
“I just feel bad that it had to happen like that, and it had to happen to such a great player that he is,” he said. “I don’t wish no injury on anybody.”