Devwah Whaley is a 4-star running back from Texas for the Class of 2016. He’s rated as the No. 4 prospect in the nation at his position. That’s one slot ahead of major UGA target Elijah Holyfield of Woodward Academy.
Whaley told the AJC four important things to consider regarding his recruitment on Sunday:
- He will announce his decision at the Under Armour game on Jan. 2.
- Oklahoma and UGA are the two schools that are now recruiting him the hardest
- The best college visit he ever had was to UGA Dawg Night camp on July 18. That experience was then equaled by a trip to Oklahoma shortly thereafter.
- UGA will definitely get an official visit. He’s looking at the South Carolina game on Sept. 13 at this time. That’s an open weekend for his Texas high school team.
If that’s not enough to get your ears up regarding his recruitment, there’s this little nugget that relates to Holyfield’s impending commitment on Sept. 4. Holyfield has said he’s been told he’s UGA’s No. 1 target at RB.
If Holyfield says yes, does it change the way UGA views Whaley? Or does Holyfield’s decision cause Whaley to hit the brakes with UGA?
According to Whaley, those answers are “No” and No.”
“Coach Brown told me something and I’m not sure if he was talking about Holyfield or not but what I do know is he said that if a back was to commit before me and if I decided I wanted to go to Georgia then he’d still take me,” Whaley said. “So as far as I know, that sounds to me like Georgia will end up taking two (backs) in this class. I was like ‘Oh yeah’ when he said that. That tells me a lot. That tells me UGA is in it with me for the long haul.”
Whaley already placed UGA in his Top 5 this summer along with Arkansas, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. He has yet to set up any of his official visits today.
Oklahoma’s pitch centers on familiarity: The Sooners run the Spread offense. That’s what Whaley is used to running at Beaumont Central High School in Texas. The Sooners just hired a new offensive coordinator in January. Lincoln Riley joined the staff after a successful five-year stint at East Carolina.
“They will run the Spread at Oklahoma,” Whaley said. “They said I am a complete back that’s able to do everything.They said they don’t have a complete all-around back who can play every down and do everything on the team right now.”
UGA’s offensive philosophy differs from that base philosophy. He’d have a fullback and a see a lot more tight-end sets in Athens. He said going from the Spread to the Pro-Style formation at UGA would be a transition, but it wouldn’t be anything he would feel not feel comfortable doing.
Here’s the answer for the question that pops in the mind of everyone reading along right now: UGA is a 12-hour car ride away from Whaley in Texas. How does UGA lasso a Top 5 back of his caliber after all those nearby schools lay it on thick with their pitch? His loved ones can make those trips a lot easier than they could see him at UGA.
“The school itself sells itself,” Whaley said. “That’s the academics part of all of it. But then Georgia really stresses the part about the best fit for me all around. That’s what their coaching staff is telling me. They want me to become both a better football player and a better man in the future by attending their school. Georgia presents one of the very best opportunities in the nation for me to do both of those things.”
The 6-foot, 205-pounder told the AJC that his fastest 40-yard dash time came earlier this year at his high school. He was hand-timed at 4.42 seconds on grass at that distance.He said that UGA’s constant recruiting attention has made an impact.
“They have shown that they really want me and that they are not going to give up on me and recruit me until the end whether I commit and say I am going to go to their school or not. If I don’t hear from Coach (Thomas) Brown every day, then it is every other day.”
Whaley also knows the depth chart at UGA.
“Keith Marshall is still there due to his injury or I think he would have been another 4-star and big-time back like Todd Gurley who has gone off to the NFL after his junior year as well,” he said. “Nick Chubb and Sony Michel I think that both of those guys will be gone after their junior year. That’s one more season for those two guys.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.