Devwah Whaley, UGA’s newest commit, has bigger-than-big goals.
“To be the best to ever come through Georgia,” Whaley said. “Hopefully win the Heisman (Trophy) and a national championship and make it to the next level. I also want to break a few records if I can and get a degree and graduate college.”
The nation’s No. 4 running back told DawgNation he was ready to make his decision public on “Monday or Tuesday” of this week. The 4-star told UGA running backs coach Thomas Brown about his plans on Wednesday.
Stephen and Mary Haynes, his stepfather and mother, thought he would let the world know on Friday, but Whaley adjusted that with family and friends around.
“I just wanted to do it on Thanksgiving because I thought it would be unexpected and it was,” Whaley said.
The 6-foot, 209-pounder initially wanted to commit on National Signing Day at the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 2, but said the stress and pressures of the process were getting to be overwhelming.
The status of UGA coach Mark Richt is constantly in the news cycle. Would a coaching change affect his commitment?
“I’m not too sure on it but if something was to happen there’s a possibility I could flip but either way I am not sure,” Whaley said. “I hear people saying (Richt) is going to stay, though.”
Another media outlet reported he had been silently committed to UGA since his official visit for the South Carolina game in September. But he also told DawgNation earlier this month he had not yet made a silent commitment to any school.
So did he silently commit after his official visit?
“You could kind of say something like that,” Whaley said. “I wouldn’t for sure, for sure say that, but kind of.”
Whaley did not dispute he basically told Brown after that official visit he planned on coming to UGA, but he would not let it out publicly.
The senior from Beaumont Central High School in Texas was offered by UGA at the end of his junior season. He said he didn’t have UGA as his top school until after his official visit.
“We’ve been having heart-to-hearts since this whole recruiting process has been taking place,” his stepfather Steven Haynes said. “About once a week we’d get together and see where his heart is and who he was feeling. Georgia has always ultimately been where he wanted to go. We told him not to move fast. He didn’t want to make a decision on emotion, we wanted him to be thorough and research and pray about it.”
Whaley shared a few more tidbits with DawgNation:
- His parents feel he is “done” with recruiting. They didn’t think he would take his remaining official visit to Texas, which is scheduled for Dec. 11. Whaley was not sure. It sounded like he was still considering that.
- He could not name his No. 2 school between Arkansas and Texas.
- Whaley has a few jersey numbers in mind at UGA: He mentioned No. 12. That was his number in high school along the last three years. His other choices would be 2, 3, 4 or 5. It looks like a couple of those would be available.
- He doesn’t have any UGA gear. Yet. Those sound like good Christmas gifts.
“Maybe some gloves that I can wear in the All-American game,” Whaley said.
Why did he choose UGA? There were several factors:
- He said it was hard to explain, but he just felt the best “vibe” and “feeling” at UGA.
- He said UGA freshman basketball player E’Torrion Wilridge is like a “big brother” to him. Wilridge is also from Beaumont. While he didn’t call it a major factor, he said it was helpful to hear how much he loved going to UGA.
- He likes the dual role UGA employs for its backs. See Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. See Gurley and Nick Chubb. See Nick Chubb and Sony Michel this year. That will be the plan with Chubb, Michel, Whaley plus Elijah Holyfield, another 4-star freshman, in 2016. “That is basically what is all about,” he said. “Saving your body for the NFL because running backs can only take so many poundings.”
- Whaley and his family said the prospects UGA has recruited at offensive line were a factor, along with 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason. “I hear that guy has a chance to come in and play right away,” he said.
— Jeff Sentell (@JeffSentell_) November 27, 2015
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.