Arkansas Wows Whiteley

Arkansas appears to be in good shape with Arizona Western tight end Blake Whiteley (6-5, 240), a Canadian-born athlete who finished up his official visit with the Razorbacks on Saturday morning and appears close to making a decision.

Earlier this week, Arizona Western tight end Blake Whiteley (6-5, 240) was checking out something written about him on a Texas recruiting site.

The mid-term graduate who was born in Canada – and had 76 catches for 1,228 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior year of high school - shook his head at the assessment.

"I saw that someone wrote that I was just a blocking tight end because Arizona Western didn't throw the ball to the tight ends that much," Whiteley said. "But that couldn't be farther from the truth. I caught 70 passes when I was a senior in high school."

Indeed Whiteley – who finished up his official visit to Arkansas on Saturday and moved on to Texas for his final visit - is a dual threat guy and one the Razorbacks would like to add into the fold in its 2014 class.

Regarded as the nation's best junior college tight end prospect by Scout.com, Whitely was ranked as the number one athlete and skill player in Canada in 2013 by Top Propsects.CA while breaking 10 receiving records nationally.

"I want to play in an offense where I can be used well, catch passes and put my hand down," Whiteley said. "They do a lot of it here."

Indeed Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema – who has put several tight ends into the NFL lately – is fond of throwing to the tight end as is offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.

"Great guy," Whiteley said of Bielema. "Obviously he has a great reputation with tight ends. He told me he has got about six or seven guys in the league right now. Coach Chaney has a good rep as well. I want to be in an offense like that.

"Stadium's great, the facilities are great, it's awesome here," added Whiteley, who is ranked as a four-star prospect in some recruiting services and a 3-star prospect per Scout.com.

In addition to his play-making ability, Whiteley will come in as a sophomore – something combined with being a mid-term guy are reasons he has 15 offers.

"I will have four (years) to play three," said Whiteley, who had 8 catches for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.

He had 4 of those catches for 56 yards in his team's 32-16 season-ending loss to New Mexico Military.

"I can catch the ball and make plays," Whiteley said. "I know I would get utilized here in that way."

Whiteley was a full qualifier out of West Vancouver High School in British Columbia, but didn't like his offers.

"I tried to go to a Division I school out of high school, but I didn't really get the right looks based off film from Canada," Whiteley said. "A lot of coaches just told me that it was too hard to judge the film. So I knew going into a successful program like Arizona Western, who send a lot of guys off to Division I, I knew I would be put on a level playing field and get exposure and I would eliminate the Canadian factor."

Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney, Jr., has been Whiteley's chief recruiter for the past two months.

"We have had a strong relationship through the whole process from when they first started talking to me and came out to Arizona and met me," Whiteley said. "It has been strong the whole time."

He also was excited about the Arkansas fans at the Catfish Hole restaurant when he Arizona Western wide receiver Cody Hollister (6-4, 205), Houston, Texas, Westbury wide receiver Frank Iheanacho (6-7, 220) and Iowa Western offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 315) were all in attendance.

Hollister had 70 catches for nearly 1,000 yards this season and will be finishing up his visit to Arkansas later today.

"It was awesome," Whiteley said. "I didn't really know anything going into it so it was kind of a surprise. It was fun."

Whiteley noted that fans even added a Canadian version of the Hog Call for him.

"They said Woo Pig Sooie, Eh?"

Whiteley has now taken official visits to Arkansas, Purdue and Virginia and is currently on the move for his final visit to Texas.

He disputed a report that surfaced this week that Texas was his favorite.

"I never really said that and I don't know how that came up," Whiteley said. "I have been open about it the whole time."

The Longhorns' coaching uncertainty appears to have been ended Friday night with reports of Alabama head coach Nick Saban agreeing to a contract extension to stay with the Crimson Tide.

It seems Mack Brown now will remain as head coach at Texas although it seemed earlier this week he was being pushed out the door.

"To be honest, I don't really know what to expect," Whiteley said. "Whatever happens, happens. I don't have any control over that."

With the national mid-term signing date opening on Wednesday, Dec. 18 and a dead period opening Sunday, Whitely is likely done with his visits after his trek to Austin.

"Most likely yes," Whiteley said. "I haven't made a deadline yet, but I would like to get it over with quicker than later."





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