Downers Grove South's Chandler Whitmer quarterbacked an Illinois contingent in a recent Scout/Badger Sport/New Level Athletics 7 on 7 camp in Columbus, Ohio. He enjoyed the opportunity to play with and against some outstanding talent.
"It's great competition. We've got some good kids in Illinois. We've got (Kyle) Prater, (Corey) Cooper, and we came out and represented Illinois well."
Chandler helped encourage some other top Illinois players to join him for the camp, and he got together with Kyle Prater, Corey Cooper and Julius Shelby a couple times to throw the ball around. But there were no formal practices leading up to the competition.
"We threw together a little bit. But our coach was from Florida, and we didn't have time to go over plays or practice together. We just kind of put it together on the spot."
The Illinois group fared well the first day, winning four of their five games. But when the camp became a single elimination tournament on the second day, they lost in the first round to a group from Pennsylvania. It was a 9:00am contest, and several of the 11 players were nursing injuries sustained the previous day.
Chandler and his teammates were all out of sorts that morning, but their talent remained obvious. In particular, Whitmer demonstrated a strong arm and quick release. It was obvious he emphasizes accuracy with his practice work.
"I work on accuracy and footwork. You can throw the ball a mile, but if you can't hit a 10 yard out who cares? You have to work on accuracy, and I like to pride myself on that."
The 6'-1", 190 pounder believes he has another important asset necessary to be a top quarterback.
"My leadership ability. To be able to have the kids gravitate to me. And my will to win, to lead them down the field to a victory."
Whitmer has a clear understanding of the work required to be a winning quarterback.
"Get in the film room and study defenses to know what they're doing. That's what makes a true quarterback. Some kids can throw it, but if you're not in the film room working you can't complete a ball because you don't know who's open."
Chandler has lived in Illinois two years, so he is not an Illinois loyalist as yet.
"The South is my home, but I enjoy football anywhere and Illinois is fine with me. I'm trying to lead my team to the state championship this year. We have a pretty good team coming back."
Whitmer and his parents are traveling all over the country to check out different schools and give college coaches a chance to see what he has to offer. So far, he has three quality scholarship offers with more on the way.
"I have offers from Illinois, Arizona and Stanford. I've got some pretty good options right now. I like Arizona and Stanford a lot. Illinois' got a great program as well. I'm looking at my options."