Sam Webb: Let’s start with him as a tight end, how have you seen him improve as a tight end?
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “His route running, understanding leverage, understanding zone reads. I think that is the biggest improvement where he has blossomed, where last year he was just running to run. He was running routes. He didn’t understand coverage and how to set a route up, when the defense is in a zone or set man coverage up. Now there are certain routes that he likes and is he starting to (make more plays). He knows he is going to be doubled team or however they are going to play him. He sees that right off the bat. He understands the leverage and how to get open in those situations.”
Sam Webb: Where are you looking for him to improve?
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “The funny thing is that you talk about a guy his size and you really don’t think about it, but yards after the catch. It is one of those deals where he catches the ball and he’ll run and all of a sudden people start closing in, he doesn’t know what to do. You’re a big fellow, just run. I would like to see him progress with his yards after the catch.”
Sam Webb: What about as a blocker? That’s a big part of the game and clearly he is a big and strong kid, how is he as a blocker?
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “That’s really hard to judge because he is larger and bigger than most of the opponents he plays. I told him when he gets to the next level, you’re going to see guys bigger and the same size. Right now he is muscling guys, he is able to put weight on people. I would like to see him use his hands more.”
Sam Webb: How big is TJ right now?
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “He is 6’6”, 255.”
Sam Webb: So he is not the 270 that they are saying he is.
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “He was up there. We had to get it off of him.”
Sam Webb: Let’s talk about as a defensive end. Watching him in the game, he seemed like a pure edge rusher as opposed to a guy at the line of scrimmage beating guys up. It looks like he is trying to get after the quarterback.
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “That’s one of those things that we talked about in terms of understanding the scheme and what your coaches want. Also understanding *** offense and that’s putting pressure on the quarterback. It is one of those deals conceptually, the coaches say, hey I want you to hit this guy down the middle or coaches say, I want you to set this blitzer up by going inside. TJ on his own said, hey coach, nothing against linebackers, but your using me to clog a hole to pull somebody off the edge and that blitzer is not getting there. So he’s starting to understand. He is starting to stand up some and come off the edge. He knows now putting pressure on the quarterback changes games and he has worked on that this offseason. He has worked on foot speed, getting off the ball. Once again on the defensive side of the ball, I would like to see him use his hands a little bit more.”
Sam Webb: Have you started to notice yet a preference emerge as far as position and have you seen him be better in one position than another at this stage?
Tyrone Wheatley, Sr.: “I’ll tell you this, you really won’t see him blossom as a tight end because of the offense that they’re in. It is not like their targeting him. The quarterback is not targeting him and when they do target him, he is double covered and the ball is sometimes overthrown, underthrown. You really won’t see him blossom in that regard. The kid has mitts. He can catch the ball. He has great range for a big fellow. He has great catching radius. He can catch the ball over his shoulder, adjust, but in terms of improvement, he has improved as a defensive end by at least 40%. As a preference, I don’t know.”
Tyrone Wheatley profile
Canisius Prep came over into Ohio and put a beating on Walsh Jesuit. Wheatley was used mostly as a blocker on offense, but also made some big plays on defense. The Scout 300 prospect's size, but also his willingness to do whatever his team needed to get the victory was on display.