There are players that develop later into their high school careers and then there are those that come in ready to go. Those are the elite player and they're destined to do great things on the football field. Chris Whaley (6-foot-3, 228 pounds) is probably going to be one of those special players. Once Whaley showed up on the Madisonville practice field, it didn't take long for head coach Greg Morgan to take notice.
"As a freshman, we brought him up to varsity," coach Morgan explained when asked about his standout running back. "At some of the smaller classifications you'll probably see some freshmen playing, but he's the first freshman I ever moved up to varsity. We didn't throw him in real fast. We used him sparingly, but as the season progressed he took over the starting spot at tailback and he ended up with 900 yards and nine touchdowns.
"Being from out of Texas, he's getting comparisons to Adrian Peterson. He's a little bit bigger than Adrian, but he's a probably a bit slower. Still, as a freshman he ran a 10.8 100 meter in our district championships and he does have 4.4-forty speed.
"As a freshman he played at 203 pounds," coach Morgan said. "He's one of those rare kids that has size and speed. He's put on 25 pounds since then, but he's maintained that 10.8 100-meter speed. He is a long strider, but he does have cutting ability. If given the opportunity he can break the long run."
Speaking of opportunity, Whaley will have plenty of colleges to choose from by the time he is a senior.
"He's pretty special. He's a combination of power and speed," coach Morgan explained. "He had five offers come through on Saturday. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Nebraska all offered as of September 1. The coaches from Texas and Texas A&M feel that he's going to be the best running back in the nation in 2009.
"He's getting letters, the media guide and those things from Notre Dame. He's been getting a lot of interest from the SEC schools. Miami, LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama, Rutgers, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, and Tennessee….all those schools are riding him pretty hard.
"I visited with him Monday afternoon and I think he's going to be open to everybody," coach Morgan said. "The thing that makes him special is, No.1 he's a great kid. No.2, his size and speed. It's hard to find a kid his size that can run a 4.4-forty."
Chris isn't the only Whaley working his way through coach Morgan's program. Alonzo Whaley is Chris' brother and he's a big-time player in his own right.
"His older brother, Alonzo (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) has gotten some offers from Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe," coach Morgan said "I'd think more schools would be on him. It will be his third year starting for us this year. He plays inside linebacker for us. Alonzo was an all-state linebacker for us last year when he had 172 tackles in 11 games. He's the same kind of kid. He's a good kid. He's a one of our team leaders."
With two top prospects in the program, Morgan is preparing for something that he hasn't seen in some time.
"Right now we're trying to prepare his mother and we're trying to prepare our counselors with what they're up against," coach Morgan said. "We're trying to keep him up with all the recruiting requirements, and academic requirement. We're making sure he maintains his grades, that he's set up for the SAT prep, the SAT and all those things. As we get educated, we try to educate them.
"When we first got here we had a player sign with Michigan, David Underwood. He was a guy that was recruited nationally. I came in on the tail end of his recruiting. We're just trying to stay up on things. When the coaches come in and try to sell their program we want to be prepared. I know the early commitment is big these days. We visited about that and talked about the positive and negatives about that. We talked about sitting back and waiting and the positives and negatives about that. We're just trying to stay informed and trying to keep his mother informed."