Whaley wants academics and football success

One of the best running backs in the 2016 class put Tennessee in his top ten list in May. What is he looking for in a school and why are the Vols on his final list?

When Devwah Whaley released his top ten list of schools in May, Tennessee sat sandwiched alphabetically between Stanford and Texas A&M.

The Vols are steadily trying to climb on that list to be the last program standing when Whaley announces his decision, and in the meantime are doing what they can to lure the Scout four-star running back to Knoxville.

Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie keeps in firm contact with Whaley while he begins to narrow down his options and focus on the handful of schools that will make the final cut.

“Coach Gillespie has been recruiting me pretty hard,” Whaley said. “We talk pretty much every other day — more than once a week. We talk about a lot. We talk about more than just football.”

The No. 2-rated running back in the Lone Star State and Scout 300 prospect boasts an offer sheet that includes Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Alabama. Whaley wants to join a program conducive to his development on the field, but he’s more concerned with picking a school with a reputable academic background coupled with gridiron success.

“First off, academics of course. I want to go to a school where I can get a good academics and graduate,” Whaley said. “Not just graduate, but finish school and be able to go into the (NFL) … That’s the school that I feel like can get it done.”

The Beaumont, Texas, native hasn’t yet made it to Knoxville for a visit but plans to make the trip at some point this summer. Whaley’s next stop will be at Arkansas to see the Razorbacks’ campus, and he’s still formulating his schedule to squeeze in as many schools as possible.

Whaley cited Tennessee’s recent back-to-back top 5 ranked recruiting classes and winning tradition as major selling points to him, but the real incentive, it seems, lies in early playing time. The ability to accumulate snaps sooner rather than later will definitely contribute to what school will get the 6-foot, 195-pound athlete's signature on the dotted line next February.

“That’s one of my goals is to come in and be able to play right away,” Whaley said. “In order to do that, you have to go somewhere where there’s not as much competition, where you have a good chance of doing that. That’s what I’m looking for.”

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