Mount Tabor (Winston-Salem, N.C.) High School tight end Blake Whiteheart celebrated his birthday pretty much exactly the same way as most 17-year olds.
He spent some time with Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson and gave his decision to play football for the Deacs, before being presented a cake by the coaching staff as they celebrated the decision and his birthday.
That’s what everybody does, right?
“I celebrated my birthday by committing. It was one of the biggest decisions of my life,” Whiteheart said. “What better way than to do it on my birthday and remembering it forever. It may be the best present ever, by far.”
The opportunity to become a ‘Hometown Hero’ was something that appealed greatly to Whiteheart. He lives just a short 10-minute drive away from Wake, has camped there twice and can literally view some of the campus from his high school.
“I grew up knowing Wake, going to games. I’ve been on campus tons of times and been to all the games,” he said. “Having a chance to be a hometown hero helped me make the decision to come here.”
Whiteheart, a physical 6-foot-4, 238 pound tight end, likes the way Wake Forest coaches often use multiple tight ends on the field at the same time.
“I really want to play, and I can see on film that Wake uses two tight ends many times during the game,” he said. “To be on the field playing is very important to me. Knowing that Wake does that made the decision that much easier.”
Whiteheart had nearly 700 receiving yards as a junior.
“I think I’m a pretty good route runner. Obviously, I’m not the fastest guy on the field. I make my cuts deliberate, and that’s my strong point,” he said. “I have decent hands, but they can get better. The thing I can improve on most is my inside blocking on the line. I’m not weak on it, because I’m usually bigger than everybody. But when it comes to college I’ll have to learn better technique and form.”
Clawson loves multi-sport stars, and Whiteheart is yet another example — he plays lacrosse at Mount Tabor.
“Agility, speed and stamina,” are attributes that are useful in both sports, according to Whiteheart. “In lacrosse, you’re never standing still. You’re sprinting and cutting. It’s also great for hand-eye coordination. You’re catching a baseball coming at you with a stick with a net on it.”
Whiteheart detailed the many reasons he decided to choose Wake Forest.
“Education is probably my No. 1. My brother went to the Air Force Academy, so he set the bar high education wise. He became a pilot and is very intellectual,” he said. “I wanted to get the best education I could, but still play big-time ACC football at the same time. I wanted to play for great coaches.”