Future River Rouge (MI) 2021 tailback Justin Whitehorn checks out Wisconsin during junior day

Future River Rouge (MI) athlete Justin Whitehorn has a long time to go in his recruitment, but the 2021 tailback knows that Wisconsin would be a special place for him.

Knowing Wisconsin was going to be hosting its first junior day on January 21, and seeing no conflicts on his calendar, River Rouge (MI) 2018 safety Reggie Pearson saw it as another chance to spend time at his future college.

He also thought it was a great opportunity to bring along Justin Whitehorn, a 2021 tailback, to introduce him to the Badgers coaches.

“It was a great opportunity that Reggie provided for me and my dad,” Whitehorn told BadgerNation. “The coaches were good. I liked the atmosphere. It was a good tour of the locker room and stuff like that. Overall it was a beautiful campus and just a great day.”

Despite his age, running back coach John Settle has become familiar with Whitehorn, whose dad had previously sent him film and Pearson had given the running back coach a scouting report.

“We talked about if Wisconsin is a good fit for me or not, how I have a long time to wait (until I sign) and to stay patient with the process,” Whitehorn said, who also got to meet Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne on the visit. “He told me to keep working hard, keep getting better every day and really practicing my technique. That’s what really matters.”

Not even enrolled in high school yet (he’ll be joining Pearson at River Rouge next year), Whitehorn has already been on a couple campus visits, getting a chance to see Akron, Georgetown, Michigan State and Western Michigan. He believes his time at Wisconsin was the best he had experienced to this point.

“It’s a school I would really like to go to in the next four years,” Whitehorn said. “It would be a great opportunity.” 

In the meantime, Whitehorn said he will continue to latch on to Pearson, who was an all-state selection as a junior and ended his recruitment at the beginning of the season to focus on the team.

“Reggie is a good influence on me,” Whitehorn said. “He inspires me to do great things at Rouge. When I was at Wisconsin I saw all the coaches showing him love. That’s what I want to be. If I want to get where he is, I have to work hard like him, do the work and just succeed.”

Whitehorn said most schools are waiting to see how he develops before pegging him at a position, but added most of the talk has been tailback and receiver.

“I just tell them to recruit me at both,” he said, “and then watch out in the near future.”


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