Snapshot: Kevin Whimpey

The Steelers' sleeper prospect at left tackle hopes he has to change his name some day.

Kevin Whimpey had already heard about Guy Whimper by the time he reached the locker room.

"One of the upstairs guys brought him up," Whimpey said. "He said "We've got a Whimper and a Whimpey."

Actually, Whimper is gone, has been since the end of 2013. Even then, he wasn't known as Whimper.

"In training camp Coach (Mike) Tomlin came up to me and said he's not going to call me Guy Whimper," Whimper said that season. "He said 'I'm going to call you Abdullah.' Ever since then he's called me Abdullah. All my teammates call me Abdullah."

Even Whimper's son started calling him Abdullah.

Why?

"Coach didn't like the Whimper, the Whimp, in his last name," explained Ramon Foster.

But now they have Whimpey. Although, no one's ever been man enough to kid him or call him a wimp. Not even Tomlin.

"I've got some work to do before they want to change my name," said Whimpey, a 6-5 1/4, 306-pound offensive tackle who benched 225 pounds 39 times at Utah State's pro day. That number would've topped -- by two -- the overall high at this year's Combine.

No, no one's about to chide this guy.

"No. I've got an identical twin brother as well," Whimpey said with a smile. "He's 30 pounds heavier. We were both on the same offensive line at Utah State, so there was always two of us with the same last name. We kind of stood up for each other a little bit."

Whimpey started his career as a defensive end at Idaho State, but after his freshman season, and after a two-year LDS mission, Whimpey transferred home to Utah State and became an offensive lineman. He started all but one game at left tackle over the next three years and was named first-team All-Mountain West last season. He also spent two years on the same line as his twin brother, right guard Kyle Whimpey, until a knee injury in 2013 ended Kyle's career.

Kevin, who calls Kyle every day, was hurt by the injury as well. After he helped Kyle off the field, Kevin stayed with him on the sideline.

"I definitely felt it," Kevin told The Salt Lake Tribune after the game. "The coaches came over and helped me regroup."

Whimpey added this spring that "when he went down, a piece of me was gone too. It hurt me pretty bad, and so I always carry that with me and I play the game for him."

Whimper played the spring game for his twin brother with the Steelers, mainly as a left tackle but he also spent time at right tackle. With the exception of some injury-replacement time with the second team, Whimpey was a fixture on the third line.

"I'm actually hoping to get some looks at guard," he said. "But I'm just going to play wherever they have me. If it's at left tackle, that's where I'll play and be happy about it."

Whimpey said he's "just going to follow Beach, do what he did and see if I can get the same result."

Kelvin Beachum, of course, was a Round 7-D draft pick in 2012 and he's been the starting left tackle the last two seasons. In fact the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a few late-round picks become long-time starters at left tackle: Tunch Ilkin was a sixth-round pick in 1980 and John Jackson was a 10th-round pick in 1988.

"Sure, I want to have a career in the league," Whimpey said. "But there are a lot of things I have to piece together before I get to that point."

Whimpey has pieced together quite a life so far. The Utah native just turned 25 and has been married to former Utah State cheerleader Shaylee, and the couple have a daughter, Ivy.

In Utah, the Whimpeys "hike, snowboard, boat, fish, any of that outdoors stuff." And before arriving in Pittsburgh, the family vacationed at his in-laws place near Zion National Park. That kind of red rock can't be found in Western Pa.

"But I love how green it is," Whimpey said of Pittsburgh. "I actually like the humidity. We'll see how it is in fall camp, but right now I'm liking it. It is different out here, scenery-wise, and the people out here are awesome, super supportive. There are a lot of fun things to do."

Whimpey has similar praise for the organization.

"I love it," he said. "The veterans here -- obviously I haven't been on other teams but >(Maurkice) Pouncey took us all out to dinner. There's no real hazing that you hear about. If you have questions you ask Pouncey or go to Beach. The veterans here will help you out. They want you to be as good as you can be. I didn't really expect a team atmosphere when I came into the NFL, but this program is something else."

At Utah State, not only did Whimpey start 40 of the last 41 games, make the all-conference team, meet his wife and graduate with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, he was part of Utah State's winningest senior class, a group that went to four bowl games and won the last three. He's now a solid sleeper prospect with the Steelers.

"I'm here as a free agent so I kind of just have to take every day one step at a time," he said. "There are days I feel like I do really well, and then I get a day where I get humbled a little bit. It's all about stringing together a couple of good days, and then we'll see what type of opportunity I get."


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