Football RecruitingPremium

Whaley Comes Up Big In Army Bowl

SAN ANTONIO – It seems like almost instantaneously Chris Whaley went from being the unquestioned tailback of the future at Texas to being a top recruit with a lot of question marks. Is he too tall and does he run too big to be a running back? Can he handle running in the spread offense? Will he be able to duplicate his production at the Class 3A level in the Big 12 Conference? Or will he end up at another position once on the Forty Acres?
The workhorse back from Madisonville, who entered his senior season coming off of two straight 2,000 yard rushing seasons, continued to do his best to answer those questions this fall with another all-State campaign at running back, finishing his prep career with more than 5,700 yards.But the questions resurfaced again the week leading up to Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl with Whaley set to showcase his talent on the grandest stage of his young career.The 6-foot-3, 230-pound runner answered those questions the only way he knows how – he let his actions on the field speak for themselves.Sharing reps with prep standouts Christine Michael and Cierre Wood, Whaley made the most of his chances on Saturday with 24 rushing yards on just three carries and a 46-yard touchdown reception for the West team, which fell to the East squad, 30-17.Whaley’s performance showed once again that the ball carrier with a rare blend of size and speed could come up big even against some of the top prep football talent in America.“The experience has been good just being around this type of competition,” said Whaley. “It lets you know that you’re one of the best players in country. Being in this type of atmosphere has been a real good experience.”Whaley showed off his best attributes in the game giving Texas a small glimpse at what the Horns’ lone running back pledge of the 2009 recruits class can do. A big back that is built in a similar mold to New York Giants star Brandon Jacobs, Whaley showed that he is a patient runner that can hit the hole quickly and leave a defense in the dust once he gets into the open field. Two of his three carries saw him take the ball on delayed handoffs and break several tackles on his way to first down yardage.His running style and body type have drawn comparisons to Jacobs and a few other big running backs that have had successful careers, further establishing the fact that Whaley can indeed stay put in the backfield during his time in Austin.“I get a lot of comparisons,” said Whaley. “Adrian Peterson, Eddie George, people say those things because of my size and speed and explosiveness. I’m just looking forward to playing running back in the future.”Whaley’s touchdown run showed off his 4.45 speed as he turned a simple screen pass into a footrace to the end zone, one that he was not going to let the East defense win.“It was a pretty good run,” said Whaley. “The line blocked real good. I caught it and hit the seam and then saw nothing but wide open field and knew I had to get the touchdown.”Being in the same backfield as Michael during the week also created a lot of buzz with Michael having at one time been a prime candidate for a Texas offer, but the talented running back from Beaumont West Brook made a verbal pledge to Texas A&M over the weekend without ever getting an offer from the Horns.The fact that neither Michael, nor Wood, nor Florida standout Trent Richardson, nor a host of other standouts were able to land an offer from Texas further displays the commitment that the Horns have made to Whaley.“I feel good because Texas recruited me as the only running back in the class,” said Whaley. “I’m going down there in the fall and my expectations are to play as a true freshman.”Being able to play early is another question Whaley will have to answer, but given his track record, he will likely have plenty of answers.