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Connor Whitney Lands Vandals As Others Circle In

2018 Prospects

Connor Whitney Lands Vandals As Others Circle In

You often hear college football television announcers say during a broadcast how special a certain player is because “he is a coach’s son”. If you have heard that before on television and wondered if that statement is true, I understand. In the case of Connor Whitney, a 6’ 3” 197lb. class of 2018 FS/WR from West Valley High School in Spokane Valley, WA. that statement absolutely applies.

Connor was a First Team All-League selection at wide receiver and punter and was named Defensive MVP of the Great Northern League last year in his junior season. Connor is a standout three sport athlete, who in addition to his football accolades as a junior was also an All-League selection in basketball and baseball (had a .400 batting average in baseball last season).  Connor is one of only three players named to both the offense and defense NWPR 2017 Preseason Top 5 Position Units Lists for Eastern Washington.

In the classroom, Connor is very close to perfection with a GPA of 3.89 and an SAT score of 1100 (two-part score).  While attending the University of Idaho Junior Day this past spring Connor walked away with his first Division 1 scholarship offer as the Vandals head coach Paul Petrino pulled him aside from the other attendees and had some one on one time with him and offered a scholarship to Connor on the spot. Connor stated the University of Idaho is recruiting him as an Athlete and that they like him on either side of the ball at this point.

Congratulations for that coveted first offer.

Recently recruiting interest has started to pick up from some other Division 1 schools. Connor said, “the communication from University of Montana (his dad Craig played wide receiver for the Montana Grizzlies when he was in college) and Eastern Washington University has increased lately and I feel like those two might be close to offering me. Both those schools said they see me as a defensive player at the next level.”

When I reviewed Connor’s junior season highlight film I see a GREAT all-around football player. Connor runs very well and does a great job attacking the ball at its high point as a receiver. On defense, Connor is a big-time playmaker with Division 1 size in the back-end as a free safety and is a big hitter who is great in run support. One of my favorite plays of his hudl highlight film (the link to his highlight film is attached at the end of the article) is at the 3:14 mark of the film. This play shows Connor flying down the field ahead of everybody else on the kick cover unit to blow up two guys simultaneously while making the tackle all in the same motion to stop the kick returner for a zero-yard return.  There is something infectious about that kind of passion and effort from a star player on special teams.

During my visit with Connor, I had the pleasure to also meet his Head Football Coach, Craig Whitney. Craig is Connors father. We talked for about an hour about numerous subjects.

Coach Whitney had this to say, “I think Connor’s best attributes are that he has a great attitude, he is a real hard worker and a grinder who loves to do the tougher things. He is a great team first guy who plays on ALL SPECIAL TEAMS UNITS and does not care about stats.”

Well that is exactly the type of player any coach would love to have. I learned a little more in talking with Coach Whitney who also said that Connor is devout in his film study, “Connor watches so much film of opponents. There are things he picks up in his film study that we as a coaching staff sometimes did not pick up and he will mention it to us and on numerous occasions, his film recognition has been very valuable to our staff in game planning.”

Coach Whitney and his son have a very neat bond and they shared their experience they have had together through football with me and it was special to hear. Coach said, “Being Connor’s high school coach has been one of the most fun and most special things of my life and it has been kind of a dream fulfilled for me.” Connor had some neat comments on this subject as well, “having my dad as my high school coach has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have been around the West Valley football program since I was in a car seat because my dad has been the head coach here my whole life basically, so it is a real family atmosphere because most of the assistant coaches have all been here at this school my whole life, so the assistant coaches are like uncles to me after all these years.”  

Connor had some neat comments on this subject as well, “having my dad as my high school coach has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have been around the West Valley football program since I was in a car seat because my dad has been the head coach here my whole life basically, so it is a real family atmosphere because most of the assistant coaches have all been here at this school my whole life, so the assistant coaches are like uncles to me after all these years.”  

If you want to be good at the varsity level you must be dedicated to the weight room and the offseason workout programs. When I asked Connor, what are his core beliefs about the weight room and offseason workouts, I got my favorite answer from a high school player I have ever heard, he said bluntly, “It should be MANDATORY. You should HAVE TO LIFT if you want to play on a football team.”  That sounds just like a coach. I love the fact that the best player on the team has that mentality. That is how championship teams are forged.  When I asked Connor what he felt his best attributes are that he brings to his team and to the game of football he said “I have a high football IQ, I watch a lot of film of opponents to get tendencies.  I also love to do the dirty work, I love run blocking and I want to play ALL SNAPS of EVERY GAME.” That answer really impressed me because there are a lot of good high school football players who try to find ways to get off the special team’s units and want to have breaks during a game. A football player should never want to leave the field to go to the sideline.

That sounds just like a coach. I love the fact that the best player on the team has that mentality. That is how championship teams are forged.  When I asked Connor what he felt his best attributes are that he brings to his team and to the game of football he said “I have a high football IQ, I watch a lot of film of opponents to get tendencies.  I also love to do the dirty work, I love run blocking and I want to play ALL SNAPS of EVERY GAME.” That answer really impressed me because there are a lot of good high school football players who try to find ways to get off the special team’s units and want to have breaks during a game. A football player should never want to leave the field to go to the sideline.

That answer really impressed me because there are a lot of good high school football players who try to find ways to get off the special team’s units and want to have breaks during a game. A football player should never want to leave the field to go to the sideline.

Connor and his teammate and best friend Collin Sather (I have an article on Collin coming soon) spent the entire spring months waking up at 4:30a.m. every morning before school to work out with former NFL Tight End Nate Overbay from Complete Athlete Fitness and Performance facility in Spokane, then attend class all day and go to baseball practice after school as well. Something tells me Connor will have NO problem making it to those college football offseason workouts at 5:00 a.m. With his hard work, this offseason Connor improved his speed as he was timed last week at 4.70 seconds in the 40-yard dash. I want to make sure to mention, that 40 time is ELECTRONIC LASER timing, verified by the West Valley HS Track & Field Head Coach.

Connor is one of the most complete players I have seen in my player evaluations this year.  He is physically and mentally gifted for the game of football and he possesses a lot of characteristics of a football coach already at 18 years old.  He is going to be a great asset to a college football program because he has every intangible you could ever think of. I am very excited to follow him this upcoming season and I want to personally wish Conner and his father, Coach Whitney and their family the best of luck for this year.

Here is a link to the hudl highlight film for Connor Whitney:

http://www.hudl.com/v/26KjWT

I am the Founder of the Northwest Prep Report. For 15 years I have led the way to the best of my ability to promote the best talent from the Pacific NW free of charge. It is my pleasure to continue to serve High School athletes from all over the Pacific NW and beyond. Formerly with Rivals.com my sites have now crossed over 8,000 stories, 7 MILLION Video Views, and 15,000 regular followers. Together with the best football people in the USA we pursue excellence for our NW athletes.

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