This story is yet another look at the many ways our NW kids make it on to college. This is the 5th article we have written this month on alumni kids who have kicked, crawled, scratched, clawed, and battled their way into the college ranks from less then the perfect D-1 High School recruiting story. Designed to inspire and give hope these stories are aimed at teaching all of you parents and athletes that you can make it if you work and believe. Having the talent goes without saying.
At NWPR we cover the Pacific NW and Hawaii and we consider our friends in Canada a Northern part of our Family. In that effort we met a big time Tight End last season in Blake Whitely out of West Vancouver High. He came to the Northwest Elite Football Camp run by Cole Morgan and Eddie Behringer and stood out. But last season was a tough one for Tight Ends to stand out as Danny Mattingly of Mead HS, Cole Madison of Kennedy, and David Ajamu of Shelton High all went on to D1 schools and a host of others did too.
At the end of last season however we were convinced that Whitely could play with the best of them. His 6’5″-240 pound frame was just to athletic to deny. Being from Canada he had to overcome the image that he was just not playing against the best teams and opponents. So the college interest he had was at the D-1AA and mainly D2 level.
Faced with the choices he had Blake took an unconventional one. He headed to Yuma Arizona to play for Arizona Western JC where it gets up to 120 degrees during football season almost daily and battled it out to try and get out and move on to a big school from there. But Whitely did not want to or need to stay in a JC for 2 years because he is a full academic qualifier; simply stated he can move on to a college and still have 4 years to play 3.
One at AWJC he settled into a nice starting role as the teams Tight End and earned some huge accolades as an offensive weapon but more over as a fast punishing blocker who can win those battles and be an effective D-1 Tight End for teams who love to run that football. This tough nosed Canadian from British Columbia was gaining attention by many and rated as a Top JUCO Tight End prospect as the season ended.
He also earned offers from big time schools like Arkansas, TCU, Purdue, Virginia, and West Virginia, and a few others. Then this past week the word came in that Texas was offering. That seems to have Blake’s attention as he planning a trip there in the coming days. With a new Coach needed still the Long Horns are close to being ready to rebuild but the fact is that they need a blocking tight end and with this young man they have found one. That is if he accepts.
Blake was a standout but did not stand out enough in High School. If our in that same boat and just need to know you might want to follow in this kids footsteps and head off to a JC. Arizona Western is one of just a few schools that offer scholarships. The trick to this all working the way it did for Blake is to getting to a JC where you are going to play right away. Too many guys make the mistake of going to the “best” JC they can find in terms of standing or wins and losses. If Blake had not made it onto the field his first year he would not have made it out this way. As it is he is better then a red shirt because he already has major game experience and is playing at a high level. He will be ready the minute he gets onto the field at one of these big time schools.
Congrats to Blake Whitley and his Family! What a terrific ending to this chapter of his story. Good luck in the future!