Thursday, August 22, 2013
Being an offensive lineman tends to be an anonymous job. Oftentimes it is the skill players who garner the most attention, while the big guys up front usually make names for themselves only if they aren’t doing their job.
North Augusta High School senior Jake Whitley, however, has gotten attention for many good reasons, and he continues to add to an already impressive résumé.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 295 pound offensive lineman is versatile – he can play both guard and tackle. Last year he was an All-State, All-Region and All-Area selection. On top of that, he even has a 3.2 GPA.
As such, Whitley has drawn attention from many top schools, including South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Arizona State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. He has also received scholarship offers from Maryland, Georgia Southern, Youngstown State, UNC Charlotte, Furman, Coastal Carolina, Mercer, Appalachian State, Old Dominion and Marshall.
In the 2012 Nike SPARQ combine he drew a 78.45, which put him as the top offensive lineman to attend.
“The main thing coaches tell me is that I have great feet, and I can move well for my weight,” Whitley said.
Dan Pippin, the team’s head coach, is also the position coach for the offensive lineman. Whitley said that he feels that he has learned a lot from Pippin throughout the years. He’s just another example of a quality lineman who is a part of the North Augusta program.
“The drills we do in practice every day really help at getting us better and better,” Whitley said. “The harder you work at them, the better you get.”
Whitley said that at the AAAA level he has “a lot of fun” and that the competition is there week after week. As far as a particular game that he is most looking forward to, like many of his teammates, the showdown on Sept. 27 against Strom Thurmond is the one he is most looking forward to.
“It’s going to be a good game, it’s going to be a packed house, so it should be fun,” Whitley said.
One area of his game that Whitley wants to improve on throughout the year is blocking for the run game. As a team, Whitley said that he and his fellow players want to win the region, host some playoff games and win a state championship.
Given that the schools interested in Whitley are all over the place at the moment it is uncertain where he will land. Though many scouting sites point toward Maryland as the favorite to land him, Whitley said at this time, he just wants to play his senior year and enjoy it.
“I’m undecided at this time I’m open to just about anything,” he said.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.