June 30, 2009

Rivals250 DT talks Tide

Despite being one of the nation's top defensive line prospects, Warner Robins (GA) star Jeffrey Whitaker isn't content to keep things as they are. While other high school students were on trips to the beach, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound tackle has spent his summer working to improve his already impressive skill set that has earned him over a dozen offers.

"I've spent this whole summer up to now training," said Whitaker, the nation's No. 7 defensive tackle prospect. "I've lost 23 pounds since the start of June and I've got 10 more to go. I've really been working hard and I feel like it's starting to pay off. I would say I'm 90 percent in shape right now. I feel like I'm moving really well at 300 and that's important to me. My focus this season is to become a more disruptive player, the kind of guy that can keep offenses on their heels."

While in the midst of his intense training, Whitaker decided to take a break from recruiting but as the season approaches, his focus will soon return to the recruiting process.

"I've put recruiting on hold so far this summer to focus on training but I'm about to get serious about it again in July. I know I'll be visiting Auburn and Alabama in July and there's a few other schools I'm interested in possibly visiting later. North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Cal and Oregon are probably the other schools I'm most interested in right now."

Alabama and Auburn have both been in heavy pursuit of Whitaker since the spring and both schools appear to have made strong early impressions.

"Coach (Tracy) Rocker is recruiting me for Auburn and he's really been a great guy to talk to. Auburn has been interested in me from way back. They came and visited my school in April."

"Coach (Kirby) Smart has a really different attitude than I see from other coaches. He's very interested in talking about the specifics of the game and where I might fit in when it comes to Alabama's defense. I've never been to Alabama's campus so I'm really interested to learn more about them."

While enjoying the college experience is a factor for Whitaker, the Rivals250 member said his main focus when it comes to choosing a school lies beyond his college years.

"All the schools I'm looking at have great academics and lots of opportunities to have the full college experience. What I'm looking for the most is a program that's focused on helping me reach my full potential. To me it's about finding a place that can take you as far as you want to go and as far as your talent and ability will allow you to go."

As for what position Whitaker will likely play in college, some of it depends on the defense, according to Whitaker, but the key to getting on the field soon will be learning to play multiple positions.

"I think I could fill a lot of different roles on the d-line. My goal is to be the kind of guy you can slide into any position on that line. I want to contribute and disrupt the offense and wherever the coaches think I'll be most disruptive, I can play there."

As a junior, Whitaker registered 40 tackles including 15 tackles for loss.

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