While this time of year is the “Season of Giving”, make no mistake, college football, at all levels, is a business and because of that, recruiting can be a dog-eat-dog world.
One player who found that out recently was Woodinville (Wa.) DL Sawyer Whalen who recently found out there wouldn’t be a spot for him at Portland State, the school he had committed to only two months before.
“I talked to the coaches and they said that when it was all said and done, they weren’t going to have a spot for me,” Whalen told NEI recently. “I mean, I know it’s a business and all that and I still have some time to look at some other options, but it’s sorta a downer because I was looking forward to going there, but it is what it is and I can’t dwell on it now.”
Some of the other options in front of him are as a preferred walk-on with the University of Washington or Washington State University and he’s also heard from the Idaho and Oregon State coaching staffs that he would have that same opportunity there.
“Idaho State and Montana seem like they might like me enough to offer, but I’m not really sure right now,” Whalen said. “I’ve been talking to both of those staffs for a while now, so we’ll see what happens with them.”
Whalen burst onto the scene in the spring and summer, intially because of his outstanding size (6’4, 220) and long arms, however, once he got on the field, the senior showed an outstanding intitial burst and the ability to take coaching and apply it to his game.
This past season, Whalen helped lead the Falcons all the way to the state semi-finals where they lost to eventual champ Skyline 26-21.
Woodinville’s defense was a big reason they made it so deep into the state playoffs and ranked at or near the top of the NEI rankings all season, allowing under 200 yards and nine points per game and Whalen’s leadership was a big reason why as he totaled 70 tackles (56 solo), 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries and earned Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Kingco Crown Division honors.
“I worked my butt off individually, but we all did as a team too,” Whalen said. “I mean, football is a team effort and it was something we as seniors really took to heart. We wanted to go as deep as we could in the playoffs and we just came together as a team and played really well.
“Most schools like me at defensive end, but this year I played inside at the three (tech) spot.”
While it can be looked at as a negative that he no longer has a spot at the school he chose, Whalen said not to fee l sorry for him.
“I’m taking it and turning it into a positive,” Whalen said. “We had a great season and I personally had a great season. You can’t beat going out like we did, other than not winning state.
“I’ll be playing college football next year, one way or another. I just have to be patient and keep working hard and I know things will work themselves out.”
It’s the Holiday season and some lucky team could end up with a nice present under their tree if they take a chance on a player like Whalen who has a great work-ethic and is a natural leader.