Whaley optimistic about NFL trials
Devwah Whaley is hoping to make a favourable impression on scouts when he attends upcoming trials for the National Football League.
The Bermudian running back is set to participate in trials at the University of Arkansas on March 11 and is feeling optimistic about his chances of being recruited.
“I feel I have a good chance of getting picked up,” Whaley said. “I just want to get there, work hard and try and make an active roster.
“That’s the goal and we will just see how these next couple of months go with training.”
Showcasing his skills in the NFL is something that Whaley has dreamt about since falling in love with the sport during childhood.
“The ultimate goal is to get to the NFL,” said Whaley, who graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s in science, recreation and sports management.
“I watched it when I was younger and then started playing it. I realised I could be really good, so I just kept working hard and kept playing and got better and better.”
Whaley became the first player at Central High School in Texas to be invited to the Under Armour All-American game and was offered a scholarship by the University of Houston at the age of 15.
Several other colleges, including University of Texas at Austin and University of Georgia were pursuing his services, however, he committed to the Arkansas Razorbacks in January 2016.
“I had the chance to play at the college level and now I’m training and hoping to get a chance to play at the NFL level,” Whaley added.
“It’s a big jump because the college talent level and playing field isn’t equal, but once you get to the NFL everything is pretty equal.
“Everybody is talented, everybody is really good because they’re all getting paid big money to play, and if you’re getting paid big money to play on an active roster, that means you’re doing something good.”
Whaley has endured his share of challenges in recent seasons. He suffered a concussion and an ankle injury, which required surgery, during his junior season at Arkansas.
His struggles continued throughout his final season as a senior as he saw limited playing time.
The Razorbacks had a season to forget last year, finishing bottom in the seven-team Southeastern Conference west division with a record of 0-8 and 2-10 overall. Whaley rushed for 278 yards, with four touchdowns.
“We got a new coaching staff and everything just pretty much went downhill because the new coaching staff brought in their own guys and I wasn’t really playing as much,” Whaley said. “It is what it is and you have to move on.”
Whaley is using his setbacks and the encouragement from his parents as motivation towards his ultimate goal of reaching the NFL.
“My parents keep me motivated and positive so I don’t get distracted with the negative and lose sight of what I’m trying to accomplish,” he said. “I still have a good chance at the next level, so I’m in training and getting ready.”
Whaley rushed 388 times for 1,807 yards and scored 16 touchdowns during his college career at Arkansas. He also hauled in 38 receptions for 423 yards with one touchdown.
The NFL Draft will be held from April 23 to 25 in Paradise, Nevada.
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