Scouting Chris Whaley
Madisonville runs Whaley on a lot of toss sweeps (generally to the right) and some short toss. After watching Whaley for three years now, you get the feeling that he will have to somewhat reinvent himself as a runner to succeed on the major college level. Whaley bounces too many runs outside. There are many times when Whaley could grind out a three or four yard run using his power and falling forward to maximize an inside run, but opts to try and bounce it outside. He had several runs for negative or no gain against a good Rockdale defense that swarmed the football and had the speed to get to the sidelines.
On the toss plays when he gets his pads square and downhill, he can be effective as a guy 6-3, 233-pounds running downhill with a full head of steam isn't going to be stopped on the HS level. Where he gets into problems is when the pads aren't turned downhill, but east and west. On those runs, Whaley doesn't possess the quickness and burst to beat defenders to the edge and can look a little stiff at times on change of direction.
Those are the areas he is going to have to reinvent himself as a runner on the next level as the 3A level of competition combined with his mismatch size can lend itself to habits that are very successful on the HS level, but will be quite the opposite on the major college level. Whaley also carries the ball predominately in his right hand and that can be a problem going left as he doesn't have the option of a stiff arm to protect from defender making direct contact.
With the areas of improvement identified, let's turn to his positives. Whaley ran high to low better than in prior viewings. He's never going to be able to make his body small on contact (he is a big guy), but he had multiple runs in which he got the pads down and didn't leave his knees fully exposed. On those runs, he cut up the field inside the tackle and once cut back once to the opposite B gap.
Whaley got the pads down and finished with a nice forward lean maximizing runs. He also stretched his body completely out with right arm extended to get a first down in the second quarter. Because of his height, if he will do that on a consistent basis, he adds a full yard and sometimes two to the end of runs.
Whaley deserves credit for running hard from start to finish. In a game against a good Rockdale team, the holes were few and far between, but he appeared to give max effort on just about every run.
His greatest asset has always been his feet. For a player 6-3, 233, Whaley has exceptional feet. He has quick feet and uses them to speed cut and accelerate to the best of his ability. He can accelerate past defenders at the 3A level at times as his stride makes him tough to gauge. He has very good cut back vision as well. His feet give him the ability to make defenders miss in the hole, but you don't get to see that too much as most of his runs are outside.
The question has always been if Whaley can play running back at the college level. That question is still up in the air. He has to be a willing downhill runner, has to begin to round into more of an inside runner as he won't be able to turn the pads east and west and beat major college defenses to the corner often. With an improved body lean and a better job of getting the pads down at times, that ability has shown up.