The Oklahoma Sooners released an updated depth chart about a week ago that caught many fans off guard. A point of interest has continued to be the running back position. Now that DeMarco Murray has departed, how would is shake down with talent like Roy Finch, Brandon Williams, Jonathan Miller, and Brennan Clay? However, the surprise was that a walk-on named Dominique Whaley cracked the depth chart and found himself listed as a co-starter along with Brennan Clay. Even more cause for confusion is that the depth chart was once again updated today, the day before gameday, and Whaley is still listed as a co-starter. While many hold on to the thought that preseason depth charts hold little value and are often used to motivate players who are not performing to their potential, I think we may have something different here.
Bob Stoops has said that
"Our job is to win, so we don't play favorites. We play the guy we feel gives us the best opportunity at the time. That's the only way to keep your job in this business."
Guess we will see what happens on Saturday, but I fully expect to see Whaley get more than just one or two carries on the night.For the majority of his college career up to this point, Dominique Whaley has not been able to obtain starter status. Even in high school, he played back up to current Sooner Javon Harris. Whaley is a walk-on who transferred from Langston University and on Saturday night, he will play football for the first time in three years.
Regardless of how long it has been since he stepped onto the grid-iron under the night lights, he has garnered attention not only from teammates but from coaches as well.
"Typically, there's not a lot of guys that show up that have the ability he has," Gundy said. "We've always had walk-ons that have been very good players and have earned scholarships... But for someone to come in with that ability is a little unusual."
"He's an incredible athlete," said Sooners quarterback Landry Jones. "He kind of came out nowhere and made a name for himself in spring ball... Sometimes the five stars don't work out, and sometimes the zero stars turn out to be five stars in college."
"Since the first day he got here, he opened all our eyes real big," said nickel back Tony Jefferson. We're like, ‘You're a walk-on? You should be playing somewhere.'"
Yet, Whaley at 210lbs was able to post a 4.4 second 40-yard dash, a 40 inch vertical, and an 11-feet 1-inch broad jump. With all of this praise and measurable ability, it is hard to grasp why Whaley was not highly recruited but it could do in part because of his background and growing up in a Military family. This caused the family to move around a lot and Whaley was never at one school or in one system for a long period of time. He was also unable to attend summer camps where top talents make a name for themselves. However, the turning point came at OU where he was able to work with Division I coaching.
"Body-wise, I gained a lot of mass," Whaley said. "I got bigger, stronger. They have great facilities here to help you do that. I'm also a lot smarter because of coaching, a lot of stuff I never knew before."
Dom Whaley has come in simply trying to prove that he can play with the top talent and has done just that up to this point. He doesn't drop the ball and has excelled at blitz pick up while running hard each and every day. Sometimes hard work and patience pans out for someone this young. Don't write Whaley off just yet as we should see what he is capable of against Tulsa this Saturday.