Jace Whittaker out of Oceanside High School in Oceanside, California is the smallest receiver that Washington State head coach Mike Leach is recruiting for the 2014 class. At 5-9, 150-lbs Whittaker is not the type of receiver the Leach would normally go after.
This years’ roster has one player smaller than Whittaker, 5-8 Rickey Galvin, so it is a little surprising that Leach is going after him based off just size. When you watch Whittaker’s film it is very hard to tell that he is as small as he is and he doesn’t let that affect him.
When watching his film the first thing I noticed is how shifty he is. Whittaker’s smaller size allows him to fit in smaller holes and escape defenders with ease and is able to easily break free down the field. Combined with the speed that he has it is very hard for defenses to stop him once he gets the ball.
In high school Whittaker doubles as a corner and is very physical to say the least. He is not a player who is scared to lay a hit or take a hit. When blocking he is able to stand his ground without any issues. Off the line, Whittaker doesn’t have any problems with the jam as he is normally able to dip below them and run past the corner. Being that Whittaker is also such a physical corner he knows most of what the corner across from him is going to try and do.
Some of his best traits are that he has such good hands and has good route running skills. If Whittaker is able to get at least a hand on the ball he will come down with possession. He knows where he has to go and runs routes precisely.
When Whittaker gets the ball he doesn’t always get up field right away, there is a lot of time spent running East and West instead of running North. He turns down an open hole to try and juke another defender and find another hole. This style of play makes him a sort of scrappy player, and even though he makes it work it could be a negative thing for him down the road.
Because of Whittaker’s knowledge on both sides of the ball he has the potential to be a good multiple-positioned player in college, especially with his height.
For an idea of how Washington State looks in the receiver position look at our early receivers preview.
Besides Washington State Whittaker is interested in Nevada.
Below you will will find Whittaker’s junior year highlight film.