Elizabethton’s Luke Whaley signs with the Scots

Published 10:37 am Friday, April 19, 2024

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By Ron Marvel

Star Correspondent

Maryville College and Head Coach Ben Fox have been on a tear in the Northeast Tennessee market in the last few years. His roster shows 18 student-athletes from the Tri-City area, including 5 from Elizabethton High School alone. The Scots finished with an 8-2 record last year, so this infusion of local athletes must be working. This week, he picked up another fine addition in Luke Whaley, a versatile, speedy wideout with sharp route-running ability.

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Head Cyclones Coach Shawn Witten introduced Luke and his family and boasted about not only the player Luke was but the person. “On the field and off the field, he has the highest character about which you can talk. He is self-motivated and disciplined. I do not know if I have coached a kid that prepares harder than Luke. His work ethic he is the kid we would like to see all of our kids grow into,” Coach Witten shared. Coach Witten also commented on how he took pride in everything he did, including being the team’s placeholder, and how well Luke could communicate his team’s needs to succeed.

What makes Whaley special is his competitive, highly intelligent approach to the game; Coach Ben Fox, Head Coach at Maryville, was quick to comment on his qualities and how those qualities will be a fine addition to the Scots program. “Such an intelligent kid, he’s competitive and well-rounded. He brings that intelligence to the field, making him crafty and hard to cover. He can work inside or outside or go to the slot; he’s what we look for in a player,” Coach Fox shared. Coach Fox was also extremely complimentary of Cyclones Football and how they prepare their student-athletes. “We know athletes from that program know the game, they are well-coached and do things the right way. I cannot say enough positive things about the job Coach Witten and his staff have done there,” Fox added.

As the signing continues, Coach Witten encourages Luke and his family to come up. Luke then, in front of a large gathering of his family, friends, teachers, and teammates, puts pen to paper and makes it official. After the signing, Luke spoke about his decision to go to Maryville and what his time at Elizabethton had meant.

“This decision came first from an academic place. I want to pursue a degree in engineering so that meant more to me than anything; I was also really impressed with the coaching staff at Maryville. Their coaching staff are quality folks; they always made me feel welcomed and we have already been going over things,” Whaley exclaimed. On top of his high-end athletic ability, Whaley also brings a 4.3 GPA to the table, and he shared what balance looks like for student-athletes. “You can stress yourself out if you don’t budget your time right. When I show up for school every day, I value my time. There was a planning period where I was a teacher’s aide and figured out a way to get in a 40-minute workout, shower, and get back to class. I am excited to get to this next chapter and play at the next level,” Whaley commented.

Luke also spoke at length about how much it’s meant to him to be a Cyclone. “I will never forget running out through that inflated helmet on Friday nights. The community, the cowbells – you come running out there is no other feeling like it,” Whaley added. Luke has performed at a high level not just in football but in soccer and basketball as well, bringing All-County and All-Region accolades in all three sports. Luke finally spoke to what advice he would give to any incoming freshmen next year who put on the black and orange. “Keep your head down and work. For me, it was the weight room. I was only 120 lbs when I came here so I knew I had to put in some work if I was going to contribute. Most importantly, you’ve got to always stay focused on school and put that first,” Whaley contributed.

The recent move has been to place a higher emphasis on grades, and rightfully so. Luke serves as an example of how a student-athlete should always remember that the student part comes first.