When Chris Whaley was in high school, scoring two touchdowns in a span of three games would be a cause for concern. Now, that same result has made Whaley the toast of Texas.
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Then again, that's the difference between being a sensational prep running back with 6,174 career rushing yards and 79 touchdowns and a 295-pound college defensive tackle.
Whaley returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown in the Longhorns' win over Kansas to keep them undefeated in Big 12 play, only three weeks after scoring on a 31-yard interception return against rival Oklahoma.
"He wants us to feed him more," UT head coach Mack Brown said Monday. "I said, 'Well, the ones that you're getting you're making it happen on your own.' But for him to be the only defensive tackle in the history of Texas football to score twice is really unbelievable.
"Of course, he said he's not done, and then he started asking me about maybe touches on the goal line as a tailback or fullback. I told him he's getting enough touches now."
Brown might joke about it, but Whaley looked more than comfortable with the ball in his hands, even after adding nearly 50 pounds over the last year. Whaley has 24 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one pass breakup this season. His quick feet and disruptive presence have helped to turn around a UT defense that looked lost in losses to BYU and Ole Miss.
Whaley's career path is reminiscent of that of Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton, another plus-sized athlete who made the move from running back to stuffing the run while on the 40 Acres.
But Whaley's teammate, senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, compares him to another UT lineman.
"Lamarr Houston did the same thing," Jeffcoat told ESPN.com, referring to the Oakland Raiders defensive end. "He (Whaley) just can do so much. He can play defensive end, he can play defensive tackle. You see he can drop back into coverage and get us a pick, and he can run. A guy like that, I feel like scouts are probably drooling over him just because of how much he can do."
With his athleticism on display over the last month, Whaley has definitely played himself on to the NFL radar, even if it won't get him back into the running back rotation.