By : Neil Burnett
In a time when the world is going through changes, for a lack of better words, high school football players are facing the same uncertainty. There is online school and the inopportunity to go to football camps and show their talents. The state of South Carolina has been down in recent years talent-wise. There are gems all over the state in the 2022 class. Ashton Whitner is one of those gems.
Whitner is a 6-0 187 lb junior safety for Greenville high school in Greenville, SC. He and many of his fellow high schoolers are doing their best to endure the trials and tribulations of the effect that Covid-19 has had on football.
“Over the time period that we were not in school, I was working out everyday, sometimes by myself and other times with some other teammates, mainly because we never knew when the season would start. So if we had to start practicing with our team we would already be prepared and conditioned for the start of practice.”
The talented safety recently participated in the Carolina eXperience Prep Football Showcase and Elite Position Training (EPT) Football Academy Head DB Trainer Brendan “ChaChi” Sullivan couldn’t say enough about Whitner.
“Ashton is a high character kid with a great work ethic. He has an extensive history playing basketball. His size is ideal for the safety position and plays with high football IQ. He tackles well in space, has really good ball skills, and regularly attacks the ball at the highest point. Ashton has the ability to play both the boundary and safety positions.”Thanks for having me, over the time period that we were not in school I was working out everyday by myself & with some other teammates, because we never knew when the season would start so if it we had to start practicing with our team we would already be prepared and conditioned for the start of practice.”
Whitner will be a starting safety for the Greenville high school Red Raiders. What does his team look like this year and what does he bring to the table?
“I’m a greedy and passionate player when it comes to football. I want to play for a coaching staff that loves to win and they’ll get a player that wants to win also. I’m a good student athlete so off the field and in the classroom, everything will be handled and taken care of.
On the field, I mainly focus on ‘DEFENSE’. My coaches are having me learning a lot of positions on the defensive side of the ball so I’ll learn how to develop and play more than one position, so if they were to move me around on the defensive side of the ball I would have a little bit of experience at that position. We are looking pretty solid for the season. I mean, I can’t really go in detail about it but we’ve got something special and hope to make Greenville High history with the amazing coaching staff and players we’ve got.”
What is Whitner looking for in a school at the next level?
“A great education for the most part and a team who has the absolute mindset to win every game and gives it all they got.”
For his sophomore season, Whitner racked up 47 tackles, 7 PBU’s (passes broken up), 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.
Most high school footballers build their game towards college and NFL players, modeling their style of play. Does Whitner have that one guy that he patterns his game after?
“Yes I do, Isaiah Simmons. Simmons is a solid hybrid player and I would like to be able to play as many positions as he did in college.”
High school athletes dream of getting offers from colleges to compete in their sport at the next level. It’s a dream come true. Whitner is no different.
“I’m hearing from a lot of schools but most don’t want to communicate more until Sept 1st. I am hearing from Liberty, Jacksonville State, Coastal Carolina, Minnesota, Stanford, UCF, UNC, Appalachian State, NC A&T, USC and a few others.”
To date, he has received offers from Akron, Jacksonville State and Liberty University but he has his eye on a bigger prize.
“I have not been in contact with anyone at Clemson but that’s my dream school so hopefully when I ball out my junior season it’ll open eyes and bring attention to me.”
The state of South Carolina is looking to have a bumper crop of national recruits in the 2022 class. Ashton Whitner is ready to make a name for himself.