Oct. 14, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - Griff Whalen, a senior from Sylvania, Ohio, is in his first season as a starting wide receiver and has 13 catches for 193 yards after five games. Last week against Colorado, he had career-highs in catches (four) and yards (92), and scored on a 30-yard touchdown. A former walk-on who arrived as a safety, Whalen transitioned to receiver. Whalen carried a 3.28 GPA in product design heading into his senior season.
THE STUDENT on ...
Choosing to major in product design:
"I've always been creative and interested in making things. I was a human biology major and it wasn't for me. Someone told me about product design and it sounded like something I would enjoy. There are a lot of opportunities in the Bay Area and on the West Coast and I love it out here. It's a pretty broad field and there's a lot you can do with it."
Balancing football and school:
"Product design is one of the most time-consuming majors, a lot of time in the shop building stuff. It can be challenging and there are definitely a few long nights. My coaches and teachers are pretty understanding and there's a pretty even balance there."
His favorite class at Stanford:
"There have been a lot. My favorite was manufacturing and design where we developed prototypes and learned how to use all the machines and work with a variety of different materials. Professor David Beach was great and it was eye-opening to see how things are made and the process that it takes to manufacture something."
THE ATHLETE on ...
Transitioning into a starting wide receiver role:
"It's exciting but not a whole lot has changed. I was ready to go last season. I'm just ready to do whatever it takes to help the team and I'm excited to be in there more. I don't focus on stats or individual goals, but I do want to be the best that I can blocking downfield and catching the ball."
His strengths as a receiver:
"I watch a lot of Wes Welker, he's awesome and we run similar plays for me. As a team we watch a lot of NFL tape and pick things up from the best football players in the world. One of my strengths is being able to change direction quickly. Coach Pep (Hamilton) has an unbelievable mind for the offense and I have no idea where I'll be lining up. I love being in the slot, but I know the coaches will put me in the best position to succeed."
How playing quarterback and defensive back in high school prepare him to play receiver:
"It definitely helps. I was recruited as a safety and switched to offense pretty early. Playing quarterback helped. I didn't play much receiver at all in high school. Understanding things like scrambling and reading coverages helps me know where to be if a play breaks down or an adjustment needs to be made."
-- Sam Cohn