|Rem Whitley (#31) making a tackle. KC Star.
Weight: 210 lbs.
Stat to Note
Whitley was all-everything in 2011, being named First Team All-Sunflower League, First Team All-State and claiming my Sunflower League Defensive Player of the Year award.
Whitley, in a nutshell, is a coach's dream middle linebacker. The numbers he put up as a junior were absolutely staggering for a player of any age. Granted, he was playing behind two of the best defensive lineman in the state in Scott Gourley and Braden Smith, which certainly helped clear a path to the ballcarriers, but he still had to get to the ball and make the tackles.
While he's not a Mike Rivera type who can simply bull-rush the offensive line at will, Whitley does play an extremely physical brand of football (in the mode of all great middle linebackers in the SL). When he gets his arms on a ballcarrier it's a safe bet the player will be brought the the ground. Last season Whitley totaled 162 tackles including three sacks. You also can't discount Whitley's ability to use his quickness to cover a ton of ground at the second level--he intercepted four passes last season.
It's going to be awfully tough for the talented senior linebacker to repeat the numbers he had as a junior, simply because teams will probably make more of an effort to keep him away from making plays. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit if Whitley did in fact improve on his numbers and it's almost expected that he'll be the best defensive player in the Sunflower League in 2012.