I found this video on Youtube. While it's not definitive, it's fun to watch those two plays at the same time (you know which ones I'm talking about).
Denard vs. Wheatley in the 88-yard dash
Got screwed once he got to the NFL, because that combination of size and speed was matched by very, very few. Watching his tribute on youtube is one of the greatest things ever
Staying for his Senior year and getting hurt didnt help him much either. Had he gone in 93 he was projected to go top 5 (back then the NFL considered RBs more of a must-have). Stayed one more year, got dinged up and fell back to the middle of the draft.
Whenever anybody btiches about somebody coming out early I always point to Wheatley as Exhibit A in the "it doesnt always work out the way you expected" category.
Getting drafted by a GM for a coach that didn't want him.
Barkley had a similar problem. Dropping from projected top 10 to falling into the mid-rounds after going back to USC for his senior season. It's always a gamble either way; plenty of guys left early and saw their draft position fall unexpectedly (e.g., Donovan Warren, granted from like a 3rd round grade, but still) or struggled in the pros (e.g., Sanchez, not to pick on USC QBs too much).
And M-Wolverine makes a spot-on point. The relationship between the coaching staff and Wheatley didn't seem to be the best. His time in Oakland seemed much more favorable.
Because he could catch out of the backfield, but could also run between the tackles and block some people. By that time, Wheatley had enough injuries through his career that he didn't have nearly the speed he did before, but he contributed each season he was in Oakland.
Let's be honest here, is there anyone that Gruden doesn't love?
That guy is the closest thing we have to a human care bear.
He was pretty hard on Terrelle Pryor, if my memory serves.
That's like being hard on Hitler.
(Yes, I just compared Pryor to Hitler. Deal with that, yo!)
Obligatory "Everybody murders" incantation.
He doesn't like refs.
Stop trying to ruin my perfect love for Jon Gruden! He loves me for me, even when he doesn't love the things that I do!
How is being a first-rounder and 17th pick overall considered "middle of the draft," exactly?
is probably my favorite Michigan Running Back to date. Once he learned how to hit people, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (1992)
Big Ten rushing champion (1992)
Big Ten scoring champion (1992 & 1993)
Rose Bowl Player of the Game (1993)
All-Big Ten football (1992–94)
Big Ten team champions (1991, 1992)
MHSAA state champion (1990)
Michigan High School Player of the Year (1990)
Track & Field Highlights:
Big Ten 110 metre hurdles champion (1994)
All-Big Ten track & field (1994)
Big Ten team indoor champions (1994)
8-time MHSAA state champion (1990–91)
All-American (college outdoor) (1995)
All-American (high school)
Michigan High School Runner of the Year (1991)
Michigan single-season yards per carry (min 75 carries, 1992–)
Michigan single-game yards per carry (min 15 carries, 1992–)
There is simply no other place for young Mr. Wheatley to be.
Both are impressive but if they raced Denard wins.
Wheatley was in the Olympic tryouts for the 110m hurdles. I know Denard is fresh in everybody's minds, but Wheatley was incredible in the early 90's. We never had a back with that size and speed before.
than Wheatley did at Michigan. I think it was 10.44 as a HS senior vs 10.46. Silly argument, they were both fast. I'd rather get in Denard's way, though. Wheatley would kill a mere mortal.
I remember watching him with the Raiders and thinking, "Where'd his speed go?"
I would love for my son to play football, but I'm hoping he doesn't play running back.
enough to take him with him to the NFL. I may not follow the Bills, but I'm going to keep an eye on their RB stats. A good career after his running days, and obviously a devoted father.
I could not believe how humongous a man he is. I don't think we've ever that combo of size, strength, and speed before or since.
He was an amazing talent from the first time he stepped on the field. As I recall at the start of his frosh year, he was buried on the depth chart but generally would get a few carries. One of the opposing coaches said, "You really don't want to get to their 4th string running back". Everytime he got the ball, it was electric. Not completely dissimilar to Dilithium, but in a much larger package.
Great shot from that year for the start of the Ohio State game. How'd you like to have these two on kickoff returns?
Man . . . the early '90s Michigan teams were stacked. (Fortunately, we seem to be moving in that direction again the way we're recruiting.)
My first game was 91 vsNorthwestern. We absolutely destroyed them. I was excited to see Grbac and Desmond. ButI remember Wheatley touching the ball in mop up time and I thought he'd be special.