Stanford wide receiver Griff Whalen has been named one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, an award given to the nation’s best player who began his career as a walk-on.
The senior from Sylvania, Ohio more than doubled his career receptions this season, leading the Cardinal with 49 after entering his final campaign with just 24. His 664 yards are also a team-best despite recording no more than 31 yards in the team’s first four games.
Whalen came to Stanford as a defensive back but was quickly converted to wide receiver. He became an integral part of the receiving rotation, where he provided relief in the slot. At just 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Whalen has relied on excellent route-running to gain separation from defenders and has flourished in underneath routes.
This season, he has emerged as Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver. Whalen has notched two 100-yard games and was one of the squad’s few bright spots in the Nov. 12 loss to Oregon, a contest in which he racked up 107 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions.
Whalen joins Houston wide receiver Patrick Edwards and Southern Mississippi quarterback Austin Davis in the final selection for the Burlsworth Trophy. The online fan-voting component of the award, which accounts for five percent, concludes on Dec. 7.