Dustin Wharton's combine performance has attracted attention from professional scouts.
March 17, 2014
WASHINGTON - Senior linebacker Dustin Wharton (LaVale, Md./Allegany) has made a habit of standing out during his four-year career on the Hilltop. Whether it has been his record-breaking exploits in the weight room or the display of power and speed on the field, teammates, coaches and opponents have noticed his playmaking capability. So it comes as little surprise that Wharton's performance at the BSN Collegiate Showcase's 2014 National Scouting Combine has begun to earn him attention, as he looks to move to the next level.
At the combine, Wharton, who set national powerlifting records as a teen, showed his strength, completing 30 reps in the 225 pound bench press, more than all but one linebacker and three linemen in a group of over 80 professional football hopefuls.
Wharton showed off his speed with the fastest 40 yard dash time at the combine, finishing in 4.47. He also proved one of the most agile, turning in a 4.06 in the shuttle, the third best time, behind a pair of cornerbacks. He put his explosiveness on display with a 40' vertical leap, tied for third in the entire field, while his 10-5 broad jump was the second best at the combine.
"Dustin has been the hardest working athlete I have ever had the pleasure of coaching," Sports Performance Coach Carl Johnson said. "His attitude and work ethic has been infectious and inspired everyone else to become stronger and more consistent in their training. I wasn't surprised on his combine stats, because those are the numbers he's been putting up for the last three years. He has demonstrated that strength is the key ingredient to being a more explosive faster and powerful athlete."
Wharton has also provided the on-field credentials during his career on the Hilltop. The 2013 Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year is also a two-time Patriot League First Team selection, while moving into third place in career tackles (280) during his senior season. His versatility on the field has allowed the Hoyas' coaches to move the 6-0, 216 pound athlete between outside linebacker, safety and defensive end.
"I've never coached a more versatile, more explosive athlete than Dustin Wharton," said Georgetown Head Football Coach Rob Sgarlata, who served as the Hoyas' defensive coordinator through Wharton's career. "Goal line he played safety, first and second down he'd play linebacker and third down he would rush the passer. He has an unparalleled work ethic and just as a person, the work he's done in this community has been tremendous."
But his impressive combine performance may have created enough of a stir to help Wharton get to the next level, wherever teams eventually want to play move him on the field.
"To be honest I am not too sure what position teams want me to play at the next level," Wharton said. "I've heard safety, nickel, linebacker, etc., so I just feel I have to be prepared for anything; which hasn't been too different with all the positions I played here at Georgetown. But, I have heard all great things and some definite interest that hopefully develops more as I continue this process. I am just trying to take it one step at a time, be teachable and coachable, while taking care of the stuff that I can take control" His impressive combine performance comes as a result of years of hard work. Growing up in a competitive family and having a passion for the weight room instilled in him from his father, Tim and older brother Tyler, a former fullback at Towson, Wharton's strength and work ethic are well-documented. Though it has been put on display more than ever, as he has had to ramp up his training regimen while taking 18 credits in the classroom during his final semester. Though he has not let fatigue creep in, using the competitive aspects of the combine to push him to higher heights.
"My training has been harder and more efficient than ever, and I have been giving it everything I have to show the numbers that I am capable of producing," Wharton said. "I think when you're out there and you got all of these competitors out there, it does give a little extra adrenaline to you. And me, being the competitor I am, I want to show that I am the best." After his impressive showing, Wharton has attracted more attention, but feels like his work is far from done. He will participate in a Pro-Day at Towson on April 7 for another opportunity to show professional scouts what he is capable of doing. Until then, Wharton will continue to train and prepare for an opportunity to play at the next level.
"I think working out for the Georgetown season, I kind of knew what to expect, how to train, and things like that," Wharton said. "But for the professional level, I feel I have to be ready for anything. I am training in different ways than I ever have before--focusing in on speed, explosiveness, and flexibility. Strength Coach Carl Johnson and my speed coach Justin Kavanaugh have been crucial parts to my training and I feel especially confident with their expertise. It's also great working out with other guys that are in the same situation as I am, ultimately, trying to make a name for themselves."
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