No. 147: D.L. Wilhite, No. 95, DE, Minnesota
2011 Stats: 16 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Wilhite has a couple of non-performance things going for him that help get him on the Top 150 despite relatively modest stats. For one, his name is "D.L." and he plays on the DL. That puts him at second on the Appropriate Football Name Rankings behind Auburn D-liner Dee Liner, who will never be topped.
More seriously, Wilhite is a titan in academics and extracurricular enrichment, is in the top five on his team for community service hours, spent last spring break on a volunteering trip and participated in the McNair Scholars Program.
He's a double-major with a 3.1 GPA who plans to travel to Egypt in 2013 and get his PhD in history before becoming a college professor. Oh, and he's going to be a three-year starter at defensive end. What did you do with your college career?
Again, Wilhite is preparing for his third year starting at defensive end for Minnesota, but the Gopher rushing defense has been lackluster at best. Defensive performance is largely a team effort, so it's not like the 190 yards of rushing per game the Gophers have given up over the last two years is all on Wilhite or anything.
But he's got to increase his productivity in his senior year if the Gophers want to make strides on the defensive front in 2012. Otherwise, it'll be another long year.
Wilhite will play a little football for the Gophers. He'll also continue to excel in the classroom and lead his team academically by example. After he graduates, he'll probably make a significant, positive difference in the world. More players like him, please.