Charlie Whitehurst: The Clemson Magician Takes over in Seattle

Tommy BertolinoContributor IMarch 20, 2010

OK. So Magician maybe a bit over the top. Agreed. However, with the lack of NFL experience—and I mean lack—the only football production we can rest any hope on is Charlie at Clemson. So, let's take a look at a small but paramount sample size: his 2005 senior season.

Charlie Whitehurst's 2005 statistics

- 229 comp in 340 att's for 2,483 yds. 

- 67.4 completion percentage. 

- 11 td's and 10 int's in 11 games played.

Whitehurt''s two big ACC games against ranked Miami and ranked Florida State

Miami: 36-30, triple-OT loss. Went 31-for-55 for 288 yds, 2 td's and 1 int. + 65-yd run.

Impressive in defeat was the fact that Charlie was playing on a Clemson team known for defense. Plus, C.W. was working with a virtually non-existent running game and a below-average offensive line. And who were his skill receivers or tight end? A bunch of who dats and who deys.

Clemson was down 20-10 late in the fourth quarter. But C.W. led Clemson on a TD scoring drive to cut the 'Canes lead to three with 2:58 left, and another late drive that resulted in a game-tying field goal with 19 seconds remaining to force overtime.

C.W. then completed a TD pass on 4th-and-2 to send it into double-OT, before Clemson eventually lost, 36-30, in triple-OT. Still, Whitehurst's performance was impressive, considering the lack of talent he had to work with as well as the Miami defensive talent he was playing against. Let's take a look.

Hurricane defensive talent that day

Baraka Atkins—DE drafted by Hawks          Rocky McIntosh—LB drafted by Skins  Jon  Beason—LB drafted by Panthers         Tavares Gooden—LB drafted by Ravens Kelly Jennings—DB drafted by Hawks     Brandon MerriweatherDB drafted by Pats Marcus Maxey —DB drafted by Chiefs       Devon HesterDB/WR drafted by Bears Orien Harris - DT drafted by Steelers

Miami had three 1st -round draft picks on defense that day, a couple of 2nd-rounders, a 3rd, two 4ths, and a 5th-round pick. Who was supporting Charlie on "O" that day?

Well...nobody was drafted with CW in 2006. He was working with a wide receiver drafted in the 7th round and a center in the 5th round of 2007, a tackle in the 6th round of 2008, and a running back in the 6th round of 2009. Charlie went into a gun fight carrying a Swiss army pocket knife and almost snatched victory from defeat. Thus, his performance against Miami was magical, if you ask me. One final game before I grab some breakfast...

Florida State:  35-14 victory. C.W. went 21 of 32 for 269 yds, 3 td's and 1 int.

While FSU's secondary stalwart Antonio Cromartie was out, State still had guys like Broderick Bunkley, Ernie Sims and Kam Wimbley:  all 1st-round 2006 selections, to harass Charlie. Plus, safety Pat Watkins went in the 5th round and Lawrence Timmons was drafted by Pitt in round 1 in 2007. Looks to me like another gun fight where CW wasn't packin', but still came out on top with a fine performance.

I'm not here to say that Charlie is a diamond in the rough, because my "eye test" is very limited. Plus, my mantra is to use statistics to corroborate what my eyes are telling me, and never use stats as a stand-alone base of my opinions.

With that being said, I do believe that the swap and 2011—3rd could prove to be an excellent investment as Seattle rebuilds its squad, and without getting blessed with a QB, the chances of returning to a SB are remote. I still believe the Hawks will select a signal-caller in the 2010 draft, depending on who is available at pick Nos. 6, 60, or 101. Trading for C.W. was basically an insurance policy.

Besides, John Schneider liked Whitehurst at Clemson and also a workout that C.W. had in rainy conditions back before the 2006 draft. Once John was hired by the Hawks, he pursued, and wound up getting, his guy.

I hope the Hawks strike lightning in the bottle with this trade, and all nay sayers will be on the Charlie 'Serpico' Bandwagon soon enough. Here's a short you tube video highlighting C.W.'s Clemson career. Let's give a warm Hawk welcome to our future magic man, Charlie Whitehurst. 

charlie 'Serpico' whitehurst at Clemson

Note: when you click on the above viewing, you'll see C.W. out-run Beason and throw on the run in front of Kelly Jennings, Brandon Merriweather, and Devon Hester. Not bad, Charlie.


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