February 16, 2012
Walnut Ridge's Wheelwright garnering big-time interest at wide receiver
About a decade ago, there was a special wide receiver talent that came through the central Ohio named Ernie Wheelwright.
He was athletic, he had talent and he ended up becoming a big star for Minnesota when the Gophers were still at least somewhat relevant in the Big Ten. It was a time when former OSU assistant Glen Mason went hard for central Ohio recruits, and Wheelwright ended up being one of his big successes. The former Walnut Ridge standout eventually finished in the top 10 in Minnesota's career receiving yards list.
There's no way to know for sure at this time if Wheelwright's younger brother, junior Rob Wheelwright, will have the same kind of college success, but it seems likely that he's going to get his chance.
Also a Walnut Ridge standout, Wheelwright was among the various talents to attend Ohio State's junior day Feb. 12, and he reportedly sat down one-on-one with Urban Meyer.
Wheelwright doesn't currently have an Ohio State offer, but he has been offered by Minnesota as well as Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Wisconsin.
At 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and reportedly a good student, Wheelwright had 44 receptions and scored 12 touchdowns last fall for the Scots.
Although the Scots went just 5-5 last fall and have remained a step behind City League-South Division-rival Marion-Franklin on the state-level the last several years, coach Byron Mattox is a respected coach throughout the area as well as by recruiters. Austin Traylor, a 2011 Walnut Ridge graduate who played tight end and defensive end, was one of the area's biggest targets a year ago before eventually signing with Wisconsin.
It'll be interesting to see if Wisconsin stays in the race for Wheelwright. Joe Rudolph was the tight ends coach for the Badgers and was among those who reportedly recruited Wheelwright while he was still at Wisconsin, but Rudolph took over in the offseason as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for Pittsburgh.
Anyone curious to check out the athleticism of Wheelwright should be able to see him in the Fairgrounds Coliseum in the coming weeks: He's a member of the Scots' boys basketball team that earned the second seed for the Division I district tournament.