George Whitfield may not be a household name to casual football fans but there’s no mistaking his track record as one of the top quarterback trainers in the nation.
The list of his pupils is extensive and includes Andrew Luck, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, and this year’s No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston.
Whitfield brought his traveling quarterback camp to Husky Stadium last weekend, sharing his knowledge of the position with roughly 30 players that all have the same aspirations as those NFL stars.
Whitfield lives in San Diego, Calif., but is taking time this summer to tour the country and share his knowledge of the quarterback position. Other stops this summer have included Illinois, Southern California, Florida, and Ohio.
“We were fortunate that Coach [Chris] Petersen and his staff opened up the door for us,” Whitfield said. “We just put the word out and got the guys.”
Among those in attendance for Whitfield’s stop in Seattle were Alabama freshman Blake Barnett (No. 1 pro-style quarterback from the class of 2015), Montana State starting quarterback Dakota Prukop, and numerous high-profile prep athletes from all across the country.
Barnett is in contention to win the starting quarterback position at Alabama and Prukop is on the preseason watch list for FCS Performer of The Year.
The drills and technique Whitfield taught his campers at UW last weekend were no different from the ones he put those NFL signal-callers through before the draft combine and pro day workouts.
Prior to this camp series, Whitfield said most of those things were kept in-house.
“It’s exactly the same and that’s what they’re getting a feel for,” he said. “Except those [NFL] guys get two and a half [or] three months. These guys get two eight-hour days of it.”
The range of athletes at Husky Stadium was from sixth grade to college. A couple receivers also attended the camp and Whitfield has plans to expand by adding a top-tier receivers coach in the future. But for now, it’s mainly focused on quarterbacks.
“For us, we eat, sleep, dream, quarterback-play all day,” he said. “So we just stayed in our lane and invited receivers that wanted to come out.”
There was plenty of local talent at Whitfield’s camp as well including King’s quarterback Koa Wilkins, Monroe’s Zach Zimmerman and his older brother Andrew (now at Eastern Washington), and Jacob Sirmon of Bothell.
Wilkins said Whitfield’s camp differs from other camps he’s been at this summer in that he gets to focus on his individual play heading into the season.
“It’s been an experience,” he said. “Working out with Dakota [Prukop] and Blake [Barnett] from Alabama, and to be working with them and getting to know how they play, it’s been awesome.”
As for Zach Zimmerman, he enters his junior season as Monroe’s starting quarterback. He filled in as the starter in the playoffs last season when Andrew tore his MCL.
Getting meaningful snaps as a sophomore surely groomed him to be the permanent starter, but working out at Whitfield’s camp has helped, too.
“I’m working with some of the best guys in the country and it’s teaching me a lot of things I can take back and use in my high school career,” Zach Zimmerman said.
Follow High School Sports Coordinator Pete Treperinas @ptreperinas or contact him by phone at (206) 448-6348