George Whitfield Jr. to be Inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions

This coming July, in conjunction with the Booster Club’s Reverse Raffle event, George Whitfield Jr. will be inducted into the Massillon Wall of Champions.  Whitfield will join 42 other former Tiger athletes in that exclusive group and will be honored along with five others who will find their way into the Massillon Tiger Football Hall of Fame.

The Wall of Champions recognizes those Massillon graduates who have participated in any Massillon High School sport and then beyond at the college and/or professional level as either a player or a coach or in another capacity, such as a sports or civic-related endeavor.  Inductees are selected by a committee comprised of designated Booster Club members.  Each inductee is honored with a formal public ceremony and receives a plaque that displays his or her achievements.  A duplicate plaque is mounted in the WHS Sports Hall.  Inductees are welcomed with a formal ceremony and then later presented on the field during the year’s first home football game.

The name “Whitfield” is synonymous with football in Massillon in that three uncles of George Jr., Charlie (1959-61), Tom (1962-64) and Dave (1963-65), each played football for the Tigers, under coaches Leo Strang and and Earl Bruce.  Dave moved on after Massillon to Ohio State University under Coach Woody Hayes and was a starter on the 1968 Buckeye team that captured the national title.  Then there was George Sr. (1966-68), the father of George Jr., who excelled under Coach Bob Seaman and later played football at Wichita State University.  In fact, George Jr. is the sixth of seven Whitfields to play for the Tigers, which also included Dick (1954-56) and Marcus (2011-13).

George Jr. played for Massillon in 1993-95 and became the starting quarterback during his senior year, suiting up at 6’-2”, 209 lbs.  Playing under Head Coach Jack Rose, the team finished the season with a record of 7-3, with close losses to Mansfield, Miami Southridge, FL, and Canton McKinley.  It was against McKinley that Whitfield had his best game of the year, when he completed 18 of 30 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns.  Down 17-7 at the half, he and his teammates nearly pulled off the upset, eventually losing 24-21.  The game ended when the Tigers unfortunately fumbled at the Bulldog five yard line with less than a minute remaining.  For the season, he completed 71 of 140 passes for 929 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Subsequently, he was named the team’s Most Valuable Player and Honorable Mention All-Ohio.

Following high school, Whitfield was recruited by Coach Jim Tressel to play football at Youngstown State University.  After one year during which he was red-shirted, George transferred to Tiffin University and enjoyed a successful 4-year career.  He departed in 2000 as the 3rd all-time leading passer in yards and touchdowns, with 368 completions for 4,391 yards and 30 touchdowns.  He was also named to the All-Mideast League team.

From there, Whitfield began a transition into the coaching arena, serving as a graduate assistant for the University of Iowa in 2001-02.  But playing on the field was never off the table.  In 2003-07 he was a quarterback in the Arena Football League and then attended training camps held by the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL.  His final stop was San Diego, where he served as a coaching intern.

All of the experience Whitfield gained throughout his years with football helped him to establish a solid base of quarterback fundamentals, which led to the creation in 2004 of Whitfield Athletix, a specialized quarterback training academy located in San Diego, California.  It began modestly when he was asked by the owner of a San Diego brewing company to tutor her 5th grade son.  Suddenly, he found his calling.  Soon he was instructing  high school quarterbacks.  But his career really took off in 2010 when Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hired him to be his personal coach.

George Whitfield Jr. with Johnny Manziel (Whitfield Athletix Photo)

Today, Whitfield is sought after by quarterbacks at every level.  And he can look back at several high-level QBs that were the beneficiaries of his knowledge, including Can Newton, Andrew Luck, Donovan McNabb, Josh Allen, Johnny Manziel, Vince Young, Brady Quinn and Jameis Winston.  He also worked with Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor and Braxton Miller.  Three of his students players were NFL No. 1 draft picks.  Even former Massillon quarterback Kyle Kempt spent some time with him while in high school.

One of the draws of his coaching expertise is his unique approach to instruction.  A broom may be used to simulate contact, or the quarterback may be working out in the sand or water at the beach, or he might be dodging sandbags, or he may even be throwing blindfolded while reacting to the sound of a hand clap.  But ultimately, all of the students believe that Whitfield has made them better field generals.

As an aside to this, Whitfield has been a member of the Elite 11 coaching staff and also worked as an ESPN college gameday analyst, having won four Emmy Awards in that position.

In 2016 Whitfield was inducted into the Tiffin University Hall of Fame and now he will be a member of the Massillon Wall of Champions.  The induction ceremony will be held on July 18 at the Eagles 190 in conjunction with the Reverse Raffle event.

Congratulations to George Whitfield Jr.