Jordan Whitehead has earned some praise recently, as I wrote about over the weekend. The top recruit is still battling for playing time, though.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi spoke recently at training camp and said it's the mental part that Whitehead will need to sort out. "The next step for him is getting it down mentally," Narduzzi said. "Physically, he has the skill set. The college game is different, though, because of the workload over the course of time."
That doesn't mean he's not ready to play. In fact, Narduzzi said that he could not only play in the team's opener against Youngstown State, but pick up quality reps. "Mentally, as long as he can push through that barrier that he'll hit probably Wednesday or Thursday—because we're going to keep adding defense in—if he can push through that, he'll have a chance to give us quality reps even maybe that first week."
Even players that Whitehead is in direct competition with are being asked about the freshman. Safety Jevonte Pitts summed him up pretty succinctly. "Fast, fast and athletic."
There's obviously going to be a bit of a learning curve with Whitehead. Even the most talented recruits like Dorian Johnson have stumbled a little out of the block when thrown out onto the field for the first time. But if nothing else, Whitehead's athleticism is as good as advertised and the mental part will come. He's barely a week into his college career, after all, and hasn't even gotten to his first game.
Things seem right on track for him to get early playing time.