Mike Macdonald and the Michigan Wolverines have been searching high and low in the transfer portal for months trying to bring in top talent to the program to fill a couple of holes they have heading into the 2021 season. Now, the search is finally over, as former Oregon State defensive tackle Jordan Whittley has announced his transfer to the University of Michigan.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 358 pounds, the Richmond, California native fits the bill for what Macdonald is looking for out of the defensive tackle position in his scheme. But there is a bit of concern for this addition to the Michigan roster. Whittley sat out the entire 2020 season after physicians discovered a tumor on his heart. He also did not participate in the spring game at Oregon State due to COVID-related concerns.
Believe it or not, Whittley was a running back coming out of high school. He signed with San Jose State, but due to academic issues, he never actually played there. He then went the JUCO route and signed with Laney College in Oakland, California, where he suffered a season-ending injury early in his career. It was during the recovery process where his eating habits went downhill and he put on a lot of weight. That’s when he switched from running back to defensive tackle permanently.
After two seasons playing along the defensive line at Laney College, he transferred to Oregon State. Whittley racked up 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one pass deflected in 2019, and then sat out in 2020.
Whittley only had one other reported offer — the University of Alabama Birmingham. He reportedly also had discussions with Tennessee and Ole Miss.
This is one of those recruitments where you want to trust the coaching staff as much as possible, but you can’t help but see all the red flags. But if all those issues are in the past, Whittley, at the very least, adds depth to the defensive tackle position and will compete with the likes of Donovan Jeter, Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith this fall. It is a position the Wolverines needed to address this offseason, and they have now done just that.
This will be Whittley’s seventh and final year in college football, so hopefully he can make this one count in Ann Arbor.