The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton in the third-round of the 2013 NFL draft on Saturday and on Monday his college position coach Brent Brennan was on ESPN 970 to talk about his former player with my podcast co-host David Todd.
Brennan was first asked to describe the kind of player that the Steelers drafted.
"He\'s an outstanding human being," said Brennan. "Just on a personal level, he\'s got a smile that will light up the room. He has an unreal ability to connect with people and I don\'t ever remember being around a player that was more liked in the team environment or in the community. He\'s just brilliant that way, but then when you got on the field he will cut your heart out to make a play, so he\'s kind of got a good mix of both those things."
Brennan was next asked to talk about Wheaton\'s speed and if his style of play will translate to the next level.
"I think that the kid plays really fast," said Brennan. "If it\'s any indication of his speed, he ran a 10.5 electronic 100 meters in a track meet for us a year ago where he beat De\'Anthony Thomas in the 100 meters and everybody knows how fast De\'Anthony is. But Markus plays fast and I think that if you watch any of his highlights, or you watch him on tape, you will see that he attacks people with speed. He does a great job at accelerating and run after the catch. He\'s really just a fun player to work with and that speed thing, he\'s strong and he can change direction, but that speed thing is what makes him real dangerous."
During his college career, Wheaton saw a steady increase in his production and his former coach was asked to talk about what led to him becoming a better football player.
"He just became such a hard worker," said Brennan. "Last summer he put himself through his own double days, but he was just so focused in terms of what he wanted to do for our football team, not only as a leader, but also as a player, so he really invested that time and obviously the numbers and his production are a good indication of how hard he works."
In addition to playing at wide receiver, Wheaton also carried the football 83 times for 631 yards and 5 touchdowns during his four years at Oregon State and Brennan was asked to talk about how and why they chose to also use him so much in that capacity.
"He\'s so dynamic with the ball in his hands so your always trying to find a way to get him the football," said Brennan. "So we handed him the ball a lot on fly sweeps and I think he scored another two or three touchdowns on either fly sweeps or reverse type plays this season. He\'s just special with the ball in his hands in space, and once he does get some open air, then you\'ll really see him drop into fifth gear and finish those plays for big touchdowns. It\'s fun to watch."
It\'s not uncommon for coaches to speak very highly about their former players, but Brennan really sounds genuine with his answers. Wheaton sounds like a kid that is very grounded and will fit well in the locker room. Oh, he also sounds like a great football player in addition and one that should see the field in some capacity during his rookie season.
If you want to listed to the complete interview with Brennan, and I highly suggest that you do, I have added the audio below.