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Whaley excited after earning scholarship with Buckeyes

COLUMBUS — Hey mom, dad. Guess what I got you for Christmas? About $17,000.

Tyler Whaley called his mom, Tammy Vogelsong, on Tuesday and gave her quite a gift. Tyler was given a football scholarship with the Ohio State Buckeyes, thus saving his parents tuition for the next two years.

“After practice we had about a 20-minute meeting and I called my mom to tell her. She was yelling and crying,” Whaley said. “I was very, very excited. I’ve worked so hard to get something and the results were more than I ever imagined.”

Coming out of Ironton High School, the All-Ohio lineman bypassed on smaller schools and opted to walk-on at Ohio State. At 6-foot, 20 pounds, Whaley was considered too small by most Division I programs.

But Whaley believed he could play for the Buckeyes.

“I definitely believed I could do it. That was the drive put into me. I was not going to give up. When I set my mind to it, I’m going to do it,” Whaley said.

Just before practice Tuesday, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel told the team he has a special announcement..

Tressel said that he was rewarding four hard-working individuals who earned scholarships.

Besides Whaley, a redshirt junior center and backup to starter Doug Datish, also getting scholarships were senior wide receiver Derek Harden of Logan, senior fullback Ryan Franzinger of Cleveland St. Ignatius and junior running back Trever Robinson of Richmond, Va.

“These are four young men who are an important part of our program and have earned a scholarship,” Tressel said. “They have contributed in the past and will continue to do so. They deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and commitment to the program.”

Whaley said he’s not going to be satisfied with making the team and going on scholarship.

“I’m going to keep putting in the same work. I’m still pushing it. I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me. I’m going to do what it takes to succeed,” Whaley said. “Everybody here works hard, so that’s what makes it much more difficult.”

One of the strongest players on the team, Whaley spent the last three seasons working hard in the weight room and battling the starters as a member of the scout team.

His all-out effort and work ethic caught the eye of the coaching staff and his play of the field put him over the top.

“You can’t overlook hard work,” Whaley said. “You can’t just sit on the couch and say ‘I’m going to walk-on at Ohio State and go try it. You have to work harder than everyone else. I tried to win everything. I might not win, but I gave the effort. I’d stay after and do extra work.”

Whaley said that even if he did not go on scholarship, he was still happy with his decision to attend Ohio State.

“There’s nothing that’s happened that I regret. I’m glad to walk on at a prestigious program like Ohio State. It makes the scholarship mean a lot more than if I had one handed to me out of high school,” Whaley said.

More than anything, Whaley hopes to be an inspiration to others who want to convert their dreams into reality.

“There are a lot of good guys out there who are my size that play offensive line. I took the risk. In my mind, I knew I could. Others might have thought it wasn’t too good of a move, but hopefully it showed other people not to ever give up on what you want to do,” Whaley said.

“If that’s what you want to do, don’t let someone tell you what to do.”