Alum teaches technique, confidence

George Whitfield Jr. has had many “fork-in-the-road moments,” and has followed his heart to get to where he is now.

Whitfield served as Tiffin University’s second Good Morning World Lecture speaker Thursday morning at Camden Falls Reception Hall, 2460 S. SR 231.

Whitfield is a 2001 Tiffin University graduate. He presented “Quarterback Engineering.” Whitfield, a former college and arena league quarterback, now lives in San Diego, where he runs his quarterback training academy firm, Whitfield Athletix.

He works mostly with middle school and high school students, training them about the quarterback position and helping them to develop skills from the very basic levels to complex levels using training methods used by NFL quarterbacks, according to a release provided by the university.

Whitfield said he was fascinated with football at a young age. He was introduced to the game by his father, George Whitfield Sr., who played football for Wichita State in the early 1970s.

After graduating from TU, Whitfield worked as a graduate assistant with the university of Iowa Hawkeyes. From there, he moved to San Diego for more training. While in San Diego, he wanted to study law. A marketing job changed all that. Upon seeing his resume, a fourth-grader wanted Whitfield to coach him to become a good quarterback. Whitfield decided to take the opportunity and began to get calls from parents and teams to coach players, he said.

“There is nothing like working with someone that wants to do something so badly,” Whitfield said. “It’s great to see players walk off better than they walked on.”

When he is working with players, he said he is not just training the mechanics of the game, but training confidence.

“I want to embolden them with ‘I can,'” he said.

Whitfield uses an array of techniques to train athletes, including going to the beach to train in the sand and water.

“Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to be able to come back in and be better,” Whitfield said.

He spoke on three ideas that he got his inspiration from:

Learn from observing someone else.

Recognize how something impacts you directly.

“Hot-wire.” That is to take responsibility for their career and decide where they want to go, he said.

One of Whitfield’s students was Johnny Manziel, 2012 winner of the Heisman Trophy.

Manziel had been third-string for Texas A&M University. While working with Whitfield, he studied the other players and would double back to practice on his own.

“He knew where he was going, and he said he just needed to give me the tools to get there,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield said when he reached a “fork-in-the-road” moments, he always talked to his mother or father. He said his father would always ask him, “Are you going to go all in?”

Whitfield said his father would tell him if you are going to go in a direction, you have to go all in. You can’t just take a U-turn out of it.

“If you’re going to do it, you have to go all in. Follow your heart,” Whitfield said.

The next speaker in the lecture series is to be 13 ABC’s Jay Berschback Feb. 20 and representatives from the Ohio Innocence Project.