John Whitelaw, Hinsdale Central's sophomore quarterback, didn't produced a highlight film in Saturday's 21-6 homecoming victory over Downers Grove North. But he showed the kind of athleticism, skills and poise that figure to make him one of the most recruited players in the state in two years.
The 6-0, 165-pounder, optioning out of coach Mike DiMatteo's spread offense, rushed five times for 41 yards and completed 7-of-12 passes for 96 yards and one touchdown, a 22-yarder to Troy Laing.
He also completed a 23-yard pass to Mac Lagor and a 28-yarder to Davis Kalsbeek, then ran 14 yards to Downers North's 5 to set up another touchdown against a defense that had allowed only 56 points in five previous games.
Whitelaw, a three-sport athlete, demonstrated unusual poise and sense of command for a youngster who was quarterbacking the freshman squad a year ago. In a 6-1 varsity season, he has rushed 62 times for 632 yards (10.2 yards per carry) and scored five touchdowns. And he has completed 54-of-103 passes (52 percent) for 809 yards (15 yards per completion) and eight touchdowns.
Two weeks ago, Whitelaw made a highlight reel. In a 42-22 romp over Oak Park, he ran 19 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns and completed 10-of-17 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
"He is the most athletic sophomore I've seen," Downers North coach John Wander said.
"I'd rather throw a touchdown pass than run for one," said the 16-year-old Whitelaw, who earned the starting job when returning senior Zach Leathers was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
"Whitelaw is a good athlete," DiMatteo said. "He is smart, very coachable, wants to learn and be good. As he gets more and more comfortable with what we're doing, he's going to get better and better. I think the sky's the limit for him right now."
Some observers argue Whitelaw might be a better college prospect as a point guard in basketball. But he would prefer to wait for two years to see how he stands in each sport. The hunch is he'd rather prove to one and all that he is good enough to be a big-time quarterback.