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Whitehead has a nose for the end zone

His ability to gain yards after the catch helped Paul W. Bryant’s Tony Whitehead score 18 touchdowns last season. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter)

COTTONDALE | Paul W. Bryant’s Tony Whitehead spent last season torching defenses, amassing 51 catches for 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns en route to being ranked 35th among The Tuscaloosa News’ Alabama’s Most Wanted.

"It feels good to be ranked (No. 35) in the state," Whitehead said. "All I have to do now is get strong and work hard and try to get faster.

The 6-foot-2 rising senior said his greatest strengths are his speed off the ball and ability to pile up yards after the catch. His biggest strength, however, isn’t tangible. It is his attitude and will that have helped Whitehead become the player he is today.

"Every time I have the ball," Whitehead said. "I have to score."

He is not without his flaws. He said he most needs to improve his route-running. He is also working on his speed, dropping his time in the 40-yard dash from 4.6 seconds to 4.5. Whitehead said he’s starting to see the dividends of his work already.

"I think I have improved well," Whitehead said. "I went down to a camp down in Mobile, and I won best wide receiver award."

Whitehead is rated as a three-star recruit by and has caught the eyes of several schools in the South, receiving offers from Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and UAB. He said Mississippi State has been recruiting him the hardest and right now is the favorite in his recruitment.

"I like their offense, the spread offense," Whitehead said. "It’s real close to home, and I think I can fit in really good down there."

Whitehead will also be busy this summer with his pursuits outside football. He plays small forward for an AAU basketball team and is teammates with another local football star, Bo Scarborough. He said playing basketball allows him to travel, something he really enjoys.

Whitehead is also looking forward to the upcoming football season, when he will be reunited with quarterback and fellow senior Joe Pradat and receiver Chris Odum. He said he has great chemistry with Pradat and speaks to him daily.

He said they work constantly on their timing, making sure they are on the same page. Whitehead called Odum a rising star, praising his speed and quick cuts in and out of routes.

"We’re going to be awesome, man," Whitehead said. "Two great wide receivers and a quarterback that throws the ball well, that’s going to be hard to stop."