Jan. 11, 2007
ATLANTA–Georgia Tech linebacker Philip Wheeler confirmed Thursday that he will remain in school for his senior season rather than entering the NFL draft.
“I have decided to finish school and play football another season for Georgia Tech,” said the rising senior from Columbus, Ga.
“I was always leaning toward staying in school anyway, but after a third-round projection by the NFL advisory committee, I made my decision. If I stay in school another year, I can graduate and have another season to maybe boost myself into a top draft pick.
“I got a little taste of what people think of me, but this is the best decision.”
The 6-2, 225-pounder enters next season as one of the top linebackers in the nation after earning second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors this fall as well as second-team all-America accolades from Rivals. In his second season as a starter at linebacker but his first playing in the middle, Wheeler led Tech with nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, ranking fourth in the ACC in both categories. He was the Jackets’ second-leading tackler with 89.
Wheeler had outstanding games against Notre Dame (13 tackles, two tackles for loss), Virginia Tech (eight tackles, two sacks, forced fumble that Tech recovered for touchdown) and Miami (three sacks). He was named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Virginia Tech, and ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after both the Virginia Tech and Miami wins.
A Management major, Wheeler is on track to graduate next fall.