“The Footwork King” Rischad Whitfield spoke with Campus Insiders regarding his role as a personal trainer and mentor for many of the nation’s top college football recruits.
People acquire nicknames in unique ways.
Rischad Whitfield didn’t ask to be labeled “The Footwork King.” But he’s certainly taken well to the title given to him by an old football coach, and he’s now using it to his advantage.
The former Houston walk-on defensive back battled through injuries during his time with the Cougars. After a brief trial as a personal trainer, Whitfield returned to his true love: football. He began training kids and teaching them how to properly play the game.
All it took then was for Whitfield to post a video on Instagram of the work he was doing with the young football players, and a professional took notice. Former Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey saw the clip, reached out to Whitfield, and they began training together. Before he knew it, the Footwork King had a client list that included Le’Veon Bell, Deandre Hopkins, Emmanuel Sanders and many more.
While he still puts in time with the NFL’s best, Whitfield may serve a bigger purpose by the work he puts in with high school recruits.
He’s worked with many of country’s blue-chip prospects, including LSU signee K’Lavon Chaisson and Texas signee Toneil Carter. In fact, Chaisson’s scholarship offer from UCLA originated after the Bruins coaching staff saw a video of the former 5-star defensive end working out with Whitfield.
“He was like, ‘Man, I didn’t know he could move like that,'” Whitfield said of a UCLA assistant’s reaction to the video he posted of a training session with Chaisson.
The videos Whitfield has posted have caught the attention of plenty of college coaches like Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Houston’s Major Applewhite and Texas’ Tom Herman. They’re also catching the eyes of high school recruits, leading to an expanding clientele.
“Once they see the videos on Twitter, Instagram, it’s not hard at all. I check my DMs every day, and I got 5-10 high school kids trying to reach out to me in regards to training,” he said. “The high school kids, they all know. A lot of times a college coach might refer them, or for some of them, their high school coach will refer them.”
Another LSU signee, Kary Vincent Jr., hasn’t worked out with Whitfield yet, but he has been impressed with the trainer’s methods.
Kobe Boyce, a former 3-star cornerback and Texas signee, is planning on working out with Whitfield this summer and had nothing but positive remarks about Whitfield’s abilities as a teacher.
“His work is authentic. I see people who work with him, use his same type of footwork in games. His work is nice,” Boyce said before addressing what makes Whitfield different from other trainers. “He’s involved in the workout. He’s working just as hard as the person doing the workout.”
While the hours Whitfield puts in with prospects at his “Blitz Football Camp” facility in Houston have yielded scholarship offers and physical results, his time spent with players also has an intangible effect. He aims to be both a teacher and a mentor.
“A lot of these people wanna’ know where these boys are committed to. I usually know,” Whitfield said. “I tend to give them my insight on what I think about it. But I don’t push them like, ‘Make sure you go that school,’ you know. I try to do my best in letting them know about academics, depth charts, coaching, if they wanna’ be that far away from home, a lot of factors that help decide where they wanna’ go.”
That guidance isn’t only distributed when it’s time for a player to make a decision. Whitfield supplies it throughout a player’s entire recruitment and keeps them focused on what truly matters.
“I tell my boys all the time, ‘Guys, we’re not worried about stars, man. Let’s get scholarship offers. That’s what we want. We’re not worried about stars,'” Whitfield said. “I tell my kids, ‘Don’t stress over things that are irrelevant.’ Star ratings are just indicators of possible success.”
It’s an important message for a young man to hear, especially if given the stigma of a three-star, two-star, or even an unranked grade.
Modern recruiting is a flawed system. The masses tend to weigh the importance of a 5-star player greater than that of a 3-star player, but plenty of lower-rated guys go on to have outstanding careers, and some blue-chip prospects don’t pan out.
That’s why Whitfield doesn’t let his athletes get caught up in the hype of a star rating. He forces them to keep blinders on and worry about nothing besides a hunger to improve and receive a college education.
“I got a really good relationship with these boys,” Whitfield said. “They trust me to help them make the best decision for where they’re gonna’ play ball at.”