NORMAN – Dominique Whaley doesn't seek the spotlight the way he seeks daylight on Owen Field.
Wasn't recruited out of high school, because, he figures, he didn't go to summer camps.
Wasn't in the 2011 OU football media guide because he didn't bother to show up for either photo session.
Good luck staying incognito now, Dommy. Not after scoring four touchdowns in his Sooner debut. Not after rushing for 131 yards on 18 carries Saturday night in a 47-14 rout of Tulsa. Not after writing another wild chapter in what is becoming a tale for the ages.
Not after sliding onto the list of OU's great out-of-nowhere stories, with Joe Don Looney (60-yard TD run to beat Syracuse in 1962) and Jim Culbreath (117 yards as a walkon debut against Oregon in 1975).
Of course, we can't say we weren't warned.
“I told you guys, he's a really good football player,” said Bob Stoops, who indeed had Whaley listed as a co-starter on the depth chart with Brennan Clay.
Whaley's fairy tale is growing wings. From backup tailback at Langston in 2008 to OU walkon to show-stealer for the Sooner season opener.
But Whaley wants no part of promoting himself. “If I could have, I would have snuck out of here,” he said in the post-game interview room. “I'm just a football guy.”
Sorry, fame goes along with the territory for football guys who score four touchdowns for the nation's No. 1-ranked team.
Keep this up, and ESPN will start throwing Whaley's name up on the Heisman list with teammates Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles.
“I hope they don't,” Whaley said of being discovered. “That might mean I gotta go up there, too.”
Probably won't happen. It's not like Jones or Broyles hurt their stock Saturday night. Jones threw for 375 yards and no interceptions; Broyles had 14 catches.
The Sooner offense was in high gear – 663 yards – and its defense was suffocating save for three pass busts. We saw little that would dissuade those who believe Stoops has a championship squad on his hands.
He's also got a championship story developing in Whaley.
It's easy to cheer for this guy. Overshadowed at Lawton MacArthur by now-OU teammate Javon Harris. Overshadowed at Langston by whoever was the starting tailback; Whaley scored two touchdowns all season for the 2008 Lions. He rushed for 104 yards vs. Lincoln University but had just 154 yards in Langston's other nine games combined.
Maybe he should have started at Langston, suggested Stoops, who awarded the first game ball Saturday night to Whaley.
Broyles – who had 14 catches himself Saturday night – admitted that the locker room pulls for the non-scholarship players who more than pull their weight.
“It's a little bit more meaningful,” Broyles said. Former walkons “Trent Ratterree, James Winchester, those guys are out there producing.”
Ratterree and Winchester eventually got scholarships. Now might not be a bad time for Whaley to ask for one.
“I'm in there every day,” Whaley said of the coaching offices. “It's eventually going to come.”
Stoops' own words will work against him on that discussion. Mr. I-told-you-so has been touting Whaley the last two springs, even re-telling the story of Whaley needing an IV on the sideline because he ran so wild against the OU defense in a scrimmage. A story Whaley disputes.
But that's the way it goes with such tales. Some grow tall.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.