Sure, NFL draft prospect Whop Philyor bought his nickname from a burger, however there’s extra to his story


When future NFL draft prospect Mister Elias De’Angelo Philyor was about 6 years previous, his father, Daniel, would put him within the again seat of his black 1999 Cadillac STS and drive over to the Burger King on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, Florida.

The fast-food meals had been a straightforward alternative for Daniel, who on the time was a freshly single dad in his 20s. He wasn’t one to prepare dinner, and after he cut up with Mister’s mom, Holley Mouling, after 13 years, the 2 shared Mister and their two daughters amicably. On his days, although, Daniel wanted a go-to restaurant to feed his younger youngsters, and since Burger King was his favourite place, the house of the Whopper grew to become a daily cease.

Daniel’s order was the identical each time: a Whopper with cheese for him and a cheeseburger youngsters meal for his son.

Solely, Mister wished what his dad was having.

“I used to be like, ‘Man, you may’t eat the massive previous burger, boy,'” Daniel remembers saying.

Mister endured for weeks, and Daniel lastly relented, letting his younger son strive the adult-sized burger. To his shock, Mister ate the entire thing. Daniel began calling Mister “Little Whop” after a number of of these early journeys to Burger King, unknowingly giving his son a nickname.

Quick-forward 16 years and the nickname remains to be round. Whop Philyor is now a 22-year-old man standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 180 kilos, and he is making ready for the 2021 NFL draft after catching 124 passes for 1,497 yards and eight touchdowns the previous two seasons for the Indiana Hoosiers.

This yr’s draft class is stocked with broad receivers, which implies Whop won’t hear his title known as till the ultimate day of the draft, in response to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Kiper stated about 37 pass-catchers might be taken this yr, together with tight ends, and Whop is perhaps among the many final 10 to come back off the board — someplace within the fifth or sixth spherical.

“There’s a variety of slot guys and guys that may play each inside and outdoors,” Kiper stated. “He is been a enjoyable man to observe. … I like getting him the ball in area. He is been a productive man, catches the ball constantly. He was an actual fear-factor participant for them at Indiana.”

And despite the fact that he hasn’t had a Whopper since his sophomore yr of faculty, the title has lasted, though the “little” was dropped when Mister turned 13.

“Man, do not name me little,” Philyor stated. “I am not little. Each little dude bought little dude syndrome. Man, I am not little. Do not be calling me little.”

Love from tragedy

Rising up as Daniel and Holley’s solely son, Whop had relationships with every of his dad and mom that developed in their very own methods.

Every, nonetheless, is a department grown from tragedy.

Daniel and Holley’s first son died in April 1998 when he was 1 yr previous after he fell out of a second-floor window when Holley was about six months pregnant with Whop. That second modified how every would guardian Whop.

“It solely did make me extra alert, extra conscious,” Daniel stated. “As a result of I used to be gonna be a superb dad to Whop as a result of the place I come from, a variety of us do not have that. And I at all times instructed myself, when I’ve kids, I will be the most effective dad. I believe I did a superb job.”

Holley and Daniel have instructed Whop so much about his brother, whose demise modified how they parented. All the things they deliberate to do with their first son, they made certain to do with Whop, however with extra vigor.

When Whop was born, Daniel, a former semipro soccer participant, was set on introducing him to the game as early as attainable, placing him on a area by 3 years previous, solely to have the toddler begin crying.

“I put every part into the Whop,” stated Daniel, who had Whop working routes on a basketball courtroom by the point he was 7. As a lot as Whop protested, his father assured him every part would work out.

The outcomes began coming in early. Whop ran for a 75-yard landing as a fullback in his first Pop Warner sport.

Whop continued to work, a trait he says comes from his mom, a Medicare supplier along with her personal staffing agency and one of many solely individuals who nonetheless name him De’Angelo.

“It was some loopy stuff my mother went by,” Whop stated. “Like, she needed to go away me and stuff, and when she got here again, we did not actually have something. We did not have a lot.

“She sacrificed herself not consuming as a result of we needed to eat and stuff. … She labored like all by highschool, by school, working three jobs to maintain our lights on, do every part to verify we have now cash whereas we was at school and every part. So she simply instilled that in me.”

One of many first issues Whop needs to do along with his NFL paychecks is to construct his mother an workplace to work out of. Listening to that he has plans for her made Holley pause. They’ve by no means talked about what he needs for her. Their talks often middle on her wanting her son to be nice.

“My son is my every part,” Holley stated. “He’s completely different from the women. It is like, I am unable to clarify it, however he is simply completely different in relation to my youngsters. He is simply completely different. Possibly I simply maintain on to him nearer as a result of we misplaced that first son early. So I believe I maintain on to De’Angelo slightly tighter, and I might be extra strict on De’Angelo. Like, he cannot do something. Like, if he comes residence and needs to hang around along with his mates, he is on a curfew. It is like I am holding him nearer to my coronary heart than my different youngsters. We simply bought a relationship like, I do not know. It is exhausting to elucidate. I simply love him an excessive amount of.”

Whop has stepbrothers and calls his former teammates his brothers, however he stated that is completely different from having a blood-related brother. He calls the brother he by no means met his guardian angel.

Generally he’ll speak to him earlier than going to mattress.

“He is with me on a regular basis,” Whop stated.

About that title

When folks hear Whop’s title for the primary time, they will often ask him to repeat it. Then they will ask him to repeat it once more. After which they will ask him to repeat it a 3rd time, often with a “What did you say?” sprinkled in.

Indiana head coach Tom Allen met Whop throughout his sophomore yr at Plant Excessive Faculty in Tampa. Whop performed with Allen’s son, Thomas, and the 2 had struck up a friendship. They had been by the sector home when Whop walked as much as Allen, launched himself and gave Allen a hug.

However as a lot as Allen was immediately struck by Whop’s outgoing persona, he could not get previous his title and finally bought the complete story from him.

“I am like, ‘Are you kidding me?'” Allen instructed ESPN with amusing.

From then on, and all through Whop’s time at Indiana, Allen known as him Whopper.

Allen’s response has been fairly typical.

When Whop began introducing himself round campus at Indiana, some folks requested if he was named after the “Wop” dance. As an alternative of explaining the entire backstory, he’d simply go together with it as a result of “that is a straightforward approach for folks to recollect it.”

Nevertheless, different college students at Indiana thought Whop was introducing himself utilizing an ethnic slur directed at folks of Italian descent.

“I might be like, ‘No, it is not spelled that approach,'” Whop stated. “I ain’t gonna lie. Faculty was in all probability essentially the most irritating a part of me telling my title as a result of academics can be like, ‘Whop?’ Yeah, that is my title. Sorry, that is my title.”

Opposing gamers have known as his title cool. Followers on Twitter have stated that they named their canine after him, or that their younger daughter wished to be known as Whop.

Rising up, nobody cared about his title, Whop says now. Different youngsters would ask what his title was, he’d inform them, they usually’d simply proceed enjoying.

The one one who will not name him Whop is his mom. She has tried to persuade him to go by De’Angelo, however Whop has refused.

“I did not assume it was gonna go this far,” she stated. “It is simply superb to me how that title grew to become who he’s.”

All these years later, with lower than a month left till the draft, Whop would not have it another approach.

“I prefer it,” he stated. “I like being known as Whop as a result of I simply felt prefer it sticks with me, prefer it’s me. As a result of my actual title is Mister, like, who needs to be known as Mister rising up? I really feel like, man, folks get picked on for stuff like that. I am not attempting to get picked on, and Whop is, like, distinctive, you already know?

“I’ve by no means heard anyone with the title Whop. So I am like, ‘Man, I’ma simply go by this. I like this. It is completely different.'”