Philyor can make things happen

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Philyor can make things happen



With a name like Whop Philyor, you’re going to get people’s attention.

The 23-year-old wide receiver is hoping it’s his strong play that gets him noticed, not his fun nickname.

The University of Indiana product and former Minnesota Vikings practice squad member is in Winnipeg this week for Blue Bombers rookie camp fighting to keep his pro football dreams alive.

“I love football. American football, Canadian football, it don’t matter. As long as I’m playing football, I’m happy,” Philyor told the Free Press after Thursday’s practise at the University of Manitoba.

“If I’m here for 10 years, I’d be happy to be here for 10 years. If I’m here for one, I’d be happy to be here for one. It’s going to be a learning experience.”

Before we talk more football, let’s get the story of “Whop” out of the way.

Whop was around six-years old when his parents, Daniel and Holley Mouling, split up and began to share custody of him and his two sisters. When Daniel, who wasn’t known for his cooking skills, had the kids, he often took them to his favourite place — Burger King.

Daniel would get a kids meal for his youngsters and a good ol’ Whopper meal for himself. But Whop, whose real name is Mister, wanted to try the adult-sized burger for himself. Daniel eventually obliged and to his surprise, Whop finished the whole thing. Daniel got a kick out of that and began to called Mister “Little Whop.”

Philyor ended up dropping “Little,” and has gone by Whop ever since. He’s constantly asked to repeat his name, but Philyor wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s my real name if you ask me,” said Philyor.

“… I used to eat Whoppers all the time. I’m trying to keep my body healthy and I gotta keep fuel in the tank but I eat them here and there. I actually tried their vegan Whopper recently. It’s actually really good. I’m not going to lie, it’s way better than I expected.”

But anyway, back to football.

The 5-11, 185-pounder saw action in three pre-season games with the Vikings and caught three passes for 54 yards. It wasn’t enough to crack the 53-man roster, but it did give him a chance to sit and learn from two of the best receivers in the game in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

“I got to spend some time with future hall of famers, some great football players, it was a great opportunity,” said Philyor.

“(Jefferson and Thielen) those are my brothers and they’re still my brothers. They taught me a lot about running routes and things like that. I learned a lot from those guys.”

He still has an appreciation for the NFL team that gave him a shot, but Philyor is now supporting the cheeseheads. Before taking his talents to IU, Philyor starred at Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa Bay, Fla., with recent Green Bay Packers’ second-round pick Christian Watson. The two star wideouts led the school to the state title game.

“That was the first great duo I’ve been a part of. Nobody could stop us,” Philyor said. “… I’m so proud of that guy. He’s inspiring me and inspiring a lot of guys from Tampa… But I ain’t gonna lie, I like the Vikings, but now I like the Packers more. I gotta like the Packers more now that he’s over there.”

That won’t win over the Vikings fans in this town but Philyor’s ability to make plays with the ball in his hand might. As a junior with the Hoosiers, Philyor caught 70 passes for 1,002 yards and five scores. The COVID-19 pandemic shortened Philyor’s senior season in 2020, but he still managed to have 54 catches, 495 receiving yards, and three touchdowns in eight games. In his final NCAA showing, a 26-20 loss in the Outback Bowl to Ole Miss at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Philyor caught 18 balls for 81 yards.

Philyor left Indiana as the program’s all-time leader in double-digit catch games with seven.

“I’m a football player at heart. Any time I got the ball in my hand, I can make something happen,” Philyor said.

“All these guys got great hands, all these guys got great speed, but I feel like when I get the ball, that sets me a part from a lot of guys.”

In order to crack the Bombers, Philyor will have to set himself a part from the other passcatchers in camp. Some of the fellow Americans he’s trying to outproduce this week are Carlton Agudosi, a 6-6 former XFLer who spent last season on the club’s practice roster, Blake Jackson, who turned a lot of heads at last year’s training camp before tearing an Achilles tendon, and former Kansas State receiver Dalton Schoen who had practice roster stints with the Washington Commanders and Kansas City Chiefs a year ago.

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Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.

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