Philyor can make things happen
With a name like Whop Philyor, youre going to get peoples attention.
The 23-year-old wide receiver is hoping its 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 dont matter. As long as Im playing football, Im happy, Philyor told the Free Press after Thursdays practise at the University of Manitoba.
If Im here for 10 years, Id be happy to be here for 10 years. If Im here for one, Id be happy to be here for one. Its going to be a learning experience.
Before we talk more football, lets 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 wasnt 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. Hes constantly asked to repeat his name, but Philyor wouldnt have it any other way.
Its my real name if you ask me, said Philyor.
… I used to eat Whoppers all the time. Im 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. Its actually really good. Im not going to lie, its 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 wasnt 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 theyre 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 Ive been a part of. Nobody could stop us, Philyor said. … Im so proud of that guy. Hes inspiring me and inspiring a lot of guys from Tampa… But I aint gonna lie, I like the Vikings, but now I like the Packers more. I gotta like the Packers more now that hes over there.
That wont win over the Vikings fans in this town but Philyors 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 Philyors 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 programs all-time leader in double-digit catch games with seven.
Im 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 hes trying to outproduce this week are Carlton Agudosi, a 6-6 former XFLer who spent last season on the clubs practice roster, Blake Jackson, who turned a lot of heads at last years 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.
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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Credit: Philyor can make things happen