"We looked at who would fit our system, who was available and who could be admitted from a transfer standpoint," Pasqualoni said. "Chandler had a great season with Butler [3,022 yards, 25 TDs, but 14 interceptions]. He's very good student.
"We evaluated if he was our kind of guy and we were his kind of people. He really liked the school, our system. Chandler really fit the bill. I didn't promise him anything but a chance to compete. He accepted that."
"We had season tickets to the Falcons," Whitmer said. "I was at every single game when Michael Vick was there."
So you patterned your game after Vick?
"Absolutely not," he said, laughing.
Whitmer's dad, Mike, a chief information officer for a staffing firm, took a job in the Chicago area. After a year of traveling back and forth, he asked his son if he'd have a problem moving. Chandler headed to Downers Grove South — comedian Emo Philips' alma mater, trivia buffs — and became one of Ron Zook's highly touted Illinois recruits. After a redshirt year, however, he transferred to Butler instead of sitting behind Nathan Scheelhaase. No gripes.
Butler ran a pro set Whitmer liked. UConn runs a pro set Whitmer likes. Bingo. We had a match.
"[UConn] fits with what I do best," said Whitmer, a pre-kinesiology major who has an eye on the strength-training industry, maybe owning his own facility. "Academically, football-wise, UConn's a great opportunity overall. And the coaches were very honest up front."
Quarterback isn't just throwing, of course. It's leading. It's handling adversity. Three schools in three years, you've got to believe at least off the field he is battled-tested emotionally.
"I've seen a lot of things," Whitmer said. "I've still got a lot to learn. This still is my first year playing Division I. There are a lot of things I haven't seen yet. I'm going to take the punches and see what happens."
There's a maturity to this kid. At 21, with three years of eligibility, he engages. He has a strong outlook. You can hear it in little things. Like when he was asked what leadership means, he answered, "Every day getting the job done, no days off. Some people can lead when things are going good, but when things are going bad and you drop your head, get all down, that's not being a leader. I try to stay at the same level and be the same guy every day."
You can hear it when asked about the difference between junior and major college. He says everyone on the field is fast, not just some. And then he says, "This is a business. Every game is serious."
And you hear it in the way he's so eager to spread the praise to his receiver corps, one that appears much deeper and diverse than in recent seasons. He raves about Mike Smith's handle on the offense, about transfer Shakim Phillips' 39-inch vertical and the way he goes after deep balls. He raves how Nick Williams does things cut-wise he didn't know were possible. And raves how tight end Ryan Griffin is "Spider-Man" because he goes up and gets anything.
"It's scary all the weapons we have," Whitmer said. "I'm really thankful for the opportunity."
Mike Whitmer recently got a job outside of Boston. The family's back in Georgia. Chandler is stoked because his parents will be able to see all his games.
"I can't wait," Chandler Whitmer said.
After all, he's only been dreaming about Thursday night for 21 years.