The Independence (Tenn.) High School multi-sport standout was noticeably disappointed when coach Derek Dooley didn't provide a scholarship offer the summer prior to Wharton's junior season. However, when Butch Jones came on board and pulled the trigger, the former Knoxville resident couldn't hop on board fast enough.
And, why not? Not only is Wharton following in family footsteps and staying in his home state, but he's playing for the man he considers American's best — Jones.
The Scout three-star prospect was the first player in the 2014 class to publicly declare his intentions to play college football in Knoxville. Since then, over 30 others have joined him and the class ranks No. 2 nationally.
In 2013, Wharton averaged 30.7 yards per kickoff return and 8.8 yards per punt return. He accounted for four special teams returns for touchdowns.
His talents landed him on the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl roster, which Wharton says allowed him to make friendships he wouldn't ordinarily have the opportunity to make if not for being a standout performer.
"I couldn't ask for a better year with being top 5 recruiting class and then being an All-American," Wharton said.
He noted that is weight is now up to 192 pounds from the 170 he tipped the scales at a year ago. Before arriving on Rocky Top, plans are to do damage at the BlueCross Spring Fling and represent Independence.
Wharton joins fellow future Vol RaShaan Gaulden on the Independence 4x400 relay team that won the TSSAA Class AAA state championship in May with a time of 3 minutes, 19.13 seconds.
See more of what the Volunteer State native said in an interview with InsideTennessee by clicking play below: