Saracens have won the race to sign Millfield star Tom Whiteley.
Whiteley has been one of the stars of the school circuit over the past two years and one of Millfieldâ€™s key players. With him in the side they have claimed the 2012 St Josephâ€™s Festival and the 2014 Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s as well as several other tournaments, including a clean sweep on the 7s circuit this season.
Individual awards have been filling his mantelpiece too; he claimed the try of the tournament at that St Josephâ€™s Festival victory and the Player of the Tournament during this yearâ€™s Rosslyn Park victory to name just two.
Whiteley spent the first season and a half of his Millfield 1st XV career at full back, where his quick feet, electric pace and eye for a gap made him one of the most dangerous kick returners on the circuit, before a move to scrum half saw him given the chance to show those skills at close quarters around the fringes.
It is at scrum half that Saracens are planning to play Whiteley, where the likes of Neil De Kock, Richard Wigglesworth, and Ben Spencer all currently compete for the nine shirt there. With De Kock and Wigglesworth experience ahead of him in particular, Whiteley will be learning from some of the best.
Whiteley had represented both Harlequins and Bath in the Aviva Premiership U18 League and there was interest in him from Worcester Warriors, however it is the Heineken Cup finalists who have sealed his services.
With Nick Tompkins, Maro Itoje, Nathan Earle, and Biyi Alo all named in Englandâ€™s U20s squad for the forthcoming Junior World Championship, as well as academy graduates such as Alex Goode and Owen Farrell in the full England squad, Whiteley is joining a club with a proven track record for developing talent, despite the influx of overseas players in recent years.
Whiteley will also be linking up with Mako Vunipola, who was a member of the Millfield 1st XV back in the 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons.
Rugby seems to run in the Whiteley family, elder brother Charlie Whiteley plays for Richmond in National One, while they both play alongside brother Harry for the Seventy 7s seven-a-side team, for whom all have shown their worth as the side has claimed victory in their first two tournaments of the season.
Whiteleyâ€™s captain at Millfield this year, Callum Sheedy, also plays for the side and he too has signed a professional contract recently, joining the excellent Bristol Academy.
It is certainly worth keeping an eye out for these two names in the future!
Do you know of anyone else making the step from school to professional rugby? If so let us know via @FifteenRugbyXV or through the comment box below. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org