One thing he does have is a familiarity with new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and his scheme. Hamilton began his time at Stanford as the wide receivers coach before taking over offensive coordinator duties when then-head coach Jim Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers and took Greg Roman with him.
So Whalen has a comfort and rapport with Hamilton that is rare for young professional athletes. And Hamilton has a healthy respect for the young wide receiver.
"I've been watching Griff play football since he was 19 years old, and he's having a good camp so far," Hamilton said. "He still has a ways to go, but we're excited about Griff."
This is another area where Whalen and his coordinator are on the same page.
As happy as he's been with his work in camp so far, he understands there's still a lot more to be done. At the same time, Whalen already feels like a winner this season. Just by getting back onto the field.
"For me it was just big, psychologically, that I am back where I want to be," he said. "That whole offseason, there was a little bit of worry like, 'Am I really going to be back? Is my foot going to be OK?' But everything feels great. I'm happy with that."