Our next Cowboy is a three-year starter and leader on the defense. And he just so happens to be representing Oklahoma State at this week’s Big 12 media days.
How he got to OSU
Whitener started his college career at Cal, just over 1,700 miles from his home in Mansfield, Texas. He played twelve games as a true freshman for the Golden Bears. But after one season of the west-coast life, Whitener sought a chance to play a little closer to home. He walked on at Oklahoma State and after a redshirt season in 2014, quickly earned himself a scholarship.
What he’s done in Stillwater
When Ryan Simmons went out for the season with a knee injury — effectively ending his career –Whitener stepped in admirably and has been a starter all but one game since. His 20 career starts makes him the most experienced member of the Cowboys’ deep linebacker corps. For his 2015 efforts, Whitener was voted to All-Big 12 first team honors and was a second team honoree last year.
Role in 2017
Whitener headlines an underrated group of linebackers. Last season, the Cowboys used a three-man front down the stretch but have now had an entire off season to install a completely new, separate scheme. The versatility of that group will be crucial to OSU’s success on defense. And at Mike linebacker, Whitener is the vocal leader of the defense both on and off the field.
Noteworthy stats and highlights
Probably his most memorable game was against TCU in 2015. Whitener almost single-handedly dismantled Trevone Boykin’s case for a Heisman with two interceptions including the a 65-yard touchdown. Boykin’s four interceptions were a career high and the most since throwing three picks in Stillwater two years prior.
But the most impressive play may have been his assist on this goal-line stand on 4th down.
And this was the cherry on top. What a fun night. I’ll let Joel Klatt take us out.