April 6, 2010

Whitley working his way back

Sometimes redshirt years are used to allow incoming freshmen to adjust to life in college football while in other cases it is used to recover from devastating injuries.

In Nickoe Whitley's case it was both. The six-foot-, 200-pound safety sat out his first year at Mississippi State still recovering from tearing two ligaments in his knee two games into his senior season at Provine (Miss.) High School.

"I tried to use that redshirt year to get it all together," Whitley said. "I stayed in the weight room and (my knee) feels good now though. I'd say it's about 90-percent right now. The redshirt year helped a lot because it was all moving too fast for me at first. I had to catch on to everything that was going on and it gave me some time to get stronger too."

Whitley is currently working with the rest of the secondary trying to earn a spot on the Bulldogs depth chart for the fall. He and the entire defense are adapting to the new scheme brought in by new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

"Spring is going good," Whitley said. "We've got a new defense coming in that we're learning. We're all just trying to get better on defense. There really ain't too much that's hard it's just to confuse the quarterback a lot. We are disguising and all that. The safeties are way more aggressive than last year. We've put in three blitzes already for the safeties. I'm going to try and get back there and get a sack."

Whitley came to MSU as a three-star prospect from Jackson, Miss. He was considered the nation's 74th best athlete and the No. 22 recruit in the Magnolia State.

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