CAREER: Named 2013 preseason All-SEC by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele . . . The lone returner from the 2012 MSU defensive backfield beginning his fourth year as a Bulldog starting safety … Rebounded from injury to have a solid junior season . . . Missed the last three games of the 2011 season due to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon after performing at an All-SEC level in his first nine games . . . Talented youngster earned Freshman All-SEC honors in 2010 from the coaches . . . Redshirted his true freshman season on campus . . . Came to Mississippi State after a standout high school career in the Jackson Metro Area.
2012: Started all 13 games at safety, finishing the regular season as the team’s third leading tackler with 88 on the season . . . Picked off three passes and forced one fumble on the year . . . Also credited with 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage . . . Recorded at least seven tackles in five different games in 2012 . . . Posted a career-high 13 against LSU a week after recording 12 against Texas A&M . . . Also recorded seven stops against Auburn and South Alabama before racking up eight against Tennessee and Middle Tennessee ... Hauled in a career-high two interceptions in the Bulldog’s season finale against Northwestern in the Gator Bowl.
2011: Was an All-SEC candidate before rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in the first quarter of the game against No. 3 Alabama . . . Started seven of the nine games he appeared in before the injury . . . Recorded 34 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions, one pass breakup and one forced fumble . . . Made four tackles and picked off a pass in the season-opening win at Memphis . . . Credited with six tackles and another pick in the win at home over Louisiana Tech . . . Intercepted a pass at Georgia . . . Notched seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception vs. No. 16 South Carolina . . . Tallied seven tackles in the SEC road win at Kentucky.
2010: Played in all 13 games, earning 11 starting nods . . . Finished the season tied for the team lead with three interceptions . . . Totalled 52 tackles with 34 solo and 1.5 tackles for loss . . . Also filed up the stat sheet with 1.5 sacks, three pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble . . . Forced and recovered a fumble at the goalline to preserve the Georgia win . . . Posted a career-high seven tackles in the win at Florida . . . Recorded five stops in the Gator Bowl victory against Michigan.
2009: Sat out his true freshman season as a redshirt.
HIGH SCHOOL: Ranked as the No. 80 safety prospect in the country by national recruiting website Scout.com, in part because he missed most of his senior season with an injury . . . Suffered both a torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament in his knee two games into his final high school campaign . . . Considered the No. 74 “athlete” in the country by national recruiting website Rivals.com . . . That site rated him the No. 22 prospect in the state of Mississippi . . . Rated with the top 25 high school prospects in the state of Mississippi by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger following his senior season . . . Credited with running a 4.6-second, 40-yard dash by recruiting website Rivals.com . . . Standout two-way player in the Jackson high school prep ranks, he started at quarterback and defensive back during his high school career for head coach Willie Collins at Provine High School in Jackson . . . Had accounted for four touchdowns offensively and returned a fumble 55 yards for a score defensively before his senior injury . . . Rushed and passed for 1,701 yards during his junior season while on offense . . . Made 40 tackles with five interceptions as a junior on defense . . . Began his high school career at Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss. . . . Other top scholarship offers: Ole Miss . . . Committed to MSU in June 2008.
PERSONAL: Born Nickoe E. Whitley on Oct. 2, 1990 . . . Son of Mr. and Mrs. Nickoe Whitley.
WHITLEY’S Career Highs
Total Tackles – 13, at LSU (11-10-12)
Assisted Tackles – 8, (2x) last at LSU (11-10-12)
Solo Tackles – 6, (2x) last vs. Northwestern (1-1-13)
Interceptions – 2, vs. Northwestern (1-1-13)
Long INT Return – 66, vs. South Alabama (9-22-12)
Pass Breakups – 2, at Auburn (9-10-11)
Tackles For Loss – 1.5, vs. South Carolina (10-15-11)
Sacks – 1.0, at Alabama (11-13-10)
Forced Fumble - 1, (3x) last at LSU (11-10-12)
Fumble Recovery - 1, (2x) last vs. UAB (10-23-10)