Senior Tribute: Nickoe Whitley


Nickooooooooooe! The man who saved the season! Nickoe Whitley leaves Mississippi State with one of the best finishes to a career ever…

  1. Strips the ball from Arkansas RB Alex Collins deep in MSU territory as they are about to take the lead late in the 4th quarter, and recovers it himself. MSU did not score again in regulation so that play saved the game
  2. Makes a great catch on an interception in the 1st half of the Egg Bowl
  3. Strips Bo Wallace on the final play of the Egg Bowl to secure the victory
  4. Let’s “Dr. Bo” know about it, making him public enemy No. 1 among Rebel Nation
  5. We find out he played the last 9 games with a torn ACL but instead of having surgery and preparing for his future in the NFL he battles injury and pain for his team, making him a MSU hero

THAT is going out with a bang! Due to the surgery and recovery he will not be playing in the bowl game, but Nickoe, you’ve done us a service young man – thank you for your time in maroon and white!

Whitley had a great career at Mississippi State. It was often criticized, applauded, you name it. He made great plays, bonehead plays, awesome hits and everything in between. In the end his production speaks for itself. He was a four year starter with 15 career interceptions – just one shy of the all time MSU record held by Walt Harris and Johnthan Banks (1st and 2nd round NFL draft picks respectively). He leaves Starkville 3rd on the all-time list.

In his career he had 42 starts, only missing them because of injury. He started 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2010 – playing a key role as the free safety on that salty defense and earning All-SEC freshman team honors. His sophomore year he was a breakout star with his big time hits and who could forget him peeing on the hedges in Athens? Here’s one the hits – delivering the punishment to Emory Blake on the Plains..

And who could forget this from 2011 – finished the tackle on Morgan Newton after his helmet falls off, then Newton comes up gimp, ha. Plus the hit he laid on La’Rod King in that game was incredible. He was a fierce hitter in ’11 – the targeting rule really backed him off….but credit to him for never getting called for targeting.

Unfortunately that year against Alabama he went down with a torn Achilles. He had to miss the Arkansas and Ole Miss game as well as the bowl against Wake Forest. You have to wonder if he had not missed those games if he would have at least tied, or possibly broken the INT record at State.

Nickoe came back strong in 2012 and was third on the team with 88 tackles – the most of any season in his career. His senior year will forever be remembered for the two forced fumbles to propel MSU to bowl eligibility, playing through his injury and he also had a career high with 5 INT. Not only did he lead the team in that category, but they all came in big games: 2 vs. Auburn, 1 vs. LSU, A&M and OM. They were all in big moments too, although the offensive only capitalized on one of them (A&M).

For his career, Whitley had 229 tackles, 8 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 15 INT, 16 passes defended and 5 forced fumbles.

The icing on the cake of his football career, is that he used his five years at MSU to better himself, and will be earning a master’s degree in the spring. Nickoe projects as an NFL talent, and we wish him all the best in the future!