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Owls’ Whitson Decides To Play Football At Tennessee Tech
Two-Time All-Region Pick Will Be PWO With Eagles
Will Whitson, Ooltewah’s 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior defensive end and an All-Region 3-3A pick in 2015 and 2016, has decided to attend Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and play football for the Golden Eagles.
“I had some options and wanted to see what else might come along,” Whitson said Thursday afternoon at Ooltewah High School. “I toured the school and talked to the coaches, they’re real big on academics and that’s the primary reasons I chose Tennessee Tech.”
Whitson is going to TTU as a preferred walk-on.
He also considered East Tennessee State University and UT-Chattanooga.
At TTU, Whitson will be reunited with a former Ooltewah teammate, long snapper Aidan Panni, who played on three District 5-3A and region championship teams from 2013-15.
“We’re good friends and look forward to getting over there and seeing him again,” Whitson said. “I haven’t seen him in a while.”
Whitson helped the Owls post a 10-3 record in 2016. The Owls were eliminated from the Class 5A postseason with a 56-49 overtime loss in the quarterfinals by eventual state championship Farragut.
Whitson was credited with 65.5 tackles – 33 solo and 27 assists – that included 13 tackles for loss. He had six quarterback sacks, 29 pressures, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one pass break-up.
“Will is a playmaker,” Owls coach Mac Bryan said. “He has a tremendous, high-energy motor. That’s what he does. He runs well and you can tell that by the statistics he put up with all those negative plays. He’s a disruptive player.”
Whitson said which defensive position he’ll play at TTU depends on his ability to add weight to his frame.
“I’m right at 200 now,” he said, “and putting on weight has been a struggle for me. If I could get up to 230 or 240, I think that would be a good weight to play defensive end.”
With less weight Whitson is confident he could play outside linebacker at the college level.
Bryan believes Whitson can handle the much-wanted added weight and that would give him the ability to play either position at TTU, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.
“I think he’s got the potential at the OVC level to play defensive end if he gains enough weight, he said. “He can certainly play an outside linebacker because he can move in space. We just didn’t have the luxury to do that with him.
“I think he’ll grow into a defensive end; he’s got room to grow. I believe Tennessee Tech is getting a heck of a football player. He did an outstanding job for our program and was one of our permanent captains last season. He’s that type of leader.”
The Golden Eagles were 5-6 overall and 5-3 in the OVC last season by winning the final two games against Tennessee State and Murray State.
By: Larry Fleming
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