The most memorable play of Nickoe Whitley‘s Mississippi State career also turned out to be his last one at the collegiate level.
Head coach Dan Mullen confirmed Tuesday that the senior safety underwent surgery the day before to repair a torn ACL. The fact that a football player tore an ACL is not unusual; the fact that Whitley had suffered the injury in Week 3 is.
“I met with Nickoe and said, ‘Hey, you can have surgery now and hopefully be healed for the (NFL) combine, or you can suck it up and play with it the rest of the year. It’s not going to get a lot worse. You’ll still have to have the surgery afterward,'” Mullen said according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “He said, ‘I’m not giving up on the team, I’m going to play it out, and I’ll (have surgery) after the last regular-season game.'”
Whitley apparently suffered the injury in or around the Sept. 14 loss to Auburn.
With five interceptions this season, Whitley leads the Bulldogs and is tied for 13th in the country. His 15 career interceptions currently leads all FBS players.
In the Egg Bowl last Thursday, Whitley forced a fumble by Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace in overtime that preserved a 17-10 win. The victory pushed MSU to 6-6 and earned the football program its fourth straight bowl berth.