"I'm doing really well with regaining my strength and I can see myself turning back into the player that I used to be but, you don't really know for sure until you're in a real game," Whittaker said. "I don't think it will be a problem though."
Whittaker is a quick, instinctive athlete with skills that suggests he might be able to play at the next level.
Arizona was one of the first big programs to pursue Whitaker and before long he was a Wildcat.
"They offered me in the summer and I thought on it for a couple weeks and I decided it was time to pull the trigger," he said. "They just ran a system I like and they seemed to be upfront, good guys."
The mutual love has not faded over time.
"The coaches are ready for me to get up there," Whittaker said. "A lot of the time when we communicate they check in with me and just ask for an update on my health.
"Then we start talking about how there is room out there to get on the field. I feel I will be able to make that adjustment."
He's gotten plenty of early advice on the transition from his older brother.
"J.J, my older brother, plays college football and that is a big advantage for me," Jace said. "He's dealt with a lot of injuries, but he still treats it like a job and works hard to get back. He works really hard with the trainers and he's talked to me about how he's going about getting stronger.
"I've dealt with some setbacks, but I have a lot of people in my corner who I can lean on. I'm fortunate because they've helped push me though the rehab."