"I am a Cal Bear," said Whitener in a phone interview, becoming the fifth member of the Golden Bears' Class of 2013.
"We've really been thinking about it hard, my parents and I. I've heard a lot of great things about the institution, so I didn't really have any doubts about that. All the new stuff that has been going on with facilities, being in the Pac-12, a program that has turned out a lot of NFL players; I was excited to be a part of it."
Whitener caught linebackers coach Kenwick Thompson by surprise with the timing of announcement, as he originally planned to visit Berkeley in June and attend Cal's summer camp before making a decision.
"I'm just so sure and I don't want to pass up the opportunity, so I thought why not?" Whitener said. "It's a great day, finished football practice and might as well cap it off with this."
That trip is still on and will give Whitener a chance to meet his future teammates and coaches.
Whitener will play inside linebacker for the Bears' 3-4 defense, which allowed Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt to be wildly productive in recent years. As the District 5-5A Defensive Co-MVP this past season, Whitener had 130 tackles, four sacks and three forced fumbles.
"I like that a lot of pro teams use that defense and it works," Whitener said. "Coach Thompson tells me I'll be moving a lot and (be) a really big run stuffer, so I like that a lot too."
The academic opportunities are even more exciting to Whitener, who plans to major in business and minor in communications.
"The fact that I get to go to Berkeley, it's honestly one of the best schools," he said. It's amazing. I really can't explain it.
"I'm kind of at a loss for words that I get to attend a school like that."
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and covers the Pac-12 for Fox Sports/Scout.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.