Chad Whitener Ready To Lead Defense

Oklahoma State middle linebacker Chad Whitener says he's prepared for another big season for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State middle linebacker Chad Whitener didn't know how much playing time he would get when the Cowboys opened the 2015 season against Central Michigan a year ago. After all, the redshirt sophomore was backing up senior Ryan Simmons, who was entering his third year as the starter.

But what a difference a year makes.

Whitener enters this year's season opener against Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium as one of the most productive returning players for defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. Whitener became the Cowboys starting middle linebacker a year ago, replacing Simmons when he went down with a season-ending knee injury in the fifth game.

The transfer from California was the third-leading tackler with 93 tackles despite not starting until the sixth game against West Virginia. He led the Cowboys with a team-high 19 tackles against Baylor, and was named the Football Writer's Association of America National Player of the Week, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week and OSU's defensive player of the game for intercepting TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin twice last season, returning one for a touchdown and the other to the 1-yard line to set up a touchdown.

The bad news for OSU opponents is that Whitener says he feels more comfortable on the field than he's ever been since arriving at OSU in 2014.

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