Deacon Spotlight: Nikita Whitlock

Nikita Whitlock is a Wylie, Texas native who accepted an offer to play for the Deacs the night before signing day his senior year of high school. Now a redshirt sophomore, the 5-11, 260 pound athlete discussed team dynamics and his exceptionally demanding schedule.

"What's really unique about Wake is that it is such a small school even though it's D1," Whitlock said. "It is kind of funny, my high school had almost as many students as Wake Forest undergrad. It's cool to know everybody and know people in all of your classes. It is not a place full of strangers, it is more like a little community."

The nose guard graduated from Wylie High School in 2009, and though he had plans to stay in-state, ended up being a key contributor to the Deacs, which he discussed.

"My first year I really didn't have much of a role," he said. "I was just there trying to show everybody what I had and that I could be a player who would help the team - showing them that they could trust me on the field 100-percent.

"This year, they knew they could trust me, but I wanted to be more consistent and just improve my game and lead by example.

"Going into next year, being one of the oldest guys on the team, my role is going to become a lot more vocal. It'll be less leading by example- that's how it's progressed so far; a nice, slow easy going progression."

Whitlock has an expanding role both on and off the field.

"For me it's a little different because I'm a student athlete, but I'm also a husband and a father - I'm a busy man," he explained. "I think the biggest thing for me is time management. You've got to get your extra workout in, but you also have to get your homework done. Especially at a smaller school like Wake where your professors expect you to do really well and the coaches do too. The hardest thing is balancing work and play."

Whitlock discussed the progression of Wake's recruitment efforts, "I think our coaches did a really good job bringing in some good players. A lot of focus has been on the team and growing the team, getting them playing well, getting older and getting experience on the field. This year, the coaches have really gotten back into the recruitment too."

Whitlock continued with his thoughts on what's to come in the next season.

"You know, I'm really looking forward to this year," he said. "I think it's going to be exciting, especially at running back. We've got three great running backs- Josh Harris, Orville and Deandre – they push each other a lot, and I'm excited to see what happens with that. Also KJ is going to be back on the field at corner, so we'll be having three great corners out on the field.

"I like our safety positions too with Daniel Mack and Duran Lowe, and I want to see what those boys will do too. It's fun to see them coming in and taking the reigns and running with them. I think everyone has something to prove this year. We had a great last year, but it could've been better. I think a lot are ready to prove themselves."

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