Aug. 8, 2011
AUBURN -- Tradition never graduates. Though the 2011 BCS National Championship is in the rearview mirror, the Auburn Tigers continue to press on toward success on the field and off it. As Saturday, September 3, grows closer, we introduce you to some of the men who will take the field at Jordan-Hare this year.
Jeffrey Whitaker | Defensive lineman | Sophomore | Warner Robins, Ga.
If I could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, it would be Brett Favre because he is the greatest of all time. I watched Favre, and I'm a big Green Bay Packers fan. When he went to the Vikings, I didn't just jump on the bandwagon, and I still love Green Bay, but I want to see him win. There would be times that I would cry when Brett Favre lost.
If I was stranded on an island and could only have three things with me, I would have a picture of my family, a stick to fight with and a fresh pair of shoes.
When I was growing up, the other sports I played were basketball and baseball. Basketball was actually my first love, but I wasn't cut out for baseball. I didn't try football out until my eighth grade year.
If I could play any other position in football, I would play quarterback because I've been trying to tell Coach Chizik, Cam compared to me at quarterback is not all that. Cam had 51 touchdowns, but if Coach Chizik put me back there at quarterback, I wouldn't just have 52, I'd have 62. It would be easy.
My favorite memory from last season was from Thanksgiving and the Iron Bowl. Thanksgiving Day was the day before the game, we had something at our team dinner called "What are you thankful for?" as the defensive front. We didn't finish at dinner, and we tried to finish it the next morning at the breakfast before the game, and we still didn't finish. So at halftime during the game, we were down 24-7 and Nick Fairley said, "Hey, what are we thankful for?" Everybody went around and said what we were thankful for. When we ended, he said, "Well since we're thankful for all of that, let's just go out here and play ball and let the chips fall where they fall."
Working with our new defensive line coach, Mike Pelton, is exciting. You want to just do your best. He is one of those guys that can be a father figure for you. Coach Pelton is a good man, and at the end of the day, I already know he's going to be like a father figure. I love my dad back home, but while I'm here, I can honestly say I have someone in him who truly cares about me.
One of my superstitions is I stop listening to music when we get through Tiger Walk. I put away my headphones because I figure, if you can't get pumped up off of 87,000 people, music isn't going to pump you up either.
I wanted to come to Auburn for the family. It felt like home, and I could be around great people.
If I couldn't play football, my dream job would be something like a sports broadcaster or an analyst on television because I can't live without football. But at the same time, I think I have some good singing abilities to do a little singing and dancing, or something like that.
The best gift I can remember was for 12 years of my life, I had the best mother in the world. She passed when I was 12, but that was the best gift I could have ever had.
If I could travel to any place in the world, I would want to go to Africa. It's the land of my ancestors, so I'd like to visit there. I have a big heart, and I want to help people. I think God blesses you to bless others. I don't want to forget where I came from, and I got here with a lot of love and hard work.
I'm a communication major and I chose that because you can be involved with sports broadcasting or become an analyst, and you can work in a lot of different areas. Right now, I don't know what I want to do, but I like to have options.
The things I miss the most about home when I'm at Auburn are my family and food. My grandmother is a good cook, and I just miss my family; my brother, nieces and nephews, the whole crew.
My role model is my big brother because he gave up a lot to help take care of me, and he stopped going to school. For him to see me come play ball, I consider it like my gift to him. I love my older brother so much.
When I'm not playing football, I love to chill. I'm so simple and country, when I see my niece and nephew, forget everything else. I want to be with family. I just love being loved and giving love.
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I love plain Corn Flakes with a little bit of sugar and some bananas in them.
My favorite late night snack is tuna fish. I have tuna fish at the house right now.
Before each game, I always pray.
My nickname is Big Jeff with the guys at football. Big Jeff and Little Jeff are what different people call me back home.
If I could be a superhero, my superpower would be healing the sick.
If I was granted three wishes, I would wish to continue to get better with walking with Christ. I'm not there yet. My second wish would be to continue to work hard to provide for my family. The third wish would be to see my mom again.
The best piece of advice I've been given was from my mom. She told me to not ever forget where you come from. We came from nothing. She said don't ever forget the hard times because they're only going to make you stronger. They're only going to make you better. Most of all, be yourself. Don't change for anybody.