Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Jordan Whittington embodies what it means to be on a championship team

Lorianne Willett

Senior wide receiver Jordan Whittington almost quit football his sophomore year. Thankfully he didn’t, and he has now grown into one of the most impactful players on the Texas team. His mom will get to watch him play in person for the first time in a Texas uniform.

After injury struggles early in his career, he stuck it out for one goal: a Big 12 championship. This season, Whittington has been a key part of the Texas offense, even though he has only scored one touchdown.

“I don’t know if there’s another guy in our locker room who’s more respected than Jordan Whittington,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I think every guy in that locker room respects him to a point where if J Whit’s doing it, that’s probably what I’m supposed to be doing.”

His work ethic on the field goes unmatched. If he’s not catching a pass, he’s blocking for his fellow receivers or running routes to draw defenders away from the play. On sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers’ interception against TCU, he missed the first tackle but got up and ran back down the field to force a fumble and give Texas the ball back.

But Sarkisian has not only noticed his growth and maturity on the field. After breaking his collarbone against Oklahoma in 2021, he contemplated not playing football again.

“I wouldn’t let him not play football anymore,” Sarkisian said. “I just know you only get this one time. You don’t get to say hey, when I’m 40 or 50, like me, I’m gonna go back and play football.”

Whittington did not waste his second chance with the team. Now on his second senior day, his parents will be able to be at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium with him.

“Last year it was so late notice that my parents weren’t able to be there,” Whittington said. “My mom’s first game is this weekend and it’s senior night, so I have to (run through the tunnel again). I’m excited to let her see the atmosphere, especially because it’s gonna be crazy.”

Whittington is one of the seniors who has bought into Sarkisian’s culture and embraced it. Now in his final year, he is one of the team’s top receivers. He waited his turn, didn’t leave the team and was the key player in Texas’ win over Iowa State.

He caught his first touchdown of the season and sixth of his career as well as a major two-point conversion to give Texas a two-score lead.

“I don’t have a blueprint for how you get trust,” Whittington said. “I’m guessing it’s from respect and transparency and I think you know, we have a lot of that for (Sarkisian) and just trusting each other. Once everyone trusts each other, it’s easy to just listen to the guy that’s put in charge, and he is, and he’s just doing a really good job of instilling the culture, and us and other leaders are doing a good job of making that go throughout the team.”

Whittington’s storied Texas career will come to an end after this season, but he has the potential to continue his legacy of greatness after college. Having handled adversity with grace and selflessness, he is one of the biggest assets to the Texas offense.

“The selflessness in which he plays the game is very rare,” Sarkisian said. “He’s instilling in others (that) this is how to play the game. And this is how to be successful at this game. This is how to be on a championship team.”

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.