By BEN JOHNSON
Nick Whitlow is back for one last go around with Northeastern State. At 23 years old, the 6-foot, 230-pound fullback will put on the green and white in 2013 for his second straight senior season.
“I’m the grandpa on the team,” Whitlow jokes. It’ll be his sixth season playing for the RiverHawks. When school starts in August, Whitlow will be exhausting his 10th full-time semester on campus, which allows him one last semester on the football field.
In 2012, Whitlow played in all 10 games for NSU, while helping the RiverHawks pile up more than 1,700 rushing yards.
Have you already graduated?
I actually only have one hour left to get my degree, so I’m just hanging out, basically.
You have any plans for the one-hour course?
All it is is an extracurricular activity class, like weightlifting or tennis.
Do you feel like your importance is overlooked, not by your teammates but by people who watch the team?
People say fullback is a dying position, which it is. But when you get down near the goal line, or you’re in third-and-short or fourth-and-short, it’s nice to pound the football, and you need a fullback. I know I’m not going to be in there that much, but when I am in there I’m going to give it 100 percent.
Would you rather catch a pass or carry the ball?
I’ve actually never carried the ball. In high school, I played center and middle linebacker, and then I got here and they moved me to fullback. The only time I’ve carried the ball is during practice, not in games. I just get the ball in playaction power or when they sneak me up the sideline or something.
Have you done any campaigning to get that one carry?
No, I haven’t. But me and (offensive coordinator Paul) Lane are on pretty good terms, so I might be able to talk him into letting me sneak one one time.
A carry in the season finale against UCO would be perfect, right?
Absolutely. I mean, c’mon, just give me one more in the fourth quarter, right?
In your free time, what do you enjoy doing around Tahlequah?
I go to the river a lot during the summer. I like to go float the river or go fishing. Or I like hanging out with my friends, playing video games or watching movies.
You endured a one-win season during one of your early seasons at NSU. Do you feel like the program is headed in the right direction?
When I came here, we started 1-10 and then 2-9 and it was tough. Since then, we’ve won the (Lone Star) Conference, and then we went to the Mineral Water Bowl. Last year was disappointing, but things are looking up.