Ten questions about life off the field with Carolina Panthers running back Fozzy Whittaker:
Q. You’re from Pearland, Texas, a small city south of Houston. How does that town support you?
A. Just small stuff. They send me gear. My high school gives me sweatshirts, beanies. I talk to my head coach – he’s still the head coach there. Even coaches who are at different schools, I talk to them. My teammates and people I played with and went to school with. It’s like a big family. They’ve always taken care of me.
Q. I think I read where your high school had a pretty strict dress code. Was that going on when you were there?
A. Yeah, so we used to have a dress code where we had to wear slacks – khaki, blue or black pants – and we had to wear polo shirts. Solid color. Gang-related activity was the reason for the dress code being enforced. We didn’t have a ton of gang-related incidents at the school, but in order to prevent that from happening they issued that dress code. Also for the people that may not have been able to afford nice clothes, it keeps everybody on the same playing field.
Q. Why’d you pick the University of Texas?
A. For starters, I always wanted to play in Texas, and the only school that I felt was the school in Texas was Texas. I love the city of Austin, the history that they have and then-Coach (Mack) Brown and everything he had done. And at the same time it’s such a prestigious academic university. I felt I could be the best on and off the field.
Q. You were in high school for that 2005 national championship win against USC. Where’d you watch it?
A. I was at my buddy Trevor’s house, and he lived in the subdivision next to mine. We had a watch party and teammates and homeboys. His mom cooked nachos. We all sat there and watched it. I had been able to go to three of their games on recruiting visits that year, so I thought that was pretty exciting.
Q. You had a redshirt year and you tore you ACL. You spent a long time at Texas, didn’t you?
A. So my redshirt year was 2007, and then I played the next four years and then my senior year was when I had my knee surgery. I graduated in 2010 early with my undergrad and then in 2012 with my master’s.
Q. I didn’t know you had a master’s.
A. Well yeah. If I’m going to be up there that long and they’re paying for it. I’m definitely going to take advantage. I was corporate communications for undergrad and my graduate degree was in kinesiology with a concentration in sports management.
Q. Why that?
A. Initially, I wanted to do just straight sports management, but I wasn’t able to do that because the class scheduling conflicted with football. But I wanted to go into football operations at the collegiate level. I wanted to be the head advisor set up everything that goes on behind the scenes. That was something I really looked forward to and was really interested in that.
Q. Are you still wanting to do that after your playing career?
A. I kind of changed my views on that. I’m still very open to it. But now as I’ve gotten a little bit older I want to do something slightly different. I still want to work with some type of football, but not the same kind of hours.
Q. So what are we talking about here?
A. I still haven’t determined completely. But what I do know is I love football and I want to go work in Austin. I would love to work with the school and maybe the athletic department in general, something along those lines. Or maybe somewhere outside of the school. But I want to work in Austin.
Q. Have you reached out to Texas coach Charlie Strong?
A. I’ve talked to him, but I haven’t talked to him about a job. I don’t want to coach. So I haven’t really talked to him about a job or anything. He’s a great coach, and I was just down there last weekend (during the bye) to watch them play Oklahoma (and win).