SE: Football Friday: Cody Whitehair, a Quiet Leader

August 7, 2015

By Kelly McHugh-Stewart

Cody Whitehair has come a long way the past four years at K-State.

The 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman has overcome adversity – he’s switched positions three times – and, heading into his senior season, has become a key leader on the K-State football team.

“He has great respect from his teammates,” said head coach Bill Snyder, who was quick to compliment Whitehair. “They respect his leadership. He has the ability to guide and direct young people in the right direction, certainly with the offense but also collectively with our team. He’s a quality player, too. He’s a good offensive tackle, but he can play across the board. He’s going to be an excellent player; a quality leader.”

When it comes to this year’s offensive line, Whitehair has the most experience. He has started 38 of his 39 career games, earned back-to-back Second Team All-Big 12 honors in 2013 and 2014, and he is a two-time member of the Preseason All-Big 12 squad. Heading into the 2015 season, Whitehair was selected to the Outland Trophy watch list and also earned Preseason All-America honors from Athlon. 

Going back to what Snyder said, Whitehair can play across the board. He started his career as a right tackle and also saw time as a left guard. After moving back to right tackle during his sophomore season, Whitehair made one more switch and played his entire junior year at left tackle.

It hasn’t always been easy, but Whitehair doesn’t seem to mind. He’s willing to do what it takes for his team to be successful. Plus, overcoming challenges during his football career is something he believes will translate to his everyday life.

He’s prepared to tackle anything now.

“I’ve had to play a few different positions,” Whitehair laughed, “but I think it’s helped me grow and it will help me adapt to a lot of different adversity that I may have to go through in life. My football career has trained me for that.”

Heading into his final season with the Cats, Whitehair was voted as a team captain, and it’s a position he takes to heart.

“I’ve been a leader by example – that’s kind of my leadership style, but lately I’ve had to step up with my vocal leadership with all the younger guys we have and really demand excellence out of them,” Whitehair explained. “That’s been my point of trying to improve my leadership; I’m trying to be more vocal. This year’s (offensive line) is a different group. It’s a young group, so we just have to help our guys, build their confidence and we’ll be alright.”

With fall camp underway and the season just around the corner, Whitehair can’t help but look back at his career and reminisce. He redshirted his first season with K-State (2011) to get the hang of things, so once he hit the field his redshirt freshman year, he was ready.

“I remember coming in and seeing the talent and the people that are in this conference. It was eye opening,” said Whitehair about his early days at K-State. “Coming in from Abilene, Kansas, a 4A school, I was the biggest guy, I was one of the stronger guys in our district. So coming to K-State where everybody is big, everybody is strong and everybody is fast, it was different.”

Time has certainly sped by for Whitehair since those early days; he’s come a long way since then. In the past three years, Whitehair has played a key role in the Wildcats’ 28-11 record and three straight bowl berths. He was a part of a Big 12 Championship (2012), a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl victory (2013) and now will work toward greatness one final time as a Wildcat.

“It just seems like it’s flown by, honestly,” closed Whitehair. “I feel like it was the other day I just started my first camp and now here I am starting my last camp.

“But I’m really looking forward to my senior season. I’m looking forward to playing one more year with these guys.”



Kansas State football fans can get their first look at the 2015 Wildcats on Saturday, August 15, as K-State hosts the annual Academy Sports + Outdoors Fan Appreciation Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Fans are asked to park on the west side of Bill Snyder Family Stadium and enter through Gate B for the free event, which begins at 5 p.m. Seating will be open on the west side in Sections 1-9 and fans can watch the final hour of practice. Concessions will also be available on the west side of the stadium.

Following practice, College Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder and the 2015 team captains will address the crowd prior to a one-hour autograph session on the field with players and coaches. Those participating are asked to limit the number of autographed items to one per person and encouraged to provide their own item to be signed.