SE: Stiverson, Whitehair Compete Together One Last Time
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The relationship between K-State offensive linemen Boston Stiverson and Cody Whitehair goes way back.
The two, Stiverson, a left guard from Andover, Kansas, and Whitehair, a left tackle from Abilene, Kansas, met during their junior years of high school and then lined up together as seniors at the 2011 East vs. West Shrine Bowl.
At the time, they were both future K-State Wildcats. As just kids, they became quick friends and built a bond that today, nearly seven years later, has only continued to grow stronger.
“We played next to each other in the Shrine Bowl, so that’s really when everything started,” laughed Stiverson at Wednesday evening’s offensive press conference. He glanced across the room to Whitehair, who, at the time, was also in the middle of conducting interviews. “We learned how the other played, and really have just had a great relationship these past seven years. We’ve been together all five years of college; we really click.”
Along with playing in the same position group on the same team, Stiverson and Whitehair are also roommates. The two spend countless hours together. They know what makes the other tick and, most importantly, they know each other’s game inside and out.
It gives them added confidence on the football field, they say.
“He’s a smart kid,” Whitehair said about Stiverson. “He’s a fun guy to play next to. Boston and me, we’ve developed a relationship over the years, an on-the-field kind of relationship and a friendship, so we know how the other plays. That’s key for an offensive lineman. To have that relationship that we built, it helps us be successful on the field.”
Together, the two have accumulated 75 starts, been a part of a Big 12 Championship and led the Wildcats to five-consecutive bowl games.
Whitehair, a 2015 First Team All-Big 12 recipient and the Honorable Mention Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, has started 50 of his 51 career games, including a current streak of 40 games. Stiverson has played in a total of 37 games and has started 27, including 17-in-a-row from his sophomore through his junior season.
“It’s made my job easier because I’m very confident in him and I know he’s going to do his job,” Stiverson explained about Whitehair. “I think we play very well next to each other. We’ve been very successful together and won a lot of games.”
Watch the two for just a few minutes and their relationship is obvious. They laugh together and joke together, they have a good time, but when it comes time to be serious, they lead together.
“Cody and Boston are such a huge part of our offense,” said Wildcat junior quarterback Joe Hubener. “Having two veteran leaders up there is important. The whole game starts with those guys; you can’t do anything if you don’t have a good offensive line. Those guys are a rock solid part of it.”
Both seniors, Stiverson and Whitehair are now eyeing their final game in K-State purple. This weekend’s 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be the final time they line up together.
While their focus is on Arkansas and they don’t want to begin reminiscing quite yet, they can’t help but think back to the exciting years they’ve been a part of together as Wildcats.
“The Big 12 Championship year, that was our first full year of getting to play and we were obviously around a bunch of great guys and a great, winning team, so that was special,” said Stiverson as he looked back through his career, one that started when he and Whitehair redshirted the 2011 season. “Then we were in a similar position to this season with the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl in 2013. We were 2-4, had our backs against the ropes, but we kept fighting and grinded out some wins. So to go to five bowl games in a row, that’s really special. I’m really blessed to be in the position I am in now.”
As their careers together continue to wind down, Stiverson and Whitehair are simply enjoying the ride. From the bowl events, to the practices to the press conferences, the duo is taking in everything this week one final time. They’re working hard. They want to cap their careers on a high note with a win over Arkansas on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s going to be tough, but it really hasn’t hit me yet because we’re still practicing and preparing,” he said. “But I think it will really hit me next week when I don’t have practices or meetings to go to. It is going to be tough.”
When they lined up together at the 2011 Shrine Bowl, they didn’t know what their futures held. They didn’t know the exciting times and the hard times that would lie ahead on the football field at K-State.
But looking back, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Stiverson. “I’m ready to move on the next phase of my life, but I also want to cherish these moments with my teammates. I’m going to miss these guys a lot. This season was really special to us, knowing what we went through and how we came together; it’s been exciting.”
Tomorrow’s 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl between K-State (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) and Arkansas (7-5, 5-3 SEC) kicks at 2:20 p.m., in Memphis’ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. It will be aired nationally on ESPN.
For more information on this weekend’s Liberty Bowl, you can visit K-State Athletics’ Bowl HQ webpage by clicking here.