Whitlow proud of Kentucky, loyal to Eastern

Aldo Soto, Sports Editor

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Jalen Whitlow might still have close ties to former Kentucky teammates, but don’t get it confused, the Eastern quarterback bleeds Panthers’ blue not Wildcats’ blue.

Whitlow was able to watch his former team beat South Carolina 45-38, Saturday as the Panthers were on their bye week. The junior congratulated several friends that are former teammates, including cornerback Fred Tiller, who is just one of many Wildcats who Whitlow talks to regularly.

“I talk to those guys all the time,” he said. “I talked with Fred Tiller on the phone (Tuesday). I text those guys after all their games. After Saturday’s game I texted quite a few and said good game. That was a hell of a game they played. I was proud of them.”

Tiller and Whitlow have a closer relationship than any of the other Kentucky players.

“He was my roommate my freshman year,” Whitlow said. “I remember when we moved in. He’s like my brother, really. We talk probably three times a week.”

Whitlow spent two years with Kentucky, before transferring to Eastern in May. A disagreement with a position change concluded in the quarterback leaving the Wildcats and becoming a Panther.

With Saturday’s win, Kentucky improved to 4-1 and 2-1 in the SEC. Meanwhile, Whitlow is preparing to face Eastern Kentucky at 5 p.m. Saturday, when the 1-4 Panthers face the 5-0 Colonels. However, seeing his former teammates succeed this season does not make Whitlow regret his decision to leave.

“I’m happy for those guys, but that’s long gone, man,” Whitlow said. “I’ve been gone for a while now.”

Although he decided not to go watch the game live Saturday, deciding to relax and view some more football, Whitlow said some Kentucky players will go see him play against the Colonels Saturday.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Whitlow said. “I can’t wait. Hopefully we get this W and I’ll be happy after the game and I’ll be able to sit around and talk to them for a while.”

That includes Dy-Shawn Mobley, who Whitlow will be seeing on the field against Eastern’s defense.

“I’m ready to see those guys, even Mobley,” he said. “I’m ready to see him. I haven’t seen him in a while, man.”

Whitlow has one thing in mind, though, and that is to win. Despite a 1-4 record, Eastern is 1-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference and a win against Eastern Kentucky would give the Panthers momentum heading into their second road game at Southeast Missouri on Oct. 18.

Whitlow was happy seeing Kentucky beat South Carolina, but he would trade it in every time for a Panthers’ win over Eastern Kentucky.

“I still have some ties over there, like I’m always in touch with the guys, some of the tutors I had, some academic people, you know everything like that, but I don’t go to Kentucky anymore, I don’t play football for Kentucky,” he said. “I’m at Eastern Illinois now and I’m happy to be here.”

Aldo Soto can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]