Whitlow the king of Madden


Jason Howell

Senior quarterback Jalen Whitlow was 10-19 in passing and ran for six yards during the Panthers’ 41-0 defeat by Northwestern on Sept. 12 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

When Eastern senior quarterback Jalen Whitlow envisions his future visits to Eastern, he relates to a character from one of his favorite movies, “Paid in Full.” The character, Rico, is about to be incarcerated by tells everybody in an interview that when he comes back he’ll still be king.

“That’s how I feel it’s going to be when I come back and visit EIU,” Whitlow said. “I’m going to play some people I used to play, and I’ll still be king.”

But Whitlow isn’t talking about football, the real one anyway. Whitlow has become the king of Madden football, and is so talented at it that some of his friends and teammates have quit playing against him.

Redshirt junior running back Devin Church recently played Whitlow for the first time, and was defeated by the All-Madden veteran. Church said that he was frustrated following the loss, and didn’t talk to Whitlow the rest of the day, but they reunited and shook hands the next day.

“He’s the king around here,” Church said. “He’s won a lot of games and people say he’s one of the best.”

Whitlow began playing Madden as a kid, which is around the time he started to understand the different defensive coverages and offensive concepts. It may just be for fun and enjoyment, but Whitlow said that you can learn a lot from just playing the video game.

“When I was a kid playing Madden that’s how I found out what Cover 2 and Cover 4 were,” Whitlow said. “It helps you understand defenses more.”

Teammates are not his only opponents. Whitlow competes with friends from back home in Alabama in online matchups and admitted that they’ve been able to beat him a few times. But Whitlow has beaten them a little more than a few times on any system, particularly PlayStation 4.

“Right now I’m playing PS4, but I can play it on X-Box and 360 too,” Whitlow said. “I can play it on any system: Sega Dreamcast, Gameboy Color Advance, all that it’s what I do.”

Besides helping decipher coverages, Whitlow has also used the game to create more chemistry with his teammates, Church in particular. Church feels that he can always be honest with Whitlow about anything.

“I think the chemistry that we’ve got helps us out here on the field,” Church said. “I can ask Jalen anything on the field, and he’d just tell me to ‘go with it.”

In their lone Madden matchup, Church played as his hometown NFL team, the Detroit Lions. While Whitlow doesn’t remember which team he was, he said that he can win with any team at his disposal.

“I’ve played with pretty much everybody, from the Vikings to the Bills to the Steelers to the Ravens,” Whitlow said. “I’m a Madden connoisseur.”

Whitlow said that he typically plays his friends a couple of times a week, but finds even more time when the Eastern football team’s season is over with. During his offseason days as a child, Whitlow created himself as a player, and said that he was still a tough challenge to defeat.

“He was a creative player. Everything was 99 on the skill set,” Whitlow said. “The sliders were always up, so he just did his thing.”

But there might be at least one person who can defeat Whitlow at his best. Redshirt defensive back Antoine Johnson also has a knack for Madden, Church said. While whitlow hasn’t played Johnson yet, Church said that he knows who he’ll take in that matchup, noting that Whitlow is “one of the best.”

“I wouldn’t say (Whitlow’s) ‘the’ best, but one of the best,” Church said. “But I think I’d have my money on ‘Toine.”

With four more home games left in the regular season, the Eastern community may need to witness another matchup this fall, Antoine Johnson vs Jalen “The King” Whitlow, in a battle for the university’s Madden title.

Eastern, are you ready for that rumble?


Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]