Morgan State

Damare' Whitaker spent his freshman year at Morgan State as an understudy to middle linebacker Cody Acker, presumably being groomed as the program's next defensive centerpiece.

But during training camp this past summer, Whitaker moved from the inside position to the outside spot, and the transition has paid off handsomely. The sophomore ranks fourth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in tackles per game (8.2), is tied for second among the Bears (3-5 overall, 3-3 in the league) in sacks (2½), and ranks third in pass break-ups (three).

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Coach Lee Hull called Whitaker the team's most athletic linebacker.

"With some of the issues that we had, we wanted to get our four best linebackers on the field, and we moved Damare' outside," Hull said Tuesday. "It took him a couple games to get used to playing outside – he's always been an inside linebacker – but he's taken that position and run with it. I think that's the best fit for him because he's good out in space. He can run, he's aggressive, he's smart and he's a good tackler in space. So I think that position fits him."

First on Morgan State in tackles (66), second in solo stops (30) and third in tackles for loss (six), Whitaker was at his best in Saturday's 38-14 loss at Bethune-Cookman. He posted season highs in total tackles (13), solo stops (six) and tackles for loss (two). Hull said he is not surprised by Whitaker's development.

"Last year, he played as a true freshman, and he played in a lot of games," Hull said. "I personally recruited him and I thought that he could be a very good football player in this league, and he's shown everything I thought he could be."

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