Each month, I will showcase a current Denver Broncos player and inform you of their lives and accomplishments before coming to Denver. In doing so, I hope to shine a light on each players own unique journey on the road to Mile High. This month’s featured player is cornerback Jonathan Wilhite.
Jonathan Wilhite was born on February 23, 1984 to mother Glenda Miley in Monroe, Louisiana. He played his high-school football at Ouachita High School, where he played at both the running back and wide receiver positions. He was selected to the All-Northeast Louisiana team and was also named as a second team All-District honoree.
After high school, Wilhite attended Butler County Community College in 2004, where he played as a defensive back. That season, he earned 44 tackles, seven pass deflections, and five interceptions, earning him a spot on the National Junior College All-American team and first-team All-Conference honors. He was also named to the first team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and was rated as the best Junior College cornerback in the country.
Wilhite made the move to big time college football when he enrolled at Auburn University as a sophomore. He played in 12 games and started in the last seven for the Tigers in 2005, racking up 47 tackles, seven pass deflections, a sack, and an interception. In 2006, Wilhite started in 10 games and earned 24 tackles, five pass deflections, and a forced fumble. As a senior in 2007, he started in six games and earned 30 tackles, two pass deflections, two interceptions, a sack, and a fumble recovery.
Wilhite was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round (129th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he played in all 16 games of the season, earning 24 tackles, two pass deflections and an interception. In 2009, Wilhite played in 14 games for the Patriots and had his best season to date, racking up 45 tackles, five pass deflections, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. Wilhite played in nine games in 2010, earning 20 tackles and two pass deflections before having to be placed on injured reserve late in the season after a hamstring injury.
On August 29, 2011, Wilhite’s time in New England came to an end when he was waived by the Patriots. He was later picked up by the Denver Broncos, where so far in 2011 he has played in all three games, earning eight tackles, a pass deflection, and two sacks.
The Denver Broncos defense has been a much improved group over last year’s team, partially because of the efforts and play of Jonathan Wilhite. The Broncos will look to continue to use Wilhite in the defensive back rotation throughout the season to help strengthen the secondary and improve the pass rush in blitz situations.
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