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Pitt in the Pros

Jordan Whitehead Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week



Jordan Whitehead (9) tries to break up the pass to Anthony Ratliff-Williams (17) at Heinz Field on November 9, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. -- DAVID HAGUE

Former Pitt defensive back Jordan Whitehead had an incredible Week 1 performance for the New York Jets in their 22-16 win in their home opener over their rival in the Buffalo Bills Monday night.

Whitehead intercepted Bills star quarterback Josh Allen three times, in the first, third and fourth quarter,helping the Jets to maintain a strong defense against one the best at their position in the NFL right now. For his efforts, Whitehead earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.

He is the first Jets defensive player to make three interceptions since Marcus Coleman in 2000 and the first NFL player to do it in a Week 1 game since Sammy Knight did it for the New Orleans Saints in 2001.

This is the seventh season for Whitehead in the NFL and second with the New York Jets. He started and played in all 17 games last season, making a career-high 89 combined tackles and 31 assisted tackles, while also making four tackles for loss, eight passes defended and two interceptions.

His three interceptions Monday night also earned him a $250,000 bonus, as he met a contract incentive for the season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Whitehead in the Fourth Round of the 2017 NFL Draft and he played there for five seasons from 2017-21. He played in 69 games, starting 65 of them, making 292 total tackles, 222 solo, 22 tackles for loss, 25 passes defended, five interceptions, 2.0 sacks two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries with the team, while also winning Super Bowl LV in 2021.

Whitehead starred for Pitt in his three seasons of collegiate ball from 2015-17. He played in all 13 games as a freshman in 2015, leading the team with 110 tackles, 75 solo, also defending seven passes, forcing a fumble, making 7.0 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks. He also rushed 12 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns, earning him ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

He had another stellar season as a sophomore in 2016, making 65 tackles, 46 solo, 1.5 tacks for loss, one interception, two passes defended and one forced fumble to earn Second Team All-ACC honors.

Jordan Whitehead also excelled in the WPIAL for Central Valley High School in Monaca, Pa. in nearby Beaver County. He starred on both sides of the ball, making 97 tackles and seven interceptions, while also rushing 148 times for 1,933 yards and catching 24 passes for 471 yards as a senior in 2014.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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