McKinney remembers
Taylor's Bonfire Story
Texas A&M Football

Slocum, teammates remember Taylor Whitley as a "bright-eyed" leader

August 2, 2018
71,795

Two days ago former Texas A&M football coach R.C. Slocum’s memory was jogged as he drove through a tiny town in the Texas Panhandle. He was returning from a California vacation with his wife Nell and related stories to her as they drove through Sudan, Texas. He told her about Taylor. Whitley, one of his former Aggie players who was an all-conference offensive lineman in 2002. Whitley, 38, shockingly passed away on Wednesday. He is survived by wife, Shannon, and two daughters.

After graduating as valedictorian of his high school class in Sudan, Whitley played at A&M from 1999-2002, starting 34 of his 45 games. After his senior season, he was drafted in the third round by the Miami Dolphins. During a four-year NFL career, Whitley played for the Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. 

“I told Nell I had a good player from (Sudan),” Slocum said Thursday morning. “I talked about him and how (former assistant coach) Bill Johnson and I recruited him.

“Before I got home yesterday, I got a message from Cathy (Capps) that he passed away. That’s so crazy. I was just talking about him yesterday.”

Texas A&M Athletics
Taylor Whitley​​

Slocum recalled how he saw Whitley competing in the shot put at the state track meet and was impressed by his size and athleticism.

“He was just a big athletic guy,” Slocum said. “We went ahead and offered him. We got on him early. Tech and Texas and a lot of people made a run at him. He ended up coming here and did a great job.”

Slocum also recalled how Johnson, now a defensive line coach with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, had to fly into Muleshoe, Texas because it was the closest airport to Sudan.

Mostly, he recalled that Whitley was a hard-working guy who was respected and beloved by teammates.

“He was bright-eyed person,” Slocum said. “He never caused problems or issues. He was a good student and good player … just a bottom line guy.

“He was a great Aggie. He loved A&M. His teammates are in shock. He was one of those guys everybody liked. He was really respected.”

One of those shocked teammates was Seth McKinney, who played alongside Whitley and A&M and with the Dolphins.

"I was shocked to hear (the news). He was a great guy; the world needs more guys like Taylor. He was a great father, teammate and husband,” McKinney said Thursday on TexAgs radio.

“Make no mistake about it, he was a leader from Day One,” McKinney continued. “I think he started as a sophomore and you could tell how good of a player he was going to be. It was fun playing with guys like that, and to be honest I wish I could've played with more guys like him.

“I can't speak highly enough of Taylor. He had a great life and I hope that everyone around him felt the same way about him.”

Slocum certainly did.

“He had character and the innate ability to play at this level,” Slocum said. “He wasn’t overwhelmed moving from Sudan to Texas A&M.

“It’s just shocking for a guy that young, bright and full of life and with a beautiful family (passed). It’s crazy.”

Discussion from...

Slocum, teammates remember Taylor Whitley as a "bright-eyed" leader

Canyon99
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dreyOO
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Reno Hightower
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agz win
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Tragic.

Here.
general ulysses
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damn that sucks I worked with his wife previously. here
bdoggmcgee
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Was in the same high school class with his sister and watched him play when he and I were both students. He was a good man and will be missed.

"Softly call the muster,
Let comrade answer, "Here!"
Their spirits hover 'round us:
As if to bring us cheer!
Mark them "present" in our hearts,
We'll meet some other day.
There is no Death, but Life Eterne
For heroes such as they!
Leeman
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bam02
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Here. So sad to hear. Taylor was a great guy. I knew him from fish camp and then Cain hall. Just a monster of a man but very humble and quiet. Prayers sent.

Edit because I may be mistaken about meeting him first at fish camp, but I'm pretty sure that's right.
maxag42
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monarch
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S
Here.

...play for the name on the front of your jersey...
Texan1976
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I am a Longhorn but know his wife and her side of the family. A good buddy who is an Ag is married to Taylor's wife's sister (also an ag). Devastating news.
Artimus Gordon
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Here!

Truly sad news. Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends!
Unnamed Source
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Here. Gone too soon.
All_In_Ags
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AgFormerlyInIrving
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figlet
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sharpdressedman
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ontheway
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Here. T&P
ontheway
aggiejim70
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The person that is not willing to fight and die, if need be, for his country has no right to life.

James Earl Rudder '32
January 31, 1945
PooDoo
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Here...
Great guy
FamilyForeverAgs
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Here.
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