Endor Cooper

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound linebacker is a scary mix of speed and power. Voted the preseason defensive player of the year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Cooper will be the leader of the Bison defense. The redshirt senior will relay the play calls from the sideline to his teammates, and, if necessary, audible into a different set depending on how the Hoyas’ offense lines up.

Once the ball is snapped, Cooper will terrorize Georgetown’s quarterback and running backs alike. In a game his sophomore year against Bethune-Cookman, Cooper recorded five sacks. Last season, he brought down running backs behind the line of scrimmage eight times.

While playing at No. 23 Norfolk State on Oct. 27, Cooper and the Bison held the home team to just 10 points and -15 yards rushing, and it was Cooper who sealed the deal. With five minutes to go and Norfolk State driving, Cooper forced a fumble that Howard recovered to end the Spartans’ final drive.

A local talent out of Woodbridge, Va., Cooper led Howard in total tackles with 69, including 50 solo efforts, and also forced a team-high three fumbles last year. Cooper will lead a defense that registered 75 tackles for a loss last season, more than twice the total the Hoyas compiled.

If Georgetown hopes to move the ball on the Howard defense, they will need to contain the dominant Cooper.

Karlos Whittaker

Whittaker, a senior, is the bulkier half of the Bison’s two primary running backs. While Terry Perry will likely see handoffs on first down, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Whittaker will be the go-to guy on third downs and goal-line situations. In 106 carries last season, he pounded in five rushing touchdowns, more than anyone on the team, and he has 14 total scores in his first three years at Howard.

In a 35-27 win on Oct. 20 against North Carolina A&T, Whittaker averaged 6.3 yards per carry and scored twice in the second half. With under three minutes left in the fourth quarter and Howard down by six points, Whittaker took a second-down handoff and went 27 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Whittaker scampered for 412 yards as a junior and also caught 15 passes for 207 yards. His 13.8 yards-per-catch average was the best on the team of any player who caught more than four passes.

The Hoyas will have their hands full with the mix of Perry and Whittaker running the ball, and they better be ready for the bulky Whittaker on short-yardage situations.

If Whittaker is not pumped up enough for the season opener tomorrow, he will get a little extra inspiration by looking across the field at the Hoyas’ sideline. The running back started his collegiate career at Navy, where he was coached by current Georgetown Head Coach Kevin Kelly.

– Compiled by Kevin Wessel

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