Mikel Whittier, 23, of St. Louis, has eligibility remaining but is no longer on the team. He left the squad at the conclusion of spring practice. He was in the mix to help what is expected to be an improved defense under new JSU head coach Bill Clark.
"Mikel can graduate, and we made a decision to let him move on," Clark said.
Asked if the linebacker¹s involvement in the hazing incident was the primary factor in that decision, Clark said, "We took all factors in consideration."
Whittier transferred to JSU from South Dakota State as a quarterback. The start of his JSU career was delayed a year as the NCAA denied his claim of transferring between FCS schools for medical reasons.
Last season, he was credited with 22 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hurries. He had three tackles the previous year.
Whittier, who was being initiated into the fraternity at the time of the incident, was charged with one count of hazing, a misdemeanor. If he complies with the terms of his plea agreement, the case will be effectively dismissed, and the plea will not appear on his record.
He is hoping to enter medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon. The victim, Jason Horton, is a former JSU defensive back.
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.