For Darryl Whiting Jr., FCRH ’12, Fordham University has enabled him to develop both his competitive and entrepreneurial spirit as a running back for the Fordham Rams and communication and media studies major.
Whiting grew up in Corona Park, Queens, and was raised in a single-parent household. His father, Darryl “God” Whiting, was sentenced to life in prison for criminal enterprise in the form of drug trafficking. Whiting was unaware that his dad was in prison for life until he was twelve years old.
Despite this, Whiting said, “my dad was there my whole life.”
Throughout his childhood, they spoke frequently on the phone and his mother or aunt would take him to visit his father in Pennsylvania. Growing up, his mother’s influence was an important factor when it came to school and football.
“She wasn’t a super aggressive woman, she just wanted the best for me,” said Whiting. “She didn’t let me quit playing football — it was the only thing she didn’t let me quit. That was what I was good at, that’s what I enjoyed doing, so she just supported me in that aspect. Anything else that I wanted to do that’s positive she supported.”
Whiting said that he would not have attended college if he did not receive a scholarship, so football was a crucial part of his plan.
“The whole scholarship thing was to make sure that I get myself a better opportunity when I’m older,” said Whiting. “I only went to Holy Cross to play football to get a scholarship to college. I knew that if I didn’t go to college, then I’d probably be like some of the people I know now and I didn’t want that.”
However, when it came to attending Fordham, Whiting did not tell the traditional, cliched story about how he visualized himself at Fordham during his first visit.
“The only reason why I went there was because I had a scheduling conflict with Fordham and Temple in the same weekend,” said Whiting. “Then Temple wanted to pick me up from Fordham, and coach [Tom] Masella kind of got my mom to think that traveling to Philly somehow was too much traveling. He convinced her that I shouldn’t go to Temple that weekend, and then we didn’t go.”
He accepted Fordham’s offer soon after his visit.
As a running back for the Fordham Rams, Whiting led the team in rushing yards three years in a row and became a full-time starter senior year. He signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
When asked about his overall experience at Fordham, Whiting said, “I wouldn’t change the people that I met and the experiences that I had, but overall there’s definitely other universities that I would’ve had way more fun at.”
Wide receiver Brian Wetzel, FCRH ’15, joined the team as a freshman during Whiting’s senior year. When asked to describe Whiting, who was nicknamed D-White by his teammates, Wetzel said, “On the field, he was pretty quiet and kept to himself, focusing on the game, but when we got to the locker room, he was a character.”
According to Wetzel, Whiting took both football and his role as a team leader seriously. “As a freshman, I was always goofing around,” Wetzel said. “Darryl would let me know when it was time to get serious because we had business to take care of, which helped me have success later in my career.”
Lourenzo Smith, a Fordham graduate student and defensive back on the football team, shared advice that Whiting gave him during his freshman year. “We were walking to go and do sprints first day of summer and he said, ‘No matter what happens to you—never let anyone punk you and don’t get any tattoos.
“It’s ironic because his upper torso is covered with them,” Smith said with a laugh.
Whiting’s ease with people and driven nature aid him as he works as a personal trainer and looks to start a media company. When Whiting started college in 2008, his father told him about a fiction novel he was working on, later entitled Takin’ It to Another Level. Whiting began editing it, and they wrote and edited on and off until it was completed last year. The hard copy was released this past November.
Whiting cited 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James’ publishing deal, in which she received a six-figure advance and garnered eight percent of hard copies and five percent of e-book sales, as an example of why he thought it was better to produce the book himself. He established Corona Crown Publishing, which enabled him to learn about publishing.
The synopsis of the book, which Whiting describes as “mainly fiction with some real aspects” reads as follows: Tyrell “Frost” Montgomery is a small time drug dealer and gangbanger who’s tired of the senseless gang killings and the non-productive way that gangs are living. He wants change and to do something about it, but does not know how. That’s until infamous ex-drug kingpin and rebel five percenter Darryl “God” Whiting comes home from federal prison after serving twenty years of a life sentence for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and gets him to take him under his wing for some schooling.
They plan to have a four or five book series. The second installment is set to be released in November.
Prior to this, Whiting’s father served as the centerpiece of a 1999 crime-thriller drama movie entitled In Too Deep. LL Cool J portrayed “God” Whiting and the movie took place from the lead undercover officer’s perspective.
Jeffrey Coy, the undercover cop, committed suicide after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. His time undercover serves as a cautionary tale of blurring roles and the pitfalls of drug use. Whiting wanted to get in touch with his daughter, Sam, who started a group home in Boston for male teenagers deemed at-risk or delinquent by the Department of Social Services.
“I was trying to do a panel at Fordham,” said Whiting. “I was trying to tell how drugs affect drug dealers’ families, a cop’s family — just different perspectives of it from different points of view. It affected her life and the same topic affected us totally differently.”
Even though he did not hear back from Coy, he wants to set up panels or events like that in the future. “It’s something I’d like to do not just for me, but to open people’s eyes to what drugs do to people, and have empathy for other people,” said Whiting. “A lot of people point the finger at somebody else but don’t really understand why somebody does what they do.”
Whiting’s next big endeavor is starting a media company. The website would feature a forum, news and podcasts. He looks to delve into topics that he feels are unexplored due to corporate interests, therefore eliminating objectivity.
“Publishing was just something more for my dad,” said Whiting. “I’m more of an entrepreneur, but publishing was one investment that I made when I was 18, 19 [years old]. But a media company, like spreading the voice and spreading message of racism, equality, the wealth gap — all that is really what I want to talk about, and that’s what I’m really passionate about.”