Kyle Dugger’s dream would not be denied. Once a lightly-recruited football prospect, the Whitewater High class of 2014 alum turned rising NFL star just made Wildcat history. In a ceremony at the school’s basketball games on February 3, Dugger became the first athlete to ever have their jersey retired at Whitewater High.
Dugger’s story is one of perseverance and dedication. In high school, he was a three-sport athlete lettering in football, basketball, and track for the Wildcats. Unnoticed by bigger colleges, he signed to play football at Division II school Lenoir-Rhyne University. He made an impact early with the Bears, earning conference defensive freshman of the year honors. He capped off his collegiate career by winning the 2019 Cliff Harris Award given to the best defensive player in all of NCAA Division II.
Pro scouts took note of his blend of size, speed, and playmaking ability. In the 2020 NFL Draft, he was selected 37th overall by the New England Patriots, the highest selection that year of any non-Division I player. He has quickly blossomed into a key piece for the Patriots, including leading the league in defensive touchdowns during the 2022 season.
Now, his number 3 football jersey will forever be etched in the history of Whitewater High.