For three-star recruit and Gainesville, Florida native Trent Whittemore, the varsity spotlight was something that he had become accustomed to in basketball and football over the past three years.
After starting quarterback Cam Orth was ruled out for season after the second regular season game, the former safety and wide receiver was moved to quarterback a game later, a position he had not yet played at the varsity level.
“I got moved to quarterback and at that point we were just in scramble mode to save our season,” Whittemore said.
This was evident as the Buchholz Bobcats were shut out that week by their opponent; Flemming Island High School, to a score of 27-0.
After losing their third straight game, Whittemore bounced back against Belleview High School by throwing for 114 yards to go along with two touchdowns, one rushing and one passing, and a game sealing fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, Belleview’s fourth-down trick play led to a 35-yard completion over the head of the deceived Whittemore. Ten yards behind the receiver, Whittemore’s teammate was able to grab the shoulder pad of the receiver and give Whittemore the opportunity to cause a fumble at the one-yard line. After Whittemore recovered the fumble, Buchholz was able to take a knee and end the losing streak.
From that point on, Whittemore was able to settle in and throw for 728 yards and 10 touchdowns in their final six games. While playing quarterback, Whittemore was able to rush for 406 yards, receive for 161 yards, record 35 total defensive tackles, cause four pass break ups, and average over 35 yards per punt on special teams.
“It was definitely a challenging season, but I believe that I grew as a leader and a player as well, along with the whole team,” Whittemore added. “We were able to make playoffs, so I was happy with that.”
Coaching the Bobcats football team is Trent’s father, Mark Whittemore, a former University of Central Florida wide receiver. As the head coach, Whittemore has been granted an opportunity to form a close bond with Trent through football that most parents do not get the chance to experience.
“Him and I are able to talk on that level where he can give his share of the game plan and preparation type additions into our conversation,” Mark Whittemore said.
“He takes coaching very well from me, even though I’m his dad. So our relationship is fun and we try to keep it that way.”
Whittemore understands that he is not an exception to his father’s passionate and firm coaching style. But off the field, they are able to share a close relationship that does not always involve football.
Mark Whittemore and Trent are not the only athletes within the family. Trent’s older brother Luke is currently playing wide receiver at Troy University and his great-grandfather, grandfather, and mother all played a sport at the University of Florida.
Through much prayer and discussion with his family, Whittemore decided to follow in his family’s history and commit to the University of Florida, six days after they had offered him.
Growing up in Gainesville, Whittemore admits, “I have always been a huge Florida fan.”
“Being offered, I mean, there was no place that was going to pull me away from the decision.”
Whittemore made the decision to commit to Florida in 2017, when Jim McElwain was the head coach. However, McElwain and the University of Florida agreed to mutually part ways four months later, leading to former Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen to fill his vacant position.
Through the program change, Whittemore decided to keep his commitment to Florida after they had made him feel welcome.
“I have a good relationship with them and I’m still all in and 100% committed,” he said.
Whittemore plans on studying telecommunications when he arrives to Florida in 2019.