FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2019 signees who redshirted with our Redshirt Report series. Today, we focus on how this past season went for wide receiver Trent Whittemore.
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- WCC: Four-star sets official visit date
- Behind-the-Scenes: An in-depth look at Wilson’s decision to return
- Recruiting Wire: A grad-transfer to keep an eye on
- Early Enrollee Outlook: What to expect from the 12 early enrollees
- ITG MUST SEE NEWS FEED (The most in-depth features on Florida Football)
- Report Card: Mullen more like Spurrier & Meyer than Muschamp or McElwain
- At Florida, it’s more than football, it’s family
- Behind-the-Scenes: An in-depth look at a Florida football game week
Just about every young football player in the Gainesville area dreams of playing for the Florida Gators after they graduate high school.
Because North Central Florida isn’t exactly known as a breeding ground for elite football players, very few actually ever get that chance.
After starring in both football and basketball at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, wide receiver Trent Whittemore got a chance to live out the dream, signing with the Gators in the Class of 2019.
Getting a chance to play for his hometown team is special enough, but Whittemore’s family connections to the university make it even more special. His mother, the former Missy Aggertt, played volleyball for the Gators in the mid-1990s.
“It’s been really surreal at times,” said Mark Whittemore, Trent’s dad and high school coach. “He grew up obviously as a Gator. His granddad, his great-granddad have played sports for the Florida Gators. It’s a dream come true for him, and it’s fun to hug his neck at the Gator Walk and know that he’s wearing the Orange and Blue.”
The next step for him is to get on the field and contribute. He played in just two games, failed to catch a pass and redshirted this season.
Whittemore didn’t get upset or frustrated by his lack of playing time, his dad said. With four senior receivers leading the way, he understood that he would have to be patient and wait for his turn. Having four seniors ahead of him actually motivated during his redshirt year, as he’ll get an opportunity to compete for playing time earlier in his career than some who play other positions.
“I think he knew that a redshirt year would be good for him,” Mark Whittemore said. “He enjoyed being on the field the couple of games that he got a chance, no doubt, but definitely was trying to be as patient as possible, knowing that he was getting bigger and stronger.”
He used his redshirt year to increase his squat lift and bench press numbers, his father said. Most significantly, the year helped him gain familiarity with exploding off the ball and running routes at his new position. He primarily played defensive back in high school.
Trevon Grimes is the only proven receiver returning for the Gators in 2020, so playing time will be up for grabs. Mark Whittemore said Trent wants to improve his preparation and approach to practice as he enters his first spring camp.
“He got a lot of quality practice reps, he felt like, this fall,” he said. “Gave him a good chance to get a lot of time catching footballs, running routes, whether it was seven-on-seven or it was team drills, and I think coming out of that, he wants his approach to practice to get better. That’s a big deal to be able to really attack practice. Trent is a player that understands the importance of practicing well, and I’m sure that Coach Mullen and his staff have taken that to another level. Their preparation is – from what Trent says – out of sight. They are very well prepared.”
Though Whittemore was only a three-star prospect who some fans felt only got into the class because of where he’s from, his dad said he might surprise some people once they see him play.
“I would describe him as what I would term as a really good football player,” he said. “He understands the nuances of the game, but he’s also got good leaping ability, ball skills and a suddenness off the ball that’s a little deceiving. So, I think that’s kind of his repertoire.”
In some ways, Whittemore appears similar to Gator Great Chris Doering. Doering was born in Gainesville, graduated from P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School and walked-on to the Gators as a wide receiver in the early ‘90s. After a redshirt year, he went on to set an SEC record with 31 career touchdown catches. Doering was listed at 6-foot-4 and 201 pounds. Whittemore is listed at 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds.
After a redshirt year to adjust to his new position and add strength, Whittemore looks to follow in Doering’s footsteps as a hometown hero.