Trent Whittemore made history on Friday.
The Gainesville Buchholz senior was named the inaugural winner of the Scot Brantley Trophy by the Ocala Quarterback Club.
“It means a lot to me to win this and I think it is really cool how they started this award in honor of Mr. Brantley who is a legendary player in the area,” said Trent Whittemore, who has signed to play at the University of Florida and will likely play receiver for the Gators. “I think it is a great way to honor players yearly and it is definitely a humbling thing to win it considering how many great players are in the area this year.”
Trent Whittemore’s championship selection occurred after a long selection process by the committee, which included former coaches, players and media members.
“We’ve got the right guy,” Brantley said. “The leadership qualities, the faith orientation and the work in the community and things like that were great and there’s really something special about Trent and makes him a tremendous recipient.”
It began with an original watch list of 51 players from the six county area of Marion, Alachua, Citrus, Lake, Levy and Sumter counties.
After the completion of the regular season, the field was limited to four finalists, which included Trent Whittemore, Brian Dillard (Lake Weir), Brian Maurer (West Port) and Kimo Clarke (Vanguard).
In the end, Trent Whittemore made the grade for an award that will be sought after for years to come.
“There’s something special about the heart of Florida,” Brantley said. “We just thought instead of doing Marion County, we’d expand it to other counties.”
“This is an honor to have this award and you’ve got to give all of the credit to the Ocala Quarterback Club for making this happen. Buddy Martin has done a lot to make this happen. Hopefully, this award continues on for 50-60 years and it becomes something that young men shoot for.”
Trent Whittemore will be presented the Brantley Trophy by Brantley himself on April 12 at the Reilly Arts Center in Ocala.
A celebrity speaker for the event will be announced soon.
Brantley was the nation’s No. 1 player as a senior, as well as an All-American, All-South and All-State pick in 1975.
Along the way, Brantley led the Wildcats to three straight road wins over ranked teams to close the playoffs, which is the only time this has been done in state playoff history since the tournament began in 1963.
After high school, Brantley was an All-SEC linebacker at the University of Florida, followed by a 10-year NFL career at linebacker for the Tampa Bay Bucs.
During the early part of Brantley’s career with the Bucs, he helped them to the playoffs twice, which continued a run where Tampa Bay was the only team in the NFL during that span to reach the playoffs three times in a four year period.
Brantley played a big role in putting the qualities of the award together, which Whittemore exemplified.
Those factors included: On-field excellence, academics, leadership, athleticism, commitment, recommitment, faith, goal orientation, character and conscience.
“Trent is a very humble student-athlete,” said his father and Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore. “He’s exceptional in the classroom. He’s never had a B. He’s an exceptional leader and he is also very reserved.
“He’s a follower of Jesus Christ and he sticks to his guns in his devotion and his service to the Lord Jesus Christ and it shows in how he carries himself.
“So saying that, I feel this award in Scot’s honor, that in the Whittemore family’s mind, Scot is a 100 percent or nothing player. He gave great effort when he played all of the time and we respect that, so this award is just a tremendous honor.”