Receiver Trent Whittemore has chance to carve out a bigger role in Florida's offense

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports
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Trent Whittemore has shown steady progress at receiver in each of his first three seasons with the Florida football team.

Whittemore could carve out a bigger role in the offense for the Gators this upcoming season. He’s been consistent throughout camp and is emerging as one of the leaders in a position group that will look to make more big plays under first-year coach Billy Napier

"We have a lot of good leadership in the room,” Whittemore said. “Guys who have played some ball. (Justin) Shorter and Xzavier Henderson are guys that provide great leadership … along with myself in that room. I think we'll be ready to surprise some people during the season."

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Gators receiver Trent Whittemore (14) jumps for a catch during football practice at Sanders Outdoor Practice Fields in Gainesville, on Aug. 16, 2022.

Gainesville native preparing to play at any of three receiver spots

Whittemore played mostly in the slot the last two seasons under former head coach Dan Mullen. In 29 games over the last two seasons, Whittemore has posted 29 catches for 338 yards and 2 TDs.

The 6-foot-3, 206-pound Whittemore is preparing this fall camp to play any of the three receiver spots on the field.

“Coach Napier is going to put everybody in the right spot to make optimal plays,” Whittemore said. “So I don't want to limit myself to any direct spot on the field. I just go wherever I'm placed that week as far as game plan goes. And like I said, Coach Napier is a great offensive mind and I think he'll change up some looks throughout the year and that will be to our benefit."

Florida receiver Trent Whittemore (14) makes a one-handed catch during a practice at the Sanders Outdoor Practice Fields on the University of Florida campus, Aug. 11, 2022.

Rather than focus on anything specific, Whittemore said his offseason development consisted of working on his all-around game. He's caught most targets thrown to him in individual drills, including some nifty one-handed catches on sideline routes.

“Just coming to work every day and continuing to just improve as an overall receiver, whether that's route running, catching the football, blocking,” Whittemore said. “I'm someone who just wants to better myself and make a bigger contribution to the team every chance I get. That's how I view each year, as another chance to take a step forward and help the team out even more than I did previously.

Whittemore played quarterback at Gainesville's Buccholz High School

As a former quarterback at Buchholz High in Gainesville, Whittemore passed for 1,026 yards and 12 TDs in his high school career. Mullen used Whittemore’s throwing ability to UF’s advantage on trick plays. He threw two TD passes for the Gators last season, one for 13-yards against Tennessee and one for six yards against Missouri.

As for whether there will be any more trick plays under Napier, Whittemore responded: “That's probably not something we could give away.”

Whittemore is using his experience converting from quarterback in high school to receiver in college to help redshirt freshman receiver Kahleil Jackson, who is making a similar transition. Jackson played high school football at Hawthorne under head coach Cornelius Ingram, who converted from quarterback to tight end during his UF career (2004-08).

“We definitely talk,” Whittemore said. “Guys who’ve kind of seen the field from that QB position, it helps, and it allows you to, as you run routes, kind of talk to other guys, you know, ‘the quarterbacks probably seen it like this,’ we might say to each other, because we've actually played the position, and it gives you a good perspective on ‘OK, what can I do here to help myself get open?’ ”

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