Trent Whittemore needed less than a week to make a decision that could shape the rest of his life.
With his sophomore year at Gainesville’s Buchholz High nearing its conclusion, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Whittemore verbally committed Monday to coach Jim McElwain and became the sixth member of Florida’s 2019 class.
A two-sport athlete at BHS and the son of Bobcats head football coach Mark Whittemore, Trent is just seeing his football recruitment pick up.
But with nearly two years until he completes high school, and with a positive evaluation from UF’s coaching staff, it’s more than likely other universities take notice.
— Trent Whittemore (@trentt_whitt) May 28, 2017
“In my head, I knew that Florida definitely had the inside track on me. When I got that offer, I knew that definitely they were my number one. I didn’t want to come to a quick or rushed conclusion,” Whittemore said. “But last Sunday I was really feeling confident that I wanted to be a Gator, so I went ahead and committed.”
Born in Gainesville, Whittemore has been a fan of the Gators since before he can remember. His father played wide receiver on the Bobcats’ state title team in 1990 before having a proficient career at UCF from 1991-1994.
But when Whittemore sought advice on possibly attending his hometown university, he turned to his mother, Missy Aggertt Whittemore.
Gators volleyball coach Mary Wise signed Aggertt out of Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1992, and by the end of her senior season at UF, Aggertt would have her No. 19 jersey hung from the rafters.
“Obviously she had a great career at Florida and a great experience at the university as a whole, so it definitely had an influence on me,” Whittemore said. “She wasn’t pushing anything too hard, my parents are going to let me make a decision for myself. But she was definitely a positive influence on my decision.”
When it’s come to his athletic direction, however, Mark Whittemore has been there every step of the way. Before arriving back at his alma mater, Mark spent two seasons coaching Trent and his older brother Luke at Cornerstone Academy. Like Mark, Trent and Luke looked like natural fits at the wide receiver position.
Congrats to sophomore Trent Whittemore on his commitment to UF football. Playing safety at DBU is BIG TIME. Go Bobcats and Gators!
— Buchholz High School (@BuchholzHigh) May 30, 2017
Yet when it came time for Luke, who signed a letter of intent Feb. 1 to play wide receiver at Troy University, to work on his technique and footwork, Trent would happily oblige. And it wasn’t just football. Trent wanted to compete, and he wanted his older brother to test him.
“It was a lot of fun, we played a lot of 1-on-1 in basketball, a lot of covering each other in the front yard with our dad throwing to us,” Whittemore said. “Obviously we were on the same high school team for the past two years, two really, really great years. I hope he has a great career at Troy, I know he’ll do big things.”
Soon, he wasn’t just playing wide receiver and defensive back. As a 13-year-old at Cornerstone Academy, Trent was quickly developing on the basketball court and people were noticing.
“I was doing track and started jumping pretty well, and that’s when I first started dunking,” Whittemore said. “I was 6-foot-1, probably like 150 pounds.”
As an underclassmen last season, Whittemore led the Bobcats in scoring with 19.9 points per game and was named to the Sun Preps All-Area First Team. While he seemingly exudes basketball talent, Whittemore is adamant football is his top priority, and that committing to the Gators means more than any Division I college basketball offers.
“I’m definitely 100% playing college football,” Whittemore said. “I really enjoy basketball but I’m not interested in being recruited by anybody in basketball.”
Whittemore said coach Greg Nord, who handled his recruitment, didn’t express any ideas about what position he would play. But to a player like Trent who enjoys the challenge of playing on both sides of the field, not being pigeonholed into a position may be for the best.
“I don’t really see myself as either (a receiver or defensive back). To be honest I’m not too concerned about that at the moment,” Whittemore said. “I’m just going to finish out playing at Buchholz, whatever they need me to play, and then when I get to UF, whatever the coaches have in mind for me I’ll do that.
“As far as positions go, I just want to be on the field.”