Whittemore snags 'surreal' TD, lives up to 'White Chocolate' nickname
Nicknamed “White Chocolate” by some of his teammates, wide receiver Trent Whittemore officially introduced himself to Gator Nation on Saturday.
The redshirt freshman made just two catches for 30 yards in Florida’s 38-24 win over South Carolina, but both will make his season highlight reel.
“We’ve seen a lot of great things in practice all the time,” UF coach Dan Mullen said of Whittemore, a Gainesville native who caught his first career touchdown in the Swamp. “I’m sure it was even more exciting for him than me, being a local guy growing up here and growing up as a Gator. Getting that opportunity is pretty special.
"A guy that finds a way to get open, such an intelligent football player, he’s got great hands. You saw has athletic ability also on that big catch he made across the middle."
His first reception in the opening quarter showed why Whittemore was described as “freakishly athletic” in Gators Territory’s recent feature on him.
Quarterback Kyle Trask threw it up under duress to the 6-foot-4, 208-pound Whittemore, who turned his body in mid-air and high-pointed the ball to make a 26-yard snag.
“The defense played that pretty well and I saw the defender with his back turned,” Trask said. “I know Trent has great ball skills. So with the defender’s back turned I was trying to rip it at him as long as the defender couldn’t see. And he went up and made a huge play.”
His leaping reception set the offense up inside the red zone, and Trask threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Pitts on the next play to give Florida a 14-7 lead.
“Oh My! What a catch by Whittemore,” Mick Hubert said on the call. “He went sky high and made the grab.”
Running back Dameon Pierce wasn’t surprised by his ups.
“White Chocolate, baby,” Pierce said of Whittemore’s first-quarter grab. “White man can jump.”
Whittemore showed that to his teammates in late February, when the players had a dunk contest and he threw down a 360-degree tomahawk slam. He starred on the Buchholz basketball team, so the shoe fits with his nickname — which is the same former Gators hoops player and NBA champion Jason Williams.
“Basketball is a great little pastime for me,” said Whittemore, who could dunk in eighth grade. “I think me and Ant [Anthony Richardson] are two of the best basketball players on the team, so representing Gainesville there.
Who would win a dunk-off between him and the freshman quarterback?
“I’m going to have to take Ant,” Whittemore said. “I can do a little bit, but he’s got the full package. I’ll let him take that one.”
On his first career touchdown, Whittemore once again had to adjust for the ball and made a juggling four-yard catch while falling backwards in the end zone.
“Even though he caught it twice,” Pierce said jokingly, “hey, he got the touch baby, I’m happy for him. That’s the first of many.”
The fans in the South end zone bleachers and several nearby sections did some hardcore celebrating after Whittemore scored right in front of them. It was a special scene for the 352 product.
“I had family in the stands today and obviously growing up in Gainesville, I know quite a few people,” Whittemore said. “I’ve been here for 19 years, so you meet a couple of people along the way. Just having my family and friends there was huge for me.
“It was surreal (to score). That’s a great way to describe it. Growing up and watching so many Gator games and being at some too, it’s just a super cool moment. I’m just praising the Lord that they gave me that opportunity today.”