As Creed Whittemore was seated during the presentation of the Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football award at Buchholz High School on Wednesday afternoon, he noticed some of the names on the trophy.
“Guys like Tim Tebow, Daunte Culpepper, Derrick Henry, I saw a bunch of names I knew so it’s cool to be on that trophy,” he said. “I’ll be on there when kids are getting it five years from now. It’s definitely something that I wanted to accomplish and I’m glad we did.”
Whittemore was quick to deflect the praise because of his humble nature.
“It’s hard to put all the glory on yourself because those guys made catches for me that, maybe it wasn’t the best pass or maybe it wasn’t the best call, or the best read, and those guys helped me out,” he said. “I think it’s something the school has to accomplish more than one kid.”
But humbleness aside, if you’ve ever seen Whittemore play, you would understand why a writer for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville called him the “Alachua County Superman.”
“I know he would resist that moniker ‘Superman,’” said his dad and former head coach Mark Whittemore, who stepped down at the end of this past season. “His faith is very important to him. He tries to stay as humble as possible, but I will say this, he did some things on the football field that were a lot of fun to watch. His motor was incredible. There were times after games where he was laying on the field just totally spent, so he’s one of those kids that just lays it all on the line and I think that’s what made him so special to watch.”
So special that this past December the Mississippi State signee was named Florida’s Mr. Football, given to the state’s best football player, by the Florida Dairy Farmers. He easily won the award by finishing with 15 of the 25 first-place votes.
“Creed’s an outstanding human being, number one, comes from a great family, we know the Whittemores, and he’s done a great job of leading our football program,” said Buchholz Athletics Director Ron Brooks. “He’s been a great leader on campus, just a great honor and we appreciate the Florida Dairy Farmers and them recognizing Creed.”
Whittemore, who was the Class 4S Player of the Year, led Buchholz (10-3) to its second straight state semifinal appearance by completing 179-of-305 passes for 2,693 yards with 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,285 yards (8.29 yards per carry) and 17 TDs.
He also had six interceptions on defense.
“I think it’s just a testament to Buchholz football,” Whittemore said. “I can’t do what I did without the guys and just what we accomplished going to the final four, the elite eight, you can’t get those yards without playing that many games. It’s just impossible so if you look at the guys on this trophy most of them either won state, went to the final four, went deep in the playoffs, so I think everybody contributes to it. I was just the person that had the ball in his hands so I’m thankful, I’m grateful.”
The new Bulldog also received a video presentation with congratulations and best wishes from Buchholz alums Lamar Thomas and Doug Johnson, among others, plus former Gator quarterback Shane Matthews.
There were trophies on the table, current and former Buchholz players in attendance, plus a milk toast, of course.
His dad was soaking it all in on his milk mustache.
“It means a lot as a dad, as a coach, as a former Bobcat, as a Bobcat coach, this is our community, this is where we’ve been for years and years, so many memories, you take those special memories and it all culminates with Creed winning this,” he said. “It’s special for us as a family, for his brothers, everybody that we’ve connected with over the years in so many ways, so yeah it’s a tremendous blessing to have this as a memory. Really neat.”
Now, Mr. Football has a new chapter to begin.
Whittemore just went through his first spring practice with Mississippi State.
He is in a battle for the No. 2 spot at slot receiver.
“Spring practice was really good,” he said. “I was excited to early enroll. I think it’s a good opportunity for freshmen around the country to go in and get acclimated to college life more than anything. Football was good. We switched offensive coordinators obviously, with the passing of Coach (Mike) Leach and I think we got 10 times better from the beginning to the end of spring. We’re looking forward to the fall. We’ve got a lot of home games and a lot of big rivalries, and I hope we can come out on top.”
His dad feels like he made the right choice on his college decision.
“I thought his spring went tremendous,” the elder Whittemore said. “He’s really enjoying the whole climate there at Mississippi State. His personality really, really fits in well there in that community. Starkville (MS) is a really unique place so he’s embraced it, embraced the culture, and I think it’s going to be a great place for him to blossom.”
If you ever watched Tebow play, you were glad that you did.”
I saw Whittemore play many times, and I’m just as thankful that I did.
Thanks for the memories, Mr. Football.