USF athletics will need a major overhaul of next year’s football media guide if wide receiver Huey Whittaker has his way with the record books.
Whittaker, who entered Saturday’s game against Louisville tied with DeAndrew Rubin for third all-time receiver with 91 receptions, moved past his former teammate with nine receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. He now sits in third place by himself, four catches behind former wideout Charlie Jackson.
“Coaches called my number — that’s what I expected, that’s what I wanted,” Whittaker said. “I just kept making the play and kept the chains moving.
“(100 career receptions) is a good thing, but I just want to play, I don’t think about that stuff until the end of my season — until the end of my career — I just play.”
At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, Whittaker appears to have become a favorite of quarterback Ronnie Banks, who threw his first three completions to the Bulls’ leading receiver Saturday, the third one a touchdown to tie the game at 7 early in the first quarter.
“We always knew we had a good connection,” Whittaker said. “(Banks) is looking my way more often. That’s a good thing and I take that into consideration, run hard and catch the ball.”
If Whittaker’s performance in Saturday’s victory against Louisville is an indication of things to come, USF’s record books will need to be completely rewritten.
Whittaker’s nine catches and 96 yards were both season highs, while his nine receptions tied his career-high. He also blocked a field goal in the second quarter.
“He had a heck of a game, he really did,” USF coach Jim Leavitt said. “I thought he had great concentration throughout the game. Sometimes he doesn’t stay strong with his concentration, but I thought he did tonight, and his blocking was really good.”
With 23 receptions in four games, Whittaker is on track to surpass a personal record of 52 receptions in a season, set in 2001. If Whittaker can break his personal best by just two catches, he can claim his place at the top of the career receptions list by passing former USF player Hugh Smith, who holds the record with 131 catches.
A knee injury in 2002 kept Whittaker out for one game but he managed only 26 catches for 383 yards.
Whittaker is a transfer out of Hudson Valley ( N.Y.) Community College. After the transfer Whittaker redshirted in 2000 before setting school records in catches and yards in 2001.