BIG BOOM: Whittington chooses Texas

Jordan Whittington. (Joe Cook/IT)

Jordan Whittington. (Joe Cook/IT)

Get FREE premium access until April 4th, then pay a reduced monthly rate for five months! Click HERE to sign up now!

CUERO, Tx — Several power programs identified Jordan Whittington early in his recruitment, including Ohio State, Florida, and UCLA. Texas eventually jumped into the mix.

Today, Whittington decided he wanted to be a Longhorn.

Though able to play multiple positions, Whittington has made it clear he wants to play receiver at the next level. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Cuero had a top group of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida, UCLA, and Ohio State.

Our Joe Cook spoke to Cuero head coach Travis Reeve about UT’s newest addition.

What about Jordan’s play when you first started coaching him really stuck out to you?
“He’s a dynamic athlete. He’s able to make plays all over the field on both sides of the ball and special teams. He’s got a high IQ period, but he’s got a high football IQ as well. He’s just a naturally gifted football player.”

What does he bring to the field when he plays offense?
“He’s a great route runner, number one. He’s a home run threat on every play. Teams have got to be aware of him and where he’s at. He can win one-on-one matchups often times. When he commands double-teams, certainly that makes things better for his teammates. It makes us better as an offense.”

What does he bring to the field when he plays defense?
“He’s a special player at safety. In the past, he’s been able to cover team’s best receivers if necessary. He can play center-field and make plays from sideline-to-sideline. He’s able to do whatever we ask him to do. He’s just got great ball skills. He’s certainly a great safety net for us back there in the secondary.”

Heading into his senior year, what presence does Jordan have in the Cuero locker room?
“This is going to be his fourth year. He started for us both ways as a freshman when we went to the semi-finals. Leadership-wise, he’s done a good job on the leadership end. Certainly he’s a great competitor. I think his teammates feed off of that competitiveness and confidence. When he’s engaged, which he always is, and has his mind set on getting ready to play the best we can against an opponent, the rest of his teammates follow suit. He’s done a good job leadership-wise.”

Jordan Whittington. (Joe Cook/IT)

Jordan Whittington. (Joe Cook/IT)

Being one of the best players from a town like Cuero brings attention from the whole city. How has he in those four years handled that type of pressure?
“I think he’s handled it great. The amount of attention that he has received, not only locally but quite honestly nationally, is really unusual for a high school athlete. That kind of attention can lead a kid astray or can make him feel like he’s better than everybody else. Jordan really hasn’t taken that approach. He’s humble. He still recognizes that what we’re trying to accomplish as a high school football team is the most important thing right now. Of course, he’s preparing himself for college and going through the recruiting process. He has a bright future ahead, but at the same time he hasn’t forgotten the task that we’re trying to do as a team here in Cuero. I’ve been real proud of him for that.”

Excerpt from the Recruiting Notebook (2/2018):

How he fits at Texas: We’ve been watching Whittington for a while now and it looks like his junior year is one in which he really started to nail down a future as a wide receiver rather than just being a great, raw athlete. He runs great routes on his junior film, which is no shock if you know that he had 1,457 receiving yards and 16 TDs that season. He’s been clocked at 4.07 in the shuttle and he really puts his foot speed to work setting up routes and creating separation at the right times. Texas could fit him just about anywhere since he combines pure speed with great change of direction but also some decent size and the ability to catch jump balls. They’ll probably just move him around to multiple spots in order to get him the ball. – IB 

Coach Says: Strengths – A thickly-built and muscular player. Very good short area quickness and agility. Efficient body mechanics. Catches away from his body with very soft hands. Good adjustment to poorly thrown balls. Knows how to get separation and shows uncanny ability to do so. Generally good route runner with multiple route types on film. Very good balance and tough to bring down in the open field. Good vision and is immediately looking for daylight or pay dirt with the ball in his hands. Extremely productive junior year with 65 receptions for 1,318 yards and 16 TDs. This included a 300-yd, 5-TD game in the opener. Very productive on defense which includes three interceptions. Very physical from the safety position which translates into a plus-blocker on offense. Quite fun to watch. Could be even more productive with better QB play. Areas for improvement / Concern – No huge concerns here. Doesn’t show elite speed on video. Decelerates a bit on change of direction. Sometimes rounds off his cuts. Did not see a lot of press coverage on film as teams weren’t taking that chance.

How this affects Texas: Jordan might be the best overall football player in Texas. His combination of size, strength, and athleticism has been well documented on this site for two years. He wants to play wide receiver, so tell him he can, even though I think he’s better utilized at safety. UT will take 4-5 pass-catchers in this class and Whittington is a priority. He’s changed his decision date a handful of times, but we anticipate he’ll announce on March 10th. This kid is likely staying close to home, and I like UT’s chances here over the Aggies. – JW

Whittington is the third member of Texas’ 2019 class joining T’Vondre Sweat (Huntsville), and Roschon Johnson (Port Neches-Groves).