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Whittington taking the field as a Longhorn

By Robert Proctor

The Cuero Record

Less than two months remain until Cuero’s Jordan Whittington will take the field for his first competitive game as a Texas Longhorn. The anticipation is probably starting to become more evident for Gobbler fans, who watched Whittington develop into one of the top high school football players in the country over the last four years in Cuero. The wait will come to an end on Saturday, Aug. 31, when Texas takes the field against Louisiana Tech.

Until then, let’s take a brief look back at Whittington’s standout time in Cuero and take a glimpse into what’s to come. In only his freshman season, Whittington became a force on both sides of the ball. He earned first-team all-district honors at wide receiver and defensive back while helping lead Cuero to the state semifinals for the first time since 2009. Whittington finished that season with 33 catches for 454 yards and one touchdown while running for 415 yards on 55 carries with five touchdowns. The following season, Cuero began to air the ball out a little more with a trio of talented receivers led by Whittington.

He accounted for 795 yards and 14 touchdowns on 45 receptions as a sophomore in 2016. Though Cuero was eliminated in the regional semifinals by Navarro, Whittington emerged even more as a presence unlike many other high school players. After receiving several NCAA-Division I offers following his freshman season, the national intrigue in Whittington began to explode during his second season as a Gobbler. In total, he would amass 30 DI offers from top programs across the nation, according to 247sports. Despite the influx of attention early in the recruiting process, Whittington’s focus was on being a leader and simply doing his part to help Cuero win games.

As a junior, Cuero lost in the same round as the year before. Whittington totaled 139 yards in the last game of the season against Wimberley and also broke the 1,000 yard receiving mark for the first time with 1,457 yards and 18 touchdowns on a whopping 73 catches. Even with all those great numbers and so many notable colleges around the nation courting him, Whittington still had unfinished business, along with his entire class, entering his senior year: a state championship which had eluded Cuero since 1987.

Let’s rewind. Over the course of his first three seasons in Cuero, Whittington had posted incredible production at wide receiver and running back, not to mention his play-making ability as a safety and in the returning game; he also would have the pick of where he’d play college football, yet winning with his teammates and for his community stood at the forefront.

That championship mentality would soon pay dividends. Entering his senior season, a groin injury would prevent Whittington from taking the field until the sixth game of the season in mid-October. During those first five games, he missed his final game against Cuero’s biggest rival, the Yoakum Bulldogs, a game which also went down as the Gobblers’ only loss of 2018.

In only 11 games, Whittington produced 948 yards and 13 touchdowns on 49 receptions along with an unbelievable 848 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 59 carries. Eleven games seems like a lot after missing the first five. That’s because Cuero reached their first state title game since 2004, rattling off 14 straight wins after the loss to Yoakum. Whittington somehow saved his best performance for last.

Under the lights at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Whittington was unstoppable coming out of Cuero’s backfield. His 334 rushing yards and six touchdowns broke Eric Dickerson’s 4A state championship game rushing record and Jonathan Gray’s record for all state title games outside of six-man. Yet, it was not about the numbers but about the win.

Now, Whittington, who enrolled at Texas in January, is projected as the number two running back entering the season. He may also see time at receiver and in the return game. For once, though, all eyes may not be on him, as Texas returns some key players from a season which ended with a massive win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Whether he’s the focus or not, he’ll be hard to miss with the ball in his hands.

Either way, the goal is to win, and he knows how to do that as well as anyone.

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