Alpharetta (GA) Chattahoochee wideout Kane Whitehurst made one thing perfectly clear going into his Arkansas official - if an offer came he would not be taking next week's trip scheduled for Vanderbilt.
He can cancel those flight plans to Nashville.
As it turns out, Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino and assistant Steve Caldwell – who visited Whitehurst at his school recently – had already offered Whitehurst (5-11, 175, 4.4).
"The funny thing is that Coach Caldwell said they actually offered me two weeks ago when they came by the school," Whitehurst said. "I kind of thought that was the deal, but I wanted to be certain about it before I started running around talking to people about it.
"Before I left on Sunday, I met with Coach Petrino and he said ‘I want you to be a part of the team," Whitehurst said. "I just said ‘I'd love to be.'"
The opportunity to play for Arkansas is something that Whitehurst – whose cousin is former Clemson and current Seattle Seahawks back up Charlie Whitehurst - relishes.
It came about when Razorback coaches were in Chattahoochee to see defensive end Barron Dixon and became enamored with Whitehurst's athleticism and speed, which has already landed him the nickname Kane White Burst on the Arkansas Scout.com board.
"We are all so excited about Arkansas," Whitehurst said. "It's playing football at the highest level, in the best conference in football – and in the SEC West, which is the best division of football. Arkansas program is really coming on and we are going to be competing for championship in both the SEC and on the national level."
Whitehurst was one of the most prolific players in the Georgia prep ranks this season with 2,234 all-purpose yards on 116 touches – 1,378 of those coming via 70 receptions.
He scored a whopping 24 touchdowns - 17 TD catches and also finding the goal line four times on kickoffs, twice via the rush and also took a fumble recovery to the house for a team that won the Class 4A state championship on Dec. 10.
"It was wonderful, magical season for both the team and myself," Whitehurst said.
Whitehurst, who played quarterback his previous two seasons for Duluth Northview, flew under the radar until near the end of his senior season.
His switch to Chattahoochee, where Arkansas native Terry Crowder is head coach, proved to be a godsend for him.
Not only was he was a key part of a 15-0 team that won the Class 4A state championship, but he got a chance to flourish ad use his athletic skill.
"It has all really worked out for me, going from a 1-9 season (at Northview) to a 15-0 one and a state championship at Chattahoochee - and having the opportunity to play at Arkansas because of getting to show what I can do.
"Coach Petrino said that he thinks I can play in the SEC at a very high level and I know that I can," Whitehurst added. "I am very excited about getting to prove that.
Whitehurst appeared headed for Appalachian State before the interest developed from Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
He had offers from Eastern Michigan, Tulane and Troy.
"But I thought App State was going to be the best fit for me out of those schools for their offense and just the quality of their program," Whitehurst said. "It's not D-I, but they play those programs and have had a great deal of success.
"But then Arkansas comes along and has everything a wide receiver could want," Whitehurst added. "A great coach who is an offensive genius, great quarterbacking play and playing at the highest level of play in the highest level of college football I'd be crazy not be overjoyed for an opportunity to play in this offense."
Because he is a speedy white receiver, the inevitable comparisons come along with former Texas Tech and current New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker as well as former Texas wideout Jordan Shipley, who is now a Cincinnati Bengal.
"Yes, those the names that come up, probably Jordan Shipley more because of the speed," Whitehurst said. "But I wouldn't say I model my game after those guys. I just try to play at a high level as they do. I do my own thing, but it's flattering."
Whitehurst thinks his background as a quarterback makes him a better receiver than if he had started at that position.
"I know where the holes are in a defense to get open and can process the plays with a quarterback's mind," Whitehurst said. "I really think that understanding of the game helps my routes and then I can just catch it and go."
Ironically, Chattahoochee won the state title over Starrs' Mill of Fayetteville, the same name of the he will be playing his college football in.
"I just couldn't be any happier than I am today," Whitehurst said. "I am going to come in and work hard every day and just try to help our football team win championships."
Whitehurst to Arkansas
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