Whitver strong addition to ensemble cast

Zac Reicks

He is virtually an unknown on an offense littered with star players.

Whether blocking downfield or catching important passes at important junctions of a game, the little things he does go a long way in deciding the final outcome.

Quiet and unassuming, this Cyclone doesn’t care what his final stats read by the end of the game, as long as there is a “W” in the win column.

He is Jack Whitver.

A sophomore wide receiver, Whitver caught his first career touchdown pass in Iowa State’s 41-0 drubbing of the Baylor Bears Saturday afternoon.

While his first touchdown was overshadowed by quarterback Seneca Wallace’s record-setting day, his score put an exclamation point on a lopsided first half that was all Iowa State.

The five-foot-11-inch, 177-pound walk-on from Grinnell caught his first touchdown pass with only 17 seconds remaining on a play that had been successful for the Cyclones before.

“On the drive before, we ran the same play, and Seneca threw it to a different guy,” Whitver said.

“When it was called again at the goal line, I knew I would be open, and we made it work.”

Whitver’s sliding, 11-yard grab made it 24-0, and Iowa State never looked back from there.

While Whitver doesn’t get in the end zone every game, he makes sure he is consistent on every snap.

“I take a lot of pride in my downfield blocking,” Whitver said. “It is just as important as catching the ball to us wide receivers.”

The wide receiver situation looked pretty wide open at the beginning of spring practice. With Craig Campbell being the only returnee who had taken a lot of snaps, head coach Dan McCarney knew he would need to find talent that could replace graduating seniors J.J. Moses and Chris Anthony.

“Starting last spring, I got a lot of reps with the number one offense and just carried it into the fall,” Whitver said. “We learned a lot from Chris and J.J. about how to be complete players.”

Another reason for Whitver’s success is the talent that surrounds him on the offense.

“Seneca’s a special player and he showed that [Saturday],” Whitver said.

“He got six or seven guys involved, and it felt good to have everyone make plays.”

So far 10 players have made catches for the Cyclones this year, and that is just another credit to the decisions made by Wallace and the plays called by his coaching staff.

While Baylor was looking to stop Ennis Haywood, Whitver knew that the receivers were going to have to step it up.

“Baylor’s game plan was to stop Ennis, and we knew that coming in,” Whitver said. “We knew we were going to throw the ball a lot today, and we did just that.”

Iowa State has had success with walk on players in the past, and this year is no different. Current Cyclones Lane Danielsen, Jordan Carstens and Marcel Howard join Whitver as starters who are making a difference in this young season.

So while someone might not remember seeing Whitver’s name over and over again in the stat book, they can be certain he will be there on the field, making sure opposing teams know who he is.