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After redshirting as a freshman at Clemson in 2001, Whitehurst took over the starting quarterback duties from Willie Simmons the second half of the 2002 campaign.
Whitehurst went on to complete 123 of 214 passes (57.5 percent) for 1,554 yards, ten touchdowns and six interceptions while appearing in nine contests that year. He ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 145.0 passer efficiency rating.
The 2003 season was Whitehurst's coming out party. He set school single-season records for most pass attempts (465), pass completions (288), passing efficiency (min. 300 attempts; 135.6), passing yards (3,561), most 200-yard passing games (11), most 300-yard passing games (5), most touchdown passes (21) and total offensive plays (557).
As memorable as the 2003 season was, the 2004 campaign was just as forgettable. Whitehurst would manage only seven touchdown passes while being intercepted 17 times. He hit on 177 of 349 passes (50.7 percent) for 2,067 yards and rushed for 43 yards and a score on 80 carries. In addition to his 17 interceptions, he was sacked 25 times and fumbled the ball a team-high ten times.
With the addition of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rob Spence, Whitehurst finally found a mentor before the 2005 season. He drastically improved his accuracy, but was still prone to throwing the costly interception or getting sacked. Whitehurst completed 67.4 percent of his passes (229 of 340) for 2,483 yards and eleven touchdowns. However, he was sacked 20 times for losses of 150 yards, threw ten interceptions and fumbled five times. Whitehurst did stretch the field more often, as 36 of his pass completions were for 20 yards or longer.
In 44 games with the Tigers, Whitehurst completed 817 of 1,368 passes (59.7 percent) for 9,665 yards, 49 touchdowns and 46 interceptions. He set forty-one school records, including career marks for most pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, 200-yard passing games (24) and 300-yard passing games (8). He also scored ten times while netting 98 yards on 266 carries. Whitehurst started a record 37 consecutive games for the Tigers between 2002 and 2005, but the streak ended when he did not play against Duke due to a sore shoulder. Whitehurst had surgery on Dec. 1, 2005 to correct the problem, returning to the field for his final game vs. Colorado in the Champs Sports Bowl.
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Scott Rhymer can be reached at email@example.com