More than 110 carries will be replaced in the Owls’ 2018 backfield following Buddy Howell’s departure, giving Whyte an opportunity to prove he is more than a scat back, but rather an every down talent.
Whyte, who was competing with several candidates for second team duties in the spring, found after evaluating his film that he needed to add strength to become a more integral part of FAU’s offensive plans.
“Well actually this summer was really big for me,” Whyte said. “I was like, You know what? I know what I need to do. So, I actually got a little bigger.”
And by a little, he was speaking lightly.
With help from strength and conditioning coach Wilson Love and his notoriously rigorous workout program, Whyte gained 12 pounds this offseason, putting him at 205 on his 5-foot-10 frame at the start of fall camp.
Although Whyte’s game has been predicated on electrifying short area burst and quickness – last season Whyte became the first FAU player to return a kickoff for a touchdown – he isn’t worried about his new-and-improved larger frame hindering that ability.
Despite the added bulk, Whyte said he still “maintained my explosion and speed.” Whyte said.
FAU coach Lane Kiffin reiterated that, despite the loss of Singletary’s running mate in Howell, he will fit his offense to his personnel and not vice versa. A more powerfully built Whyte might keep him from making too many alterations to the game plan.
Whyte averaged 6.3 yards per carry as the third option out of FAU’s backfield last season, only a shade less than Singletary’s 6.4. Now with the diversification of his game and the absence of Howell, Whyte is aiming to maintain that success over a more extended sample size than the 62 touches he had in 2017.
“It’s definitely a different year, and a new attitude,” Whyte said. “You always want to raise the bar and do better than you did last season.”
The competition for carries behind the Heisman hopeful Singletary is steep with promising players like sophomore Tyrek Tisdale – still recovering from offseason surgery – freshman Malcolm Davidson, Gerald Hearns and D’Anfernee McGriff in the fold, but Whyte plans on making an impact regardless of how the rotation ends up shaking out.
“I’m just ready to get to work and see how that works out,” Whyte said.