Jahiem White has a simple goal for 2024: score more touchdowns

Apr. 23—MORGANTOWN — West Virginia running back Jahiem White burst on the scene in the second half of his freshman season last year.

The York, Pa. native ran for 657 yards and added 119 yards receiving over the final six games of 2023. He finished the year with 967 yards from scrimmage on just 114 touches, more than eight yards per touch.

By all metrics, it was a stellar debut campaign for White, one that didn't surprise the confident sophomore.

"Me coming in and playing how I played last year wasn't really a surprise, " he said. "It was just a matter of time and when I got on the field, I showed my talent."

Long runs were a big part of White's game in 2023, when he had eight runs longer than 20 yards. One thing White was displeased with last season, however, was how few of those runs finished in the end zone.

"(My focus this spring is) getting into the end zone more, that's really it, " White said.

For as many yards as White piled up last season, he only found the end zone six times, four on the ground and twice through the air.

Part of the reason for that was the fact that running mate CJ Donaldson is an elite short-yardage runner. Donaldson, a junior, barreled into the end zone 11 times in 2023 and had a scoring streak of nine-consecutive games.

White believes the other part was that he didn't do a good-enough job finishing off those long runs. White had two 32-yard runs against BYU, a 47-yard run against Cincinnati and runs of 57 and 25 yards against Baylor, none of which finished in the end zone.

To remedy that, White has been in the weight room this offseason.

"It's my speed and acceleration from the second level, " White said. "It's working out with (strength) coach Mike Joseph. He runs everything in the weight room with strength, speed and conditioning."

He's also being more mindful of finishing runs in practice. Practice habits were a point of emphasis for White throughout his freshman season.

"My main thing was finishing my runs after the plays are done just to get a game-like rep, " he said. "I feel like I've had a great spring. Doing all the little things, workouts, practice, off the field, everything."

Another way for White to score more touchdowns will simply be staying on the field for longer. Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Chad Scott said White was limited on third down last season because he needed to work on his pass protection.

"On first and second down, that kid's absolutely special, " Scott said. "What he needs to work on this spring is pass protection recognition. ... If he can become a three-down back, he's going to be on a whole other level."

WVU fans' next look at White will come this Saturday in the annual Gold-Blue Spring Game. Action from Milan Puskar Stadium will begin at noon.

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