White saving best for last

Keenan Cummings, Managing Editor
WV Sports

While senior safety Kyzir White has NFL bloodlines for now he’s only focused on only being the best college football player that he can be in his final season at West Virginia.

White arrived in the summer as a junior college transfer with high expectations considering he garnered scholarship offers from programs such as USC, Oklahoma and Penn State. But even with those lofty prospects, the SPUR safety started all 12-games he played and finished with 58 tackles.

That’s impressive already but when you consider that White was still learning much of the defense and getting comfortable in a new role it becomes even more so. The one-time junior college prospect lined up as a deep safety at that level but was always tailored to become an in-the-box player in Morgantown.

That took some adjusting.

“It was different I was out of my comfort zone,” he said.

Instead of the big-bodied wide receivers, White was now dealing with the much quicker, shifty inside pass catchers that make it difficult to get a hand on them at all times. And while he never busted an assignment that resulted in a touchdown in the first half of the season, White admits that his head was spinning at times and it took him a while to settle into the pace of high level division one football.

“I was playing real fast but I didn’t necessarily think I knew what I was doing all the time,” he admitted.

But it was the position that the West Virginia coaching staff envisioned White filling from the moment they extended a scholarship offer and he bought into the move. In fact, one of the reasons he selected the Mountaineers was the fact that he had an opportunity to carve out a path to playing time early.

Still he was ready to work for anything and before he ever got on campus he was picking his brother Ka’Raun’s brain as well as studying film of the former SPUR KJ Dillon.

“I just had to get more familiar with it,” he said.

Now an off-season later, White doesn’t have those issues as he mentally is in a better spot than at any time in his career while physically he said he is good to go for fall camp. He’s also now playing around ten-pounds heavier than he was last year and will start fall camp at 220-pounds.

As part of his role on defense White also drops down into a middle linebacker spot in the Mountaineers dime package and believes that he is showcasing just how versatile he can be.

“I like being in the box that’s fun. I like how we get after it,” he said. “That was different too but it was fun getting out of your comfort zone.”

But perhaps the most important lesson that White has learned is that to have a successful defense at this level it takes all 11 players doing their job at once and nobody trying to take on too much as once.

“Just playing within the system. When you try to do too much that’s when things go bad,” he said.

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