Following in the giant footsteps of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey should be regarded as nearly an impossible, or even an unfair task. Austin and Bailey rewrote the Mountaineer passing records on their way to a star-studded 2012 campaign.
Nobody within the WVU football program was expecting that same type of production out of last year’s receiver corps – except for Kevin White.
“[It was] just the way they signaled it,” White said, pointing out the biggest problems in regards to the quarterback carousel that occurred last season. “The way the ball hung in the air different. The way the ball came – it was a little different and a little faster. Other than that, it wasn’t a big problem. I just had to play through it.”
Quarterback carousels impact no one group of players more so than the wide receivers.
White was then handed a follow-up question: Was it frustrating?
“Yeah, it was very frustrating,” he replied. “But everything was frustrating last year. So last year is over with. We’re focusing on this year and everything is looking good so far.”
According to the junior college transfer, he foresaw the same type of production that was seen in 2012. But when that production failed to arrive on a steady basis, it struck a deep chord within him, knowing that the offense had failed to live up to what had transpired only one year before.
In his own words, and a few at that, White described what people should expect out of this year’s group of Mountaineer receivers.
“Just being consistent,” he said. “[We need to] not take plays off, and finish.”
Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 209 pounds, Kevin White has the authoritative size and confident swagger to be featured as a number one receiver at a variety of Division-I college football programs across the country.
White arrived at WVU after spending two years at LackawannaCollege in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Plainfield, New Jersey native then chose West Virginia over a variety of offers, including Texas Tech, Hawaii and UMass, among others.
His reason for choosing the Mountaineers was mainly based on Dana Holgorsen’s air raid system and the eye-popping results after watching the offensive explosion throughout the 2012 season. But after enduring a year where the offense failed to perform on a regular basis, he further understands the type of work that needs to be done in order to reach the offensive magnitude that Holgorsen was originally brought in to accomplish.
“I just understand where everyone has to be. Last year I was just worried about myself and knowing what I had to do. Now I know what the flats have to do – the running backs. It’s just a little bit more learning.
[It’s about] just using my body,” White added, “while the ball is in there. Being more physical and being more consistent. I’m just working on my routes and getting in and out of my breaks.”
Most receivers would sacrifice quite a bit to possess the body frame that White does. Now it’s up to him to turn an above average body into a dominating presence in the passing game.
One way to make that transformation become a reality is to hit the weight room, and the infamous law school hill.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of extra time,” he said. “It’s been a lot of extra shoulder strengthening. “[Coach Mike Joseph] has been making us do a lot more squats. It’s a lot more running, too.”
“Out of everyone on the team, I would have to say Kevin White,” WVU sophomore cornerback Daryl Worley said, when asked who stood out during the law school hill runs. “He gets up the hill with no problem, and he gets back down with no problem. I mean, we all try to make our times, but it definitely seems like he conquers the hill.”
“It works us. We’re normally dead after the run. I mean, it’s fun,” White proclaimed with a smile.
White concluded the 2013 season with 35 catches for 507 yards. He also added five touchdowns as well. Mario Alford and Daikiel Shorts are being regarded as the other main targets in the passing game this season.
Furthermore, the fact that a starting quarterback has been named early in the preseason has given White a solid understanding of what to expect for the upcoming year, which has made his life immensely easier.
“If Clint [Trickett] plays good, then I play good,” he said. “We’ve been out there doing extra and just working on some stuff. We’ve been connecting pretty good.”
On paper, it’s easy to point to Kevin White and assess his physical stature as the sole reason for him being the definitive go-to receiver. But the truth is, if the receiver corps has to endure another shaky year out of the quarterback position, then it will once again be a long season for the route-runners.
For Kevin White, it’s now or never. Entering his second and final season as a senior in a West Virginia uniform, White does not have the same amount of time as the younger receivers on the roster. It’s time to perform this season, for this team, if he hopes to live up to his own expectations, which according to him, have not yet been attained.