Throughout all athletic history, there have been many great athletes. Some men, they had it all: speed, size, agility, strength. These guys were monsters but did not have the one part that separates them from great to elite and that is the smarts.
As I have previously documented, the state of Arkansas has produced many of high school superstars that had it all but could not finish the deal in the classroom. You see, all the athletic ability in the world a man could be blessed with but what sets back most is the education. I grew up and graduated in the top half of my class of 2010 in El Dorado, Arkansas. I was told time and again that had many guys walked the hall with little athletic ability but never wanted could get it right in the classroom.
If there are any high school students that read this article, listen: seek perfection, seek better things for yourself! The four interviews I have conducted before this one showed me how you can be uncommon in the classroom and an uncommon athlete on the field! I am saying all this to say, Arkansas has offered a preferred walk-on opportunity to a very underrated and exceptional student and football player in John David White. White of Pulaski Academy is a 5’10 wide receiver with 4.5 speed with the capability of being physical at the line of scrimmage, he runs crisp routes to find himself open.
White also has a great family history at the University of Arkansas with an uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather all playing football, his father was a golfer, an aunt that was a cheerleader. Why not Arkansas for Mr. White? He tells us this and more and this edition of On The Trail!
Jacob: Arkansas offered you a Preferred Walk-On spot in the 2019 class. What does the offer mean to you as a home-state player?
JD: To me the offer means a lot because all growing up, I went to Razorback games and I would talk with my dad how cool it would be to get the opportunity to play for the Hogs and run through that A! So now for me to get the chance to do that is kind of surreal.
Jacob: Arkansas’ receivers have been struggling the past couple of seasons getting separation from their defenders on routes. How do you fix the problem?
JD: I think in the past its been a scheme issue that is already being fixed by Coach Stepp and Coach Craddock—and hopefully the emphasis the staff has put on recruiting receivers in the 2019 class will be the final piece of the puzzle. I’ll tell you this—I will get separation.
Jacob: Pulaski Academy has been pumping out FBS caliber players for the past few years. Hunter and Hayden Henry, Lane Hatcher, Will Hastings are among those who come to mind first. How does the Bruin football program produce so many more SEC and FBS players than others in the state?
JD: I really don’t know for sure, but one thing I do know is Kevin Kelley and his coaching staff are so demanding that people like me who want to excel have that chance. PA is a football school. As long as the coaching staff stays in place it will attract guys like me that want to reach their full potential.
Jacob: Who are guys that have helped mold you into the football player you are now? Role models, coaches, family members, friends etc.
JD: I tend to model my game after Drew Morgan and Julian Edelman. They have both excelled in football and I love watching their play making abilities, their consistency and their route running. Those are two ballers that I strive to be like. My dad is another major role model of mine who is constantly pushing me to reach my goals and to be a better man of God. He is a hard worker that keeps the Lord the top priority in his life and that’s how I want to be in my life. Finally, my mom. She has always been there for me and she works like crazy to make sure that our family is taken care of and healthy. Both of my parents are who I strive to be like.
Jacob: You are senior and have obviously played in a lot of key games through your career. What has been the one moment that has stood out as your greatest football memory?
JD: My greatest football memory was winning the State Championship last year against McClellan. We came back from behind and everyone made plays when they were needed. It was my greatest memory because the year before, we won State, but I was ineligible because I transferred to PA (a private school) so I had to sit out a full calendar year before I could play. And so to be able to contribute to a State Championship last year was very emotional and I finally got a State ring that I have been striving to get!
Jacob: Obviously, you have not committed to play college football anywhere. Who are your favorite schools going forward that could possibly gain your talents?
JD: The schools that are recruiting me are all good but at the end of the day, my favorite school maybe hasn’t even heard of me yet. My favorite will be the school that is willing and able to use the skills I bring to the table. I have an ability to get open, catch passes, and make plays with and without the ball in my hands. So we’ll see who values that the most. That’ll be my favorite school.
Jacob: What about Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas have to offer recruits that may say, “why Arkansas?”
JD: The UofA fulfills that “College Football” experience. The loyalty of the fans, the famous traditions like the Hog Call and the Hog Walk, the hype around every game for the players, and also the coaches and how they’ve changed the atmosphere around the program and campus is what really attracts recruits to Arkansas!
Jacob: Have any of the current Razorback commitments in the 2019 class reached out to you about becoming a Hog? If so, who has done the most recruiting you to Arkansas?
JD: Yes sir for sure, obviously I’ve talked with Hudson because we’re at the same school and best friends so we talk about it a lot and how exciting it would be to attend the same school and be Razorbacks together so I would say Hudson has done the most. But TQ and I talked and little bit and then I’ve also had Collin Clay comment on my twitter post so those guys are also recruiting me a little bit and that’s exciting to be able to talk to some of those guys.
Jacob: Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish in your football career at the collegiate level?
JD: I hope to just make an impact wherever I go. I want to be the hardest worker, the most dependable receiver, and the best leader on the team. I want to be that guy that coaches can call on when they’re in those clutch situations and they’re looking for a playmaker. I know I’m that guy, and I want to prove that wherever I go. The Lord has me taken care of, I just need to trust in His plan for me and know that wherever I end up, He has me there for a reason.