How Kevin White went from relative unknown to a premier prospect

BY Ross Jones • March 4, 2015

Kevin White understands the power of pleasant surprise.

Before last month's NFL Scouting Combine, White, a chiseled 6-foot-3, 215-pounder out of West Virginia, heard the whispers.

Some pegged White as a one-year wonder. Others questioned his lack of speed and if he could run away from defensive backs.

The production during White's senior season was there. Being named a Biletnikoff Award finalist after logging 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns, White went from being relatively unknown during his junior season to catapulting his way into Day 1 draft pick conversations a year later.

Indianapolis was where he sought to validate himself. And, he did.

"Nobody thought I could run that fast," White told in a telephone interview. "It was pretty fun shocking the world and seeing everyone's expressions when I ran a 4.35 and a 4.36 again."

White carries a quiet confidence, but recently he hasn't been shy about pitching himself as the best player at his position. Navigating through the draft process is a tricky game. Prospects must walk the fine line of confidence and cockiness when answering awkward questions about who is the best.

White, though, isn't afraid to declare that he should be the first wide receiver selected on April 30.

"No question," White paused. "I think I should be drafted first. I play with so much emotion and pride. I love this game. You watch my film. I'm always celebrating. I'm always playing with a lot of energy. I'm 6-3, ran a 4.35, I catch tunnel screens and missiles and take them to the house. I'm also a deep threat. I just don't think there's a guy in the draft that can do what I do."

That's not a knock on any of the other receivers like Alabama's Amari Cooper, Louisville's Devante Parker or Arizona State's Jaelen Strong. It could be the chip on White's shoulder talking.

FOX Sports 1's NFL draft analyst Peter Schrager has White being selected No. 4 overall to the Oakland Raiders in his latest mock draft.

"If I did go No. 4 to Oakland I would love it," White said. "They're building their team and getting back on track. I would love helping that organization get back to the top. A lot of guys would say they don't want to go there because they haven't won a lot, but I want to go there because I want to help turn the organization around. I would love to play for the Oakland Raiders and be a part of their long history."

Gifted with a towering frame, track speed and hands that can pluck the ball out of the sky, White possesses all the ingredients of an NFL wide receiver. The recipe for success didn't come together quickly.

White sat the bench every year in high school until his senior season. Then, he went to Lackawanna College (Scranton, Penn.) to play for a season before transferring to West Virginia. Along the way, there were people who told him he wouldn't make it to this level.

"I'm here so I guess I get to laugh at everyone who ever doubted me," White said. "My motivation comes from people who didn't think I could make it. There were people that said I couldn't play Division 1 football so I had people trying to talk me into playing Division 2.

"Those same guys are contacting me and telling me how surprised they are and how they knew I would make it. Get on the bandwagon, I guess."

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