COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State fans claim to bleed scarlet and gray, but Brendon White has Ohio State football in his genes.
The Powell (Ohio) Olentangy Liberty 4-star athlete is the son of William White, a former Ohio State safety who played 11 years in the NFL. The No. 110 overall prospect in the country in the 247Sports composite rankings committed to Ohio State on Oct. 2, 2015, giving the Buckeyes’ class of 2017 another supremely talented prospect.
Olentangy Liberty coach Steve Hale spoke to Land of 10 about what Ohio State fans can expect from White, whom recruiting analysts believe can play either linebacker or wide receiver at the college level.
Q: What traits allow Brendon White to be so successful on the football field?
Hale: “He’s incredibly athletic. For us, he started as a freshman at free safety and he had good size even then. He just moves incredibly well, one of those guys that glides when he runs. The thing that’s been such a great thing for us is that he’s 6-foot-2, 205 pounds now. When you take that athleticism and put it in that frame, it’s caused numerous problems for our opponents. His overall athleticism is just off the charts.”
Q: When did you realize he could be a player of this caliber and a high-level recruit?
Hale: “When he was in middle school, we looked at him and said this kid will be good. We didn’t know watching him in eighth grade that he would be a varsity starter the next year, but we figured he’d be in the program. It would have been a waste of his time to play freshman football. We went ahead brought him up right away. All along, the question was how high his ceiling was.
“He’s played so many different positions. He’s played free safety and running back, and he’s played a little bit of quarterback for us. He could play linebacker for us and would probably be the best one around. He has so many skills that at some point it was almost to his detriment. A lot of guys getting recruited are clearly meant for one position, and that’s never been the case with him. Our question all along was what that ceiling would be, and then as he started to go to camps and people started to notice him and the offers came rolling in, that ceiling just kept getting higher and higher.”
Q: When it comes to his ability to play so many positions, is he a quick learner?
Hale: “I think he is. The benefit he has is growing up in a house where football is the norm. With his dad playing in the NFL, his dad’s friends from when he was a little boy were NFL players. The conversations he heard while watching TV were conversations about technique and the way that stuff works.
“William White and Cris Carter used to run a camp here in Columbus years ago, before Brendon was even born. I would work that camp and it was all about teaching and learning the game of football, and he’s grown up in that environment his whole life. I would imagine that plays a big role. He understands defensive schemes because he’s played in the secondary. He understands offensive schemes because he’s had reps at quarterback. I think all of that kind of plays off each other.”
Q: How has he progressed as a football player throughout his high school career?
Hale: “The thing I’ve seen him grow the most in is leadership. As a freshman it’s hard to be a leader coming into a program. We haven’t had over-the-top success here, but we’ve had good success. He came in and started as a freshman and that role he accepted. As a sophomore, you kind of get into that same role where you’re a key player but wonder if you’re a leader. Going into his junior and senior year, the thing I’ve been most pleased with is the way he’s stepped up as a leader. He was the leading vote-getter for our captain position this year and has done a great job of putting the team first.”
Q: Is there a play or a performance in a game that sticks out to you?
Hale: “Maybe not specifically one play. We opened up against North Allegheny in Pittsburgh and won over there in the last minute and one of the things I said after the game is, ‘I think everyone here understands why he’s going to Ohio State now.’ And then we played Glenville in Week 2 and I kind of made the same statement. He has come up big in games like that, and people that have been in attendance for our games walk away understanding why he’s going to Ohio State. He’s that good. The way he’s played in those games has shown people who he is.”
Q: How has he handled the increased attention since committing to Ohio State?
Hale: “He’s handled it pretty well. I think he knows when he goes out on the field that every kid wants to have it on his resumé that they put a kid going to Ohio State on his rear end. He knows that going into it. There’s always a little chatter, and if he makes a mistake you’ve got the whole crowd chanting ‘overrated.’ I think he understands those expectations and responsibilities going into every situation.”
Q: How would you describe his personality?
Hale: “He’s just one of those guys who is fun to be around. He’s usually smiling and having a good time. Guys like to be around him. He’s a fun-loving guy, but when it’s time to be serious he’s serious. He definitely has his game face on, but it’s rare to see him without a smile on his face.”
Previous Q&As with Ohio State commits