Monday, July 8, 2013
Q&A: Coach talks PSU commit DT White
By Josh Moyer
What's Penn State getting in three-star DT Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville), the 13th commit of the 2014 class?
NittanyNation decided to ask one of the people who knows most what he's capable of -- his head coach at Millville (N.J.), Jason Durham. The coach talked at length about White's explosiveness, what makes him stand out and the type of leadership he showed as a junior.
NittanyNation: What separates Antoine from other defensive tackles you've coached and seen throughout your career?
Jason Durham: I think there's a couple aspects. He's a physical player, he's explosive off the ball, and he uses his hands very well for a young player to get off blocks. He's tenacious. And on the mental side, he's very mature. He understands the defenses and the offenses. He hustles every play and has a great motor -- so I think it's a combination of all that.
NN: In terms of his ability, what's the one thing you think he does best? And how would you label him -- pass-rushing DT, run stuffer, balanced?
JD: If I had to point to one thing, it's his first step. He's a very quick defensive lineman, and I think that's his best asset. And, as far as style, we try to get him to be both. We get him to understand the down and distance and ask him to do both because, at our level, he can clog it up and stop the run and also penetrate the line and stop the passer.
NN: Was he a bit of a late bloomer, or did you know early on he would be a BCS-level player?
JD: It's interesting because he was a pretty good size when he came in. He was probably 6-1 or 6-2 when he came to us as a freshman and was probably 230 pounds. So he had decent size. And I remember one of our early practices and leaning toward our defensive line coach and saying, 'This kid is going to be a scholarship-level player if he keeps doing the right things.' And he has. He continues to hit the weights and get stronger. So we had a pretty good feeling early on.
NN: What are those 'right things' that he's continued to do? How's he especially impressed you with all that?
JD: He's 6-3, 270 right now and he's worked out with our weight program diligently. In addition, we have a middle linebacker who's a scholarship-level kid, and those two have been working out with a personal trainer in addition to our program.
So he's had a big commitment in school and out of school, and he balances all that with a job at a pizza place. He's very focused and he was our only junior captain last season. And players vote for captains, so that should tell you a bit about him.
NN: Why do you think the players did elect him as that junior captain?
JD: One of the biggest things with them is you have to be a good player, which he is. But he talks to people the right way. He's a role model; they see him doing extra and not getting in trouble and doing the right thing in class. They see that on a daily basis, so when he talks about what they need to improve upon, they listen because he does it the right way.
NN: Before he committed, he wanted to talk to you first -- so I'm assuming you gave him the green light. He initially told both of us that he wanted to wait a bit, so just what was his feeling when he came to you about possibly committing this early?
JD: Well, I told him from the beginning that it was important for him to stay committed wherever he went. That was something that was important to do, and he embraced that. I thought it would take him a little longer but when he came back from Penn State, I just told him to make you're comfortable with it because there's no real need to rush.
We talked for a good hour or so, a couple other coaches talked to him, and we said we'd support him no matter what the decision was. A few hours later, he said, 'Coach, this is definitely what I want to do. I thought about the visit a lot, visited some places, and I don't want to visit anywhere else. This is what I want to do.' And I just told him that he had my blessing.
He should have a great chance to play early. And if the coaches tell him, 'These guys are better,' I'm sure he'll be a patient player. He's just a really good person.