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Whicker: Former Hart High QB Brady White left no unfinished business at Memphis

Whicker: Former Hart High QB Brady White left no unfinished business at Memphis

If we haven’t understood what Brady White has been showing us for six years, a seventh won’t matter.

White’s college career is done. You might expect him to take a year’s worth of deep breaths. Instead, the Hart High alum who attacked football and academics like a starved shark at Arizona State and Memphis will now try pro football, even though he could have become a seventh-year senior.

He can resume the pursuit of his doctorate at any point. Odds are it won’t get away.

White just won the Campbell Award from the National Football Foundation. Maybe they should call it the Wiseman Trophy. Last year’s winner was Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, while at Oregon. Micah Kizer of the Rams won it while playing and studying at Virginia.

White earned his undergrad degree at ASU in three-and-a-half years, with a 3.58 grade-point average, which allowed him to grad-transfer his way to Memphis. In three years he threw 90 touchdown passes and led the Tigers to three bowls, including a New Year’s Six loss to Penn State, and their first real national footprint.

Then he earned his master’s in sports administration at Memphis and launched his work on a doctorate in liberal studies.

Obviously, he invented the 28-hour day in the process.

“I had a lot of support,” White said. “The academic support people were great at Memphis. Sometimes I’d finish up my film study at the football facility, and then I’d plug into the computers and handle my schoolwork. Then I’d go home and watch more tape on the iPad.

“But it’s a full-time job, man. I do want to point out that a lot of people underestimate what is asked of a student-athlete. You cannot have a regular person’s mindset. You’re getting up at 6 a.m. and you’re probably not done until 8:30 or 9 p.m. You’re practicing, lifting, getting treatment, and then you need to get sleep, which is extremely underrated. You are not normal.”

He hastens to add that he’s never been inclined toward “normal.”

“I don’t think we should complain,” White said. “What a gift, to get an education paid for, and play a game for a living. There’s tough days, but you have to realize this is an absolute honor.”

White’s college career has outlasted most NFL careers. ASU redshirted him in 2015, and White played three games in 2016 before he broke his foot. That removed the 2017 season, which he used to nail down his first degree.

Mike Norvell, the ASU assistant coach who had recruited him, got the Memphis job and White joined him (Norvell is now at Florida State). Then White turned down a chance to get the “free” year in 2021 that everyone else is promised, thanks to COVID-19.

Mike Herrington was White’s coach at Hart, where they won a CIF Southern Section title together in 2013. That 28-21 victory over Valencia was a testament to White’s bounce-ability. He threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles and still got the win, with a 53-yard touchdown pass to Wes Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter. Overall, White threw 109 touchdown passes at Hart and rolled up 10,835 yards.

“He’s had a great background,” Herrington said. “His grandfather was a principal. His sister graduated from Notre Dame and his younger brother (Brevin) is quarterbacking at Princeton. When he was at Hart his game preparation was a great example for everyone else.

“We had Matt Moore, who signed as a free agent in the NFL and has had a pretty good career as a backup. Brady has a good chance to make it, too. It has to be the right situation with the right team. Fortunately, he has a lot to fall back on.”

White calls ASU “a phenomenal learning experience despite a slim playing experience” and says his decision to enroll in the spring of his high school senior year was a catalyst for all this.

But when his Memphis career intensified, so did the bookwork.

“Some of the classes might not sound hard but when you start breaking down the contents, it can be confusing,” White said. “When you reach the grad school level there’s a lot more research and writing. You have group research projects that might stretch 25 pages, doubling the amount of resources you’re using and citing. It jumps to a whole different level.”

He said his long-term future “will involve the sports world, whatever I do” and it’s not difficult to see White in a broadcast booth or in the big chair at a sports agency. But more unlikely quarterbacks than White have found NFL success.

You figure clock management won’t be a problem.


Press Enterprise