Rah Rah Ready To Go

Auburn redshirt freshman linebacker Jawara White has had a long first year, but got some good news this week and is ready to hit the field.

Auburn, Ala.—One of the top linebacker prospects in the South when he came out of Charles Henderson High in Troy last year, Jawara White came to Auburn looking to make an immediate impact after playing both ways for the Trojans his entire career. Working out hard and looking good things looked like they were on the right track for him, but then things changed in the blink of an eye.

A concussion issue early in practices in August led to an MRI that revealed fluid in the spinal cord for White. Surgery cost him his freshman season and for a while White says he feared it might cost him more than that, but hard work on his rehab and some good advice from an old friend put him on track to get back on the field for the Tigers.

In the spring White was cleared to begin working out and go through some practices for the Tigers even though he didn't get into full contact mode. Just those few instances of being back in the middle of things with his teammates was enough to give White the encouragement he was looking for.

"It was a huge step," White says. "It was a step I had been waiting on for a while. I just wanted to do something. I felt like I was back in the mix fully even though I knew I wasn't. I was just happy. It was a sigh of relief for me."

On Monday morning White's recovery was fully completed when his surgeon Dr. Swaid Swaid had him drive to Birmingham to discuss his situation. Getting there White got the news he's been hoping for as he was cleared to resume full contacts and workouts, making him able to get back on the field for the Tigers this fall.

"It's a blessing," White tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I was excited when I got the news on Monday morning."

Making a lot of improvement from spring practices until his most recent visit, White says he was confident he was headed in the right direction. "I have felt pretty good about it the whole time," White says. "I knew I was going to be fine."

One of the biggest influences in White's recovery came from a guy that has been influencing him on the football field for years. Growing up watching Zac Etheridge star at Charles Henderson and then at Auburn, White saw him come back from a neck injury suffered in 2009 to play football for the Tigers last season. He says watching and talking with Etheridge kept him focused on his goal of playing again.

"It helped a lot to have Zac," White says. "It was a blessing to have him around. To have almost the same injury, well neck injuries, was kind of a blessing too. He told me not to rush things and if I feel something, even if it was little, to tell the doctors. He said not to hold back anything and let them know."

Already deep into workouts with Coach Kevin Yoxall, White says that this summer has been grueling for the team as it prepares for the 2011 season. With so much talk about who is gone from last year's team and questions about what the Tigers will do to replace them, White says he's just taking one day at a time to do his part. In the end however he believes they'll be just fine.

"Workouts are tough, but I'm surviving," White says. "My personal goals for the season, I'm going to keep to myself for a while. As for the defense I think we will surprise some people a lot. I'm just ready because it's always fun to get back on the field."

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