Kam White knew he wanted to visit Iowa State, but taking such a trip from his hometown in Clinton (Miss.) was going to take some convincing.
Iowa State had been showing interest in the highly regarded White since February when it offered, and the constant attention and contact had him considering an unofficial spring trip with his family. Then they saw the drive.
“It took a lot for me and my family to actually consider this trip because it was 12 hours,” White said. “I told them this is somewhere I could have a really good chance of going, so I was going to have to come.”
His father, who makes most of the trips with him, was on board. His mother was hesitant about such a long road ahead.
“I did have to convince them a little,” White said. “I know my mom has to go with me too, so she was like, ‘Are you sure you want to go, because that’s like a pretty long way.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to go up there.’ What convinced me to really make the trip was the coaches and how they talking to me on Twitter and really just showed me interest and how they really wanted me to come up there and see the facilities and check out the spring game and stuff like that.”
So White, his parents and 4-year-old brother began their drive Thursday evening, eventually arriving in Ames on Friday morning at 3 a.m. When the eventual long, 24-hour round trip was complete, White was glad they had made the trek.
White, who is considered one of the top athletes in the 2017 class, holds offers from Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Ole Miss among others. With most schools recruiting him as a safety, he is now ranked as the No. 32 overall safety prospect in the 2017 class as well.
And after trips to Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and others in recent months, White now has a new leader following his most recent trip.
“Iowa State is my favorite right now,” he said, “there’s no doubt about it.”
What makes Iowa State the favorite?
“The way Coach [Matt] Campbell took time for me and my family to go over the plan he had for me individually and the plan he had for me being there and being on the team,” White said. “The way he thought that out and told us about the next couple years and how he’s expecting everything to change and expecting me to come up there and be a leader and expecting me to play and work my way up.”
White’s decision ultimately will be based on more than football. He was impressed that Campbell had taken time to call coaches in his high school conference and district to check on his character and leadership.
His weekend trip also helped ease some fears.
“What made it worth it was the coaches and how it was so family-oriented,” White said. “My mom was really stressing to come out, me going so far school-wise, because she wants me to be around family. She said it to coach the other day, she would feel comfortable with me going up there because it’s so family-oriented and she knows I’d be safe up there. My dad, he’s been on most of my recruiting trips with me, and he said this was one of the best he’s been on. My little brother came and he’s four and he had a good time running around. They took care of him also. They just took care of all of us.”
Iowa State envisions White playing safety and potentially some at cornerback, though White said Campbell wasn’t overly worried about the football side.
White will likely make trips to Georgia, Auburn and a return trip to Tennessee in the coming weeks, and is already thinking about another 12-hour drive to Ames.
“I know I’ve got to make a trip back up here to Iowa State definitely,” he said. “I’m definitely going to take an official visit, but before I take an official I’m going to go back up there for another unofficial visit.”
White expects to make a decision between the beginning and middle of his senior season this fall, and his important factors align with his recent trip.
“If you still are recruiting me how you were recruiting me when you first saw my film. If you’re still recruiting me and you think I’m the same player you want, that’s a major factor,” White said. “And how you treat my family if I come up there and spend time with the team or see a practice and anything like that. How you treat the people I’m with is a major key.”