Perennial powerhouse Middlesboro has struggled out of the gates to a 1-3 start this season, but that hasn't slowed the amount of recruiting attention being pointed in the direction of the Yellow Jackets' biggest star.
Durrell White, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound linebacker with 4.5 speed and a 300-pound bench, has accumulated almost 50 tackles in Middlesboro's first four games. That included a 19-tackle performance against his old school, crosstown rival Bell County, but the Jackets dropped a 20-0 decision.
"We've had a rough start, but coach has been making some adjustments to the offense to get us going," said White, who also doubles as a running back. "He tells us to be patient. We've played a really tough schedule that will have us ready for the district and the playoffs. We expect to be back in the state championship."
White's play has been drawing attention from nearly every major program in the country. As a junior, he had 137 tackles, three sacks and four interceptions.
His current Top 5 includes:
Kentucky - "They're the homestate school. I like their coaches and I think they're a program that's only going to be getting better. I like the defensive scheme they are playing now. I also like their facilities and their academics. I'm a Robinson Scholar, so that's something pretty important to me. My education's real important to me. I want something to fall back on if I don't make it to the NFL, so I really like that about Kenutcky." (Editor's Note: The Robinson Scholar program at UK is something that White applied for when he was in middle school. It is a full scholarship which pays for everything the student needs for 10 semesters of college, including an additional stipend. Prospective students who would be the first generation to attend college in their family can apply for the scholarship and must go through a series of interviews. White owns a 3.4 GPA.)
Tennessee - "They've got great tradition, and it's real close to home, too. I went to camp down there last summer. They're supposed to come and see me play sometime this season. They told me they were recruiting me and nobody else at my position."
Michigan - "It's another great program, and I'm learning more about them. They first contacted me this summer. I was supposed to make a trip up there, but there were some complications with my transportation. But it's a good Big Ten school."
Louisville - "I'm going to take a trip up there sometime soon and check things out. Coach (John L.) Smith seems really nice. They've got a good team right now and just won a Conference USA championship, so that's something I like."
Cincinnati - "I've been hearing from them for a long time. They've got a nice program that's getting better."
White said playing close to home is important to him, which would seem to eliminate Michigan's chances.
"Yes, somewhat," he said. "I want my family and friends to be able to watch me play every week."
* Photo courtesy of Carter Hall, Bluegrass Recruiting.