LEXINGTON, Ky. --- One of the state's top athletes and defensive players has decided he'll be a Wildcat.
Middlesboro's Durrell White, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker, gave his verbal commitment to Kentucky today, according to Yellow Jackets coach Ken Roark.
"He felt really good about UK," Roark said. "He wanted to go ahead and make that decision. He's real happy about it."
White was also considering Tennessee, Louisville, Michigan and Cincinnati.
Roark describes White, who runs a 4.5 40 and bench presses 300 pounds, as possibly the best defensive player he's ever coached. He's averaging 14 tackles per game this season. A two-way player, he also had 13 carries for 188 yards in the Jackets' last game.
"Floyd Branham is the best I've had," he said of the linebacker who led the Jackets to the 1998 Class A state championship. "But Durrell is real close, and he's got the potential to be even better. He's got a great frame. He's already 6-3, 225, and he just turned 17. He could possibly put on another 20 pounds or so real quick and not lose any of that speed.
"I think he's going to be an impact player at UK."
As a junior, White had 137 tackles, three sacks and four interceptions for Bell County. He transferred to Middlesboro prior to his senior season.
White is also an excellent student, carrying a 3.4 GPA. He plans to attend UK as a Robinson Scholar, which is a special scholarship program for qualified students who are the first member of their family to attend college.
In addition to White, the Cats also have commitments from the following players: Andre Jones (WR/DB, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), Arliss Beach (RB, Ashland); Paul Webb (DL, Johnson Central); Joe Brady (OL, Beechwood); Brad Booker (LB, Bowling Green) and Randy Driver (DB, Glasgow). Kentucky is also expected to bring in 2001 commitments Chad Anderson (LB/DE) and Darimy Crawford (WR) as part of its 2002 class. That would leave the team with seven scholarships remaining for this year.