Spartan top tier 2017 WR commit Cody White Calls Spartans recruiting class about “Character!”
At 6’3 ½” and 205 pound Spartan 2017 wide receiver (WR) commit from Walled Lake, MI. Cody White is physically built. You can’t teach that. You either have that or you don’t. But what makes him special from other people with those same measurable is what he does with it.
Watch the young man play football for any amount of time and you see fire, passion, smiles, energy and a pure unadulterated love for the game. Again those are nice things that non-scholarship players have as well. But when you study how he takes that God given size and speed and mix it with the above passion you see things. Very special things.
Donnie Corley came to MSU this past season as one of the most talented wide receiver recruits in the nation. You saw him with pure speed blow by people. While he had a good freshman campaign, when you saw Corley struggle it was in the rare moments when he couldn’t blow by some guys with speed. That brings us to White.
With an uncanny ability to go up in the air against faster players, White has a way of, “Going after, attacking and bringing down the ball.” That quote is from MSU WR Coach Terrence Samuel last year when describing to me what makes a good receiver great.” White has that.
I caught up with White recently and I had to ask the talented young man about that gift, and trust me it is a gift. “I think it is just one of those God given gifts. I have never practiced body control, it just came naturally. God really blessed me with that attribute it and it really helps me on the football field.”
One division one head coach that I know well told me when White picked MSU over his school and many others that, “He is an NFL corner. The way that kid can swivel those hips and flip that body with that size says first round pick to me. The best corners can create contact and separate and move guys off the ball. Because they do it with their body and not their hands they don’t get called for PI (pass interference). When you are good at that you are an All Pro NFL wide out. When you are great at that, and that White kid is, you are an All Pro NFL corner. He’s special.”
So I asked White if MSU that has a penchant for moving guys around had talked to him about that. “They say that there is multiple things that could happen when I get up there, but right now I am going up there as a receiver and we will see how it goes from there.”
So what made White pick MSU? It was easy. “I had a bunch of different schools looking for me to come to their schools. Going up to Michigan State I just felt like it was the right place for me. I have been a Spartan fan since I was six years old. My grandparents would take me up to games since I was younger so I was familiar with the culture. Just going up there and meeting the coaches and the people up in East Lansing, and just seeing the fans and the atmosphere on game day I just thought it was the best place for me to play collegiately.”
As a friend of Mark Dantonio I know him as a coach and man and have always maintained my appreciation for his character, but he isn’t recruiting me. What did White see in the Spartan head coach that convinced him he wanted to play for him?
“He loves his players and be backs his players. He will get on you and he will try to get the best out of you, but at the end of the day he is going to do what is best for his players and I just love that about him.”
One of the most underrated coaches on the MSU staff is Samuel. A tactician who has put multiple players in the NFL he is well respected by coaches and players alike. I asked White about not only picking MSU and Dantonio, but picking Samuel to lead him to his dreams and the NFL.
For White, it was all of those things and about Samuel’s heart for him as a young man. “I feel like he is a terrific coach. During my early recruiting process I didn’t know him as much. When it came later he started recruiting me. Then I started to get to know him and now he lets me call him whenever I want. We talk about Michigan State and my home life. It has been a great experience with Coach Terrence Samuel.”
While MSU certainly didn’t have the 2016 campaign that they had anticipated, lost in my opinion is that not one player decommitted from the Spartans and not one walked away after pledging themselves to the Michigan State. While some fans bemoan that Dantonio has not had a flurry of late commitments, the class that could go as deep as 25 players was at 16 early in the year and never lost one as the season went on. To me that says something about the Spartans who have reset their recruiting back to what brought them to prominence under Dantonio.
“I think that says a lot about our character. Knowing that this year was not the best year for Michigan State, but knowing that the Michigan State culture is greater than what this year represented. Knowing that this class is going to come up and probably bring that culture back at Michigan State. Knowing that we are ready to play at the collegiate level just shows our character for the 2017 class.”
So when you dig into that character you find what draws players from all different walks of life, all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds is exactly what Dantonio wants: the culture. The program and what it has been built on.
“Just going to the right culture. My family raised me right. They raised me as a good human being and that is how my family represents themselves. I wanted to go to a school that represented themselves that way. I feel like Michigan State does a great job at that.”
So while the football season is over, White has traded his cleats for sneakers and is on the hardcourt playing basketball. That doesn’t give him much time to work the phones trying to get the final pieces to the 2017 class to join him. He says that two of his fellow 2017 classmates are doing well at that. “Hunter or Darien Tipps Clemons,” according to White are leading the way on the phones.
The 2017 class will be judged in mid-January of 2022 for what they do on the field. That is yet to be proven. What has been proven is that White and many others are bringing back the Spartan program to the winning ways that marked the nine first years of Mark Dantonio and not the hiccup known as 2016.