White on the Spot

Johnny White rushed for 5,133 yards to break a 63-year-old Asheville (N.C.) High School record previously held by legendary Carolina back Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice. In order to break any of UNC's career rushing marks, White will have to play early and often – a realistic possibility.

In his only two years as a starter, White rushed for a whopping 70 touchdowns during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

"I think what makes me such a good running back is just my natural ability and my awareness on the field," White said. "I'm a balanced running back, because I've got speed and power, too. I can catch the ball real well out of the backfield. The thing I probably need to work on the most is my blocking."

John Bunting made it clear last spring, backup positions to starting tailback Ronnie McGill will remain up for grabs throughout most of August. He promised publicly that White, along with incoming freshman Anthony Elzy from Ohio, will receive an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in hopes of vying for early playing time.

"From what I understand, I've got a pretty good chance at playing early and I'm really excited about that," White said. "I would love to play early as a freshman and have an impact on the team."

White, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, graduated June 7 and will arrive on the UNC campus this weekend for freshman orientation. A member of the state's Shrine Bowl team, he was injured prior to N.C.'s win in Spartanburg, S.C., last December, but says he's now 100-percent healthy and expects to be at his best this fall.

"I go out early in the morning and run everyday and I lift weights," White said. "I'm watching films and trying to get an understanding of the offense that Carolina runs so I can be ready physically and mentally."

Despite a dinged up ankle, White ran for 55 yards in Asheville's 13-10 victory over Western Alamance to claim the 2005 3-A state title. The Cougars completed the season 15-0 to win its first state championship since 1922.

Last season, White rushed for 1,855 yards on 207 carries and scored 31 touchdowns, and also had 10 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. As a junior, he gained 2,200 yards on the ground, scoring 39 touchdowns.

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