Baltimore linebacker/tight end Stan White, Jr. decided to follow in his father's footsteps and play for the Buckeyes. But the decision wasn't as easy as one might expect.
"Ohio State was my boyhood team and yes, in my heart, I always thought I'd go to school there. Both my mom and dad are OSU grads. But I still wanted to look around and be sure. It came down to Ohio State and Stanford and I feel blessed that my boyhood team also turned out to be the best fit for me," White said.
Beyond the family ties, how did OSU win out over Stanford?
"There were tons of things that went into it, but the big difference was definitely Coach (Jim) Tressel. He's a great coach and more than that, he's a great man. He does things the right way."
White was a three-year starter on both sides of the ball at Baltimore Gilman High School. As a senior, he had 153 tackles, including 17 tackles-for-loss and also caught 33 passes for 578 yards and three touchdowns. He was named defensive player of the year by the Baltimore Sun and was also selected to play in the 2nd High School All-American Bowl (along with future Bucks Maurice Clarett and Nick Mangold).
"I don't have a preference between 'backer and tight end. I'll do whatever they think is best for the team," White said.
White will begin fall camp at outside linebacker, but like his namesake did, he could swap sides of the ball later on.
"My dad came to Ohio State as a tight end and moved to linebacker, so maybe the opposite will happen with me."
The elder White played for the Bucks from 1969-71 and went on to enjoy a long career in professional football, which included stints with the Baltimore Colts (nine years), Detroit Lions (two years) and in the USFL (two years).
Needless to say, Stan Jr. had a pretty good gridiron teacher all of these years.
"My dad has taught me how to be a smart football player - a technician."
White compares himself to another Buckeye 'backer in that mold, 1998 captain Jerry Rudzinski.
"I'd like to be able to compare myself to him. He was a player who used everything he was given - he maximized his abilities and was a very smart player. I enjoyed watching him and I'm hoping to be as successful at Ohio State as he was."
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound White (who's even built like J.Rud) was recruited to OSU by recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Bill Conley, defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio and linebackers coach Mark Snyder.
"My dad played with Coach Conley (at OSU) and I've always known him. Coach Dantonio recruits this area for Ohio State and I've spoken with him and Coach Snyder quite a bit."
White said he enjoyed the recruiting process, including all the annoying calls from media types.
"I liked it. I was never too overwhelmed with calls that I couldn't get my homework done and stuff. And it was nice to be wanted, it was flattering."
White committed to Ohio State in late November, but still hasn't taken his official visit.
"I haven't taken it yet because of conflicts with basketball, but I'm planning on taking it the first weekend of March. The last time I was at OSU was for the 9/11 makeup game against San Diego State, but that was unofficial."
White is a starter on Gilman's hoops team and averages about five points and eight boards per game. He is also an all-league catcher in baseball.
"I'm a better baseball player than I am basketball," he said.
Any chance of playing hardball for the Bucks?
"I think I could play college baseball, but to do it at Ohio State and play football would be tough. This year will probably be my last in baseball."
Since he hasn't taken his official visit yet, White hasn't met many of his future Buckeye teammates. But, like many of the recruits, he did receive a couple of calls from incoming
QB Justin Zwick.
"Yeah, I've talked to him a few times. He's definitely a good leader and that's something you want in a teammate. He wants to win a national championship and he's willing to do something about it. He didn't just say he was going to call a bunch of recruits, he did it."
White followed the recruiting buzz from time to time and is elated to be coming in with such a great class.
"That is a big thing to me. College football is a full time job and you might as well be good. We're bringing in great players who have aspirations of winning a national championship."
White runs a 4.6/40 and can bench 340 pounds. He was asked to describe the strengths and weaknesses of his game.
"I'd like to think my strength is that I'm hard-nosed and tough. I never quit and I go 100 percent all of the time.
"My weakness?... Maybe to attack harder on defense. Making the hit in the backfield instead of at the line of scrimmage."
White has one major goal for his freshman season, a goal shared by most of the incoming recruits. "I want to get on the field as a freshman. I would be willing to redshirt, but my goal is to get out there right away."
Another trait White shares with most of the recruits is that he excels in the classroom. He has a 3.8 GPA and scored a 1390 on the SAT.
"I hope to be admitted to the honors business school at Ohio State. My test scores are good enough, but they only let you in if you are in the top 10 percent of your high school graduating class, which I'm not. Half the kids from my high school go to Ivy League schools and the other half all seem to go to either Duke or Stanford."
Here's guessing the honors business school makes an exception for Stan.
When he's not hitting the books (or running backs), White likes watching The Simpsons and sports on TV.
"I got to see as many Ohio State games as I could this year, but my high school doesn't have lights, so a lot of our games were played Saturday afternoons."
White says he can't wait to come to Columbus, which he describes as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country.
"Columbus is a great town. It reminds me a lot of Baltimore except that Columbus is up and coming and Baltimore is going the other way."
Much like the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
Special thanks to Stan for the interview!
Player Spotlight - Stan White, Jr
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