Texas to Pullman: Leach's allure for WSU CB

FOOTBALL, THEY say, is like a religion in Texas. So much so, that when Charleston White out of Amarillo started playing ball in fourth grade, the flags were on but tackling ruled. Today, after a 2013 redshirt season, the 5-10, 175-pound Washington State corner is vying for a starting job and says that while Deone Bucannon is off to the NFL, the AP All-American's impact on the Cougars will live on.

White, a second-year freshman, is expected to play a prime-time role this August in what shapes up as one of the most contested position battles on the team: starting at the corner spot opposite Daquawn Brown.

There will be no shortage of contenders for the job. Tracy Clark holds the edge coming out of spring ball, but White is close. There also will be four true freshmen in the mix, and converted receiver Sebastian LaRue could be as well if the NCAA grants his appeal to play right away after transferring in from Texas A&M.

In a wide-ranging Q & A last week with Cougfan.com, White, a former multi-sport standout from Palo Duro High, talked about Friday Night Lights, first impressions of Mike Leach, the virtues of man-to-man coverage, and much more.

He's an unassuming young man with a quiet confidence and deep appreciation for hard work, be it on the field or two stories up with a hammer and saw.

Cougfan.com: Describe your life growing up?
Charleston White: I got two brothers, I'm the middle child. Got an older brother Mike, a little brother Brandon. I live with my Mom and my Dad. I was always into sports, I didn't think football was going to be my leeway, but it turned out to be and I'm here.

CF.C: What is high school football like in the state of Texas -- is it similar to what they make it look like in Friday Night Lights?
CW: It's quite similar. Football out there is like the sport to play -- 20,000-plus at the football games, rivalries every week, big-name teams.

CF.C: You had offers from a variety of schools, why did you choose WSU?
CW: WSU just seemed like a good fit for me. I came out here on my visit, players welcomed me as a family, all the coaches were cool. Playing for Coach Leach, he coached at Tech, I watched him growing up, and I just liked the way he runs (things) still, so I was honored to play for him.

CF.C: What was your impression of Coach Leach when you met him for the first time?
CW: When I met Coach Leach, I was like, ‘Oh this is him!' He's a different kind of dude, he don't say much. He gets to his point nice and quick. You're going to know what he wants from you, what he expects from you and that's pretty much it. He's his own person, he's not just a coach, he can also be a friend if you need it.

CF.C: You redshirted last season at WSU -- what did you learn from that experience?
CW: I just got the feel of playing D-1 ball, getting to know the team better, getting the technique down, getting the whole feeling of actually playing college ball, so just preparing.

CF.C: What was your reaction to seeing your teammate, Deone Bucannon, being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft?
CW: That was a great feeling man, I watched the draft just to see him get drafted for he and his family, the Wazzu family and he went first round, 27th pick and I didn't need to watch anymore after that.

CF.C: What were some things you learned from Deone during your first year at WSU?
CW: The way he works, that determination, his dedication to the game. Even though he was the face of Wazzu, he was still willing to help the young cats coming up and that was a pretty big deal.

CF.C: How do you think the young secondary is coming along?
CW: From the first spring practice to now, we're way better, more developed, everybody's got more of the plays down, the feel of the game, how fast it goes, and we're going to be ready.

CF.C: What do you need to do in order to separate yourself from the rest of the cornerbacks and solidify that starting spot?
CW: Coach always gives up effort, the guy that gives out that most effort and beats the next man, he just loves to see people make plays, so that's what I got to do. I'm going to try my best and do that.

CF.C: Do you prefer to play man or zone coverage and why? CW: I'd rather go man, because back in Texas … we just manned up across the boards. I never really played a zone too much.

CF.C: If you could match up with any wide receiver in the Pac-12, who would it be and why?
CW: Honestly I can't pick one, but whoever they say is the best, put me on him.

CF.C: You said in an interview back in August of 2013, that you never won a ring in high school and your opportunity of getting one came short last season. How hungry are you to win a bowl game this upcoming season and finally get that ring?
CW: … Finishing, man … All respect to Colorado State, they kept playing and they finished and that's what we need to do and we'll have one.

CF.C: If you get that ring, will you ever take it off?
CW: [Laughs] Maybe when I shower, but (after) it's going right back on.

CF.C: If you and Daquawn Brown faced off to race 40 yards who wins?
CW: [Laughs] Daquawn Brown's nickname is "Cheetah" man, he got little wheels on him, so we just have to see when we race out there.

CF.C: What's your impression of the new WSU football operations building?
CW: We haven't even got to see it yet, the only thing I've seen is pictures man, and just by the pictures it looks amazing. They built that up man, the construction workers I appreciate them … working every day, every time we working out we can seem them out there, so I'm just ready to get in there.

CF.C: Prediction time, how many games do the Cougars win this upcoming season and do guys get that ring?
CW: We're just going to take one game at a time. Coach Leach always talks about taking one game at a time. That first week we want to be 1-0 and then that next week go 2-0 ...

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