White Feted

West Virginia University quarterback Patrick White, former star at Daphne High School, received the Alabama Athlete of the Year award on Tuesday, 8 May in front of a packed atrium at the United States Sports Academy.

"What an award," enthused White. "I want to thank all of the voters and all of the people who showed up today to support me. To be 15 hours away in West Virginia and still have the support of my hometown is a great feeling."

White was named the Academy Alabama Athlete of the Year for 2006 after an online vote presented by al.com in January.

Daphne Mayor Fred Small began the ceremony by presenting White with a Key to the City of Daphne. White's former high school coach Steve Savarese, who is now Executive Director for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, praised White's abilities, saying "Patrick (White) was like another coach on the field. The kids would just follow him. The character he demonstrates on and off the field will allow Patrick to be successful in anything he does. Patrick represents how we wish every athlete in the state of Alabama would act."

The Alabama Athlete of the Year award is given to an athlete beyond the high school level who was either born in, is currently playing in or has previously participated in sports at any level within the state of Alabama. The Academy Alabama Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy's yearlong Alabama Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in any sport in the state of Alabama.

Last season, White was named Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year after finishing the season with 1,074 yards rushing (25th in NCAA history among quarterbacks) and 1,524 yards passing. He holds the Big East record for career rushing yards for a quarterback. He is the ninth quarterback ever to rush and pass for more than 200 yards in a game. White led West Virginia to a win in the Gator Bowl over Georgia Tech. He was 9-of-15 for 131 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 22 times for 145 yards and a score.

For the honor of 2006 Alabama Athlete of the Year, White beat out Seattle Seahawks running back and former Crimson Tide player Shaun Alexander and Louisiana State University quarterback JaMarcus Russell, a native of Mobile.

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