Following Saturday’s intrasquad spring football scrimmage at Bowie State University, most of the team walked off the field and back into the locker room except for rising senior defensive back Delante White.
As the Bulldogs’co-captain left the stadium, he squatted in his pre-snap coverage stance on the far sideline away from the gate and backpedaled across the width of the field.
It was a small individual drill that lasted maybe 20 seconds and it probably wasn’t noticed by many of the fans in attendance, but the moment was telling.
White, a 2010 Crossland High School graduate, is one of the program’s best players and coach Damon Wilson genuinely believes that White has a legitimate chance to play in the National Football League in two seasons.
“He’s our leader and a two-year captain,” Wilson said. “He’s the best safety in the [Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association] for my money and he’ll play at the next level after he finishes here.”
Since being named a second team All-Gazette defensive back in 2009 at Crossland, White says he has improved in all aspects on the football field. As a sure tackler and a good enough athlete to play zone or man coverage for the NCAA Division II Bulldogs, he’s just as likely to be seen blitzing off the edge to stop the run, playing high free safety or covering a receiver in the slot. He earned second team All-CIAA honors last fall.
“My technique has improved a whole lot and scheme wise, I’m just smarter and can recognize plays pretty quickly,” said White, who also participates on most of Bowie State’ special team units. “I’m just so confident right now.”
But the main key to his success, White says, is his versatility. He added that he runs the 40-yard dash somewhere in the 4.4 to 4.5 seconds range.
“I have a legitimate chance to play at the next level, so you got to give the NFL different looks, particularly for a guy like me that isn’t coming from a big school,” said White, who started all 10 games last fall and made 40 tackles with an interception, a forced fumble and three passes defended. “That’s why I play special teams and want to learn how to play all over the field.”
Added Wilson: “We put him in the middle of the field at safety and we put him at corner down in the box, but he has the mindset of a linebacker. … He makes us more versatile.”
White’s versatility isn’t just limited to the football field. As a strong student, his interests are broad. At Crossland, he participated in the information technology program and was initially a computer science major in college. Now, he’s a criminal justice major. If a career in football does not pan out, White says he is interested in becoming a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, working in cyber security or even becoming a lawyer. He also enjoys reading and says his favorite book is the Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization by Anthony Browder.
“To be honest, I’ve always been taught that the way to be successful in life is to be versatile. You got to give yourself options,” White said. “I mean, I’ll worry about [professional prospects after next season], but at the same time everything in life is all connected. It’s all about getting extra work in, like doing backpedals after practice.”