Photo courtesy of Western Carolina athletics
JerMichael White is probably a name unknown to most college football fans.
White is the best-kept secret at Western Carolina. Come April, he could be a draft pick of your favorite NFL team.
Who is JerMichael White?
Hailing from Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, White is a hard-hitting defensive back who starred for the Catamounts in 2019. White looks to carry that over to a professional career, tormenting offenses.
Playing at a small school like WCU can be a challenge. Often, those players are looked at differently than their blue-blood counterparts.
“Playing at a small school can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage,” White said. “The advantages are getting to show your ability versus guys who are hungry to show they have the skills to match up with anyone but the disadvantage is not being able to get the publicity at a small school. There’s a couple of differences at certain skills positions but the real advantage for bigger programs is in the trenches due to size.”
Shining on the Big Stage
“I feel my skills and frame on the field could be compared to those on a bigger stage,” he added. “When having the ability to play bigger schools, those were some of my best games and career-highs.”
🔦 #SeniorSpotlight 🔦
JerMichael White #️⃣2️⃣2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/LATpXdJI77
— Western Carolina Football (@CatamountsFB) November 18, 2019
White, at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, was named to the 2019 All-Southern Conference first team. This came after racking up 90 tackles and a fumble recovery during his senior campaign — a season that saw the Catamounts take on both NC State and Alabama.
In those two games, White shined. Whote recorded with a game-high 14 tackles against NC State. That included nine solo stops. Against Alabama, White tallied six tackles. Those contests allowed White to showcase his skills to a larger audience than usual.
“When being at a small school and looking at the schedule, you always want to perform in each game,” White exclaimed. “My eyes always light up seeing FBS quality teams because that was the chance to show others you belong on that level too. I think it helped my stock out a lot; it shows no matter what level, my ability to perform on stages that big isn’t hindered or down a level from the skill position talent I’m facing.”
Catamounts in the NFL
The last Western Carolina player drafted came in 2018. That year, defensive back Keion Crosson was selected 243rd overall in the seventh round by the New England Patriots. The program’s highest pick came in 1988 when Kirk Roach was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round.
White compares himself to a taller Tyrann Mathieu or Kam Chancellor. “I’m a safety who can roll in the box or play in it, cover when needing to, and get the ball on the ground,” White said. He describes his biggest strength as his length. He uses it well, while also having a very high football IQ.
Will that be enough for White to hear his name called in Nevada? We’ll know the last weekend in April.