Western Michigan NFL Draft Prospect WR, Jordan White Interview
Jordan White attended North Ridgeville High School. He then went on to play at the Western Michigan University. He totaled 306 receptions, 4190 yards, and 32 touchdowns during his collegiate career. He was All-MAC First Team in 2010 and 2011. He was also WMU’s first consensus All-American in school history. He broke school records at WR that were previously set by current Green Bay Packers WR, Greg Jennings. He has declared for the 2012 NFL Draft. This interview was conducted before the 2012 NFL Draft. He was drafted in the 7th round by the New York Jets.
Announcement : My name is Max Strauss with www.prointerviews.org, www.facebook.com/ProInterviews and www.twitter.com/ProInterviews. I’d like to welcome you to the interview with Jordan White. During White’s career at Western Michigan University, he totaled 306 receptions, 4190 yards, and 32 touchdowns breaking records that were set by Green Bay Packers star WR, Greg Jennings. He was the first consensus All-American in school history. He compares his game to the likes of Anquan Boldin, Wes Welker, and Derrick Mason. He is currently one of the biggest sleepers in this year’s NFL Draft class, and here is the interview with future NFL player, Jordan White.
White : I don’t know if I have any fans. But, I mean if I do, I stay on twitter kind-of regularly now that I started one in January. I guess if anywhere, there.
Strauss : When did you start playing football?
White : I think my mom started to get me playing when I was five [years old].
Strauss : What position did you play when you started?
White : I started playing quarterback during my first year. I would just run the ball because there were really no plays.
Strauss : When did you make the transition to wide receiver?
White : It was about senior in high school. I played about half running back, half wide receiver in my senior in high school. But I actually played running back for about ninety percent of my career.
Strauss : Okay. What was high school football like?
White : It was a lot different than college. I don’t know. It was a smaller atmosphere. That’s a weird question. I’ve never been asked that.
Strauss : You don’t like that question?
White : No, not that I don’t like it, it’s just different. I don’t know what else high school football like. I’m trying to think, just a little more low-key basically just the school went to the games. A lot of people who you know, not so many just fans. It was a little easier.
Strauss : What is it easy for you in high school?
White : I’d say it was easy for me in high school, yeah. Actually, it was easy for me in college too but I don’t know. It just seemed like high school or in college it’s a little more business-like than high school.
Strauss : What was your recruiting experience in for high school?
White : I don’t get recruited that heavily in high school. I kind of made some tapes on my own, and went to some camps, and I think that’s where I got more exposure than anything at some of the football camps that I went to. But for the most part it wasn’t the scout.com and a lot of stuff that like a lot of these other guys had. It was just more low-key.
Strauss : And did you have offers from other schools other than Western Michigan?
White : Everywhere in the MAC except Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. I got recruited pretty heavily by Louisville and I went on an official visit there, but was never offered a scholarship.
Strauss : Why did you choose Western Michigan?
White : Basically because of the facilities and because of Coach Bill Cubit, and Greg Jennings had a lot of catches here, so he did pretty good in the NFL. So I figured, ‘Hey I can come in here and I’m going to play wide receiver and then, hopefully I can have some of the same success he had.’
Strauss : What was the transition like once you finally got to Western Michigan?
White : I wouldn’t say it was tough. It was different going against guys that are at the college level and guys with faster, guys who were bigger. Personally, the defining thing was more mental than anything, but after a few years of getting used to it, and knowing what you can expect from most players, it became easier.
Strauss : What was it like to redshirt your freshman year?
White : I wasn’t excited about it obviously, because I was hurt but I figured out that I think it helped me learn the offense for one. Then just to become a better player and I got to observe one of the our older receivers, Jamarko Simmons. The successful spirit that he had helped me.
Strauss : You got to play a bit during your redshirt freshman year, what was that like?
White : It was a little strange. I was still just playing. I still remember my first touchdown. It was a little different. It was a lot different than high school. The guys were faster, bigger, and stronger. Mentally, I think the game was faster because you have to know how to play and how you have to move and what you can do on the field. It was different at first, but it was a good learning experience.
Strauss : So in 2009, you picked up the pace a bit, and produced four 100-yard receiving games. What was your 2009 season like?
White : My 2009 season was good. I think that was more my break out year as me and one of our other wide receivers, Juan Nunez, had a good year. I had a good year as well. That was kind of our first year taking over Perez and Jamarko who had just left the year before. I think that year in the fall we had the ball placed in our court. We started to have to carry our team. We were responsible for the majority of wide receivers yards and responsible for the majority of what was done when it came to throwing the ball. We took a lot of responsibility in that and I think we had a good successful year. I know I hurt there for a few games, two games with an ankle injury. But for the most part, it was a good year, my healthiest year since I got to WMU, and it just continued out in 2010.
Strauss : In your 2010 year you put yourself in the map. You had over 1,000 yards, 10 touch downs, almost 15 yards per reception average. What was the highlight of the 2010 year for you?
White : I’m not sure. I mean it wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like it was a long time ago. I think just playing a whole healthy season. I think for me, and another of the wide receiver, Juan Nunez who had some injuries in his career. Just playing all twelve games and being healthy for all twelve of them. Playing as many snaps as I can because my college career started out bumpy by getting hurt that first year, and then that second year in 2007, I wasn’t mentally ready to play the game. And, finally in 2010 is when I was able to play my best ability and play all the games. Staying healthy was the highlight of the year.
Strauss : After your 2010 season which was technically your third year of playing. You had to apply to the NCAA to get another year of eligibility…
White : Yes, that’s how you’d be able to just ask for a sixth-year and they would say that you could play if you wanted to, but we’ve been through years of medical trauma in sports. But I didn’t know you actually had to appeal to get a sixth year of eligibility, so we did that at WMU. I remember they denied one of the guys from Purdue. He actually couldn’t get a sixth year, and they actually gave me a sixth year, a week later. I wasn’t sure of the process or how that went, but obviously I was fortunate enough to get sixth-year of playing.
Strauss : People put up numbers all the time and then the numbers go down after a great season like 2010 was. How did you stay motivated and productive in the off-season to help you get better in 2011?
White : I think more than anything, I think it was the mental aspect of the game because I didn’t know my limitations as far as my abilities on the field. I knew what I was capable of. I just had to go out there and I had study the game more and become more of a student of the game. I realize what defenses are going to do to me now that I had a successful year. I realized how they would try to play me. I think I studied that more than anything. Just the whole mental aspect of the game, I think it was what led to my success in 2011, and helped me go even far beyond what I did in 2010.
Strauss : In the 2011 season… What game sticks out in your mind that you want NFL scouts looking out?
White : The game that sticks out is Central Michigan to me. Just because they are our rivals, and we haven’t beaten them in five or six years. We were able to beat them finally. I don’t know which game I can say for the scouts, but I don’t know, every game was fine for me, even the bowl game, because we’ve been to two bowl games in the past. I was injured for both of them. It was a nice feeling to finally get to play in a bowl game. That was memorable, the Central Michigan game was memorable because we beat them. There was a lot of memorable moments in 2011, so I don’t know if I can choose one.
Strauss : Okay. You couldn’t be stopped in 2011. Who was the best defensive back that you faced in all of college?
White : I would say Ricardo Allen from Purdue, even though I had enough yards on him, but I think he’s the most talented. I faced [Dayonne] Nunley from Miami Ohio who I thought he was real good. I thought he played me well. I give him a lot of respect for how he played.
Strauss : Being a wide receiver, sometimes you want to get ten catches a game, but you look at a guy like Terrell Owens, and then complains that he wants the ball. How do you stay hungry for the ball and how do you continue to line up, run your routes every play regardless of if the play is not going to you?
White : I think in our offense, even though I have had the majority of the catches, for the most part, based on the quarterback’s read, anybody can get the ball at any time. So I think you just have to stay positive and whatever route you’re running, and maybe hope that the ball comes to you, but there have been times where I’ve ran off the ball and I run my route. I know that the play is probably not going to come to me because of the look we’ve been given by the defense, but you just have confidence on other guys to make plays. We did have that. We had a bunch of guys who made plays for us. Chleb Ravenell and Robert Arnheim who both had sixty or so catches each. Obviously, those are two guys that you can count on when I’m not getting the ball or when those guys weren’t getting the ball and I was, they can count on me to make a play and vice-versa. Basically, I think that’s just the way you have to keep it. Everybody wants the ball at receiver, it’s just the nature of the position, but in reality only one person can only get it during the play, so even if we had to run the ball, that was fine. You just got to stay hungry for it, but at the same time be realistic.
Strauss : What do you say to the people who doubt your blocking, and how do you grade you blocking?
White : My blocking is good. It’s always something that obviously could be worked on. I think when people say that we pass a lot, I mean we do, but just this 2011 year, the better part of the second half of the season, when we started strictly passing. So there’s been some blocking with myself, blocking in 2010. I have the ability to do it, but I think it’s something almost everybody can work on, and I’m physical enough to handle any blocking defensive backs at any level, so I don’t think it would be a problem at all.
Strauss : Were you at all disappointed that you didn’t get 2000 yards this season?
White : I’d rather have some more wins, maybe a bowl win than 2000 yards. I do look at it sometimes, and I was thinking, I could have gotten 89 more yards, and I could’ve had 2000 yards but I dropped a number of balls there. I mean I caught 140, but at the same time, you got a lot thrown to you, and I couldn’t make every catch but I tried to. I think if I can make four or five more tough catches that I might not have made it, I could’ve ended up with 2000 yards, but I’m fine with the amount that I had.
Strauss : You brought up your drops, how do you plan to get rid of the drops in NFL because every play is crucial and I understand you don’t want to drop it. How do you think you’re going to strengthen your hands so you don’t end up dropping as many in the NFL?
White : Well, I don’t need to strengthen my hands. I can catch the ball better than anybody basically, so I’m fine. It’s just when you have two hundred balls running to you in a year and the only drop maybe four. Everybody’s human, but four out of maybe one-hundred-fifty chances isn’t too bad you could say for a college athlete or a receiver in general. I have no problems with my hands at all. It’s just some tough catches that, although not many people can make, and I know that I have the capability of making, so I don’t think it has anything to do with my natural ability catching the ball because that’s one of my strong points.
Strauss : Two games that stick out in my mind when it comes to you competing, the Toledo game and the Purdue game. What was the most challenging part in those two games even though you produced all over 500 yards in receiving for both of them combined. What was the most challenging part for you?
White : I think just trying not to get hit too hard. I knew the ball was coming to me often and when you do get the ball often, obviously the defense knows that, so they’re going to be looking out for you. I think in the Toledo game, they were head-hunting a little bit. They knew the ball was coming to me majority of the time and I think they were looking for that and they were hitting me pretty good. The same thing with the Purdue game, where they hit me pretty good too. I don’t have a problem getting hit, but you just have to get back up, and be ready to play the next play.
Strauss : Do you get bored when you play sometimes especially when you destroy your competition?
White : No, I never get bored when I play. I just seem to have fun in the game when I’m out there, so I never get bored playing. Hopefully, I never will. I don’t know how you can get bored playing, honestly.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite catch in your career?
White : I don’t know if I could say I had a favorite catch. Jeez. I don’t know, maybe the one-handed one that I had in the bowl game, but I think a better one than that was the one I had later in the game where I caught it and jumped over a guy at the same time. I thought that was a better catch than that one. I had a nice one at Toledo about two years ago at home, I ran a double-move on a guy, kept like a tow end, I would say. Someone has a picture of that stuff and I thought that was pretty cool. I think the one-handed catch in Purdue was most notable.
Strauss : What was it like to receive all MAC honors for the past 2 years?
White : It was good. There have been a lot of guys who have come through the MAC, and for me to be first-team, it was a good honor. We’ve had a number of great players here who go out to the NFL and who had also been named first-team All MAC. Just being among those guys on that list is obviously an honor. It’s a good feeling, and very rewarding for the type of season that I had.
Strauss : Do you have a prediction for the WMU Broncos this coming season?
White : I think they’ll fare well. Obviously, our team was really young last year especially on the defensive, side and Coach Campbell is doing a good job with the young DBs. I think that could be our strong point this year. But our strong point is always throwing the ball, so we’ll find somebody to throw to, and we got two older guys in [Eric] Monette and [Josh] Schaffer, who have grown over these past months. When me, Rob and Kevin left, they’ve already taken over and got about five or six young guys who have some growing up to do, but at the same time had the skill level to play at the college level and be successful in this offense. I think someone’s going to have to step up a great deal, but like every year, Coach Cubit will find some guy who’ll step up for our defense and our offense that will be capable of playing to the highest level. I think that they’ll do just fine. They just got to win the important games and beat Central Michigan of course, and I think that’ll do just fine.
Strauss : Do you watch NFL Sundays, and how often do you watch the NFL?
White : I’m a big fan of the NFL. I think I always have been, even more than college football. I watch it a lot, especially these past two years, just thinking about playing at the next level, so I probably watched a lot. I can’t watch much of my home team, the Cleveland Browns, but I try to get as much as I can.
Strauss : Do you watch film of any guys in the NFL in particular?
White : I’ve got a lot of cut-ups on Chad Ochocinco/Johnson, Greg Jennings of course, when he played here too especially. I also watch a lot of Wes Walker tape, I’ve seen a few cutups of Andre Johnson, few of Reggie Wayne. I take a lot from the guys from NFL and try to incorporate what they do in my craft. I do try to watch a lot of tape on these other guys.
Strauss : And if a scout called you up right now, and said, ‘What player today would you say that your game is closest to?’
White : I’d say probably the closest player that I play like is Anquan Boldin. I’d even go as far as saying even though he’s very underrated, Derrick Mason. From his route running, and he’s had a number of thousand yard seasons, but often times, he gets overlooked because he may not be one of those big household names, but he’s always successful year in and year out. The same with me as I might not get as much as exposure or as much credit as some of these other guys do, but I’m always producing. That’s what I’ve always done. I think Coach Campbell who played at Michigan State, our DB coach, said that I reminded him of Derrick Mason, because of his route running ability and his craftiness in the slot and outside the slot. So I think that would be my best comparison would be an Anquan Boldin, Wes Welker, and Derrick Mason mix.
Strauss : If you had to boil down your success in college and say these are the three reasons why I had such a great season in 2010 and why I had even better season in 2011, what would the three things that you think helped you continue to be successful?
White : Staying healthy, a good quarterback, and a good offensive line. Basically. Those are the three things, if you can stay healthy, have a quarterback that will throw you the ball, and a good offensive line to give that quarterback time, then you can be successful.
Strauss : What was it like when you heard that you got invited to the NFL Combine?
White : It was a good feeling knowing that I was going to be able to showcase my skills and talents right next to some of these other guys who I guess are the upper-echelon of collegiate sports, but I don’t know. It just felt good because it was a level playing field for everybody there. Everybody had proved their talents to work for the NFL and to the scouts who were in attendance..
Strauss : How do you think you did at the NFL Combine?
White : I did good. Obviously, I didn’t care for my forty, but I think more and more I realize, I can care less about this forty-time but when I worked out for the Chiefs. He had enough to say about my speed, and they said they didn’t know I was that fast, and that quick, when it came to route running and things that matter, besides that forty-yard dash. It’s something to be fast and realistically, you don’t often run forty yards at a time, so I think I did really well in the interviews, and everything. I got to meet and greet with a lot of teams there, and I think they saw my football intelligence and I saw how high my football IQ was when it comes to offenses, running a system, and learning plays, and having the ability to do all that. I think everything even the physical aspects of it, was successful.
Speaker 1: You brought up your 40 time, how much prep did you do for your 40?
White : I went to train in Dallas. I think I did enough for my forty. I mean I could ran faster and I ran faster times obviously. I think for the most part, when I was there at the Combine, I just didn’t focus on some of the cues that I was supposed to focus on as far as lay down the forty, and after I came out of the blocks, blocks came out fine, but after that, I just didn’t feel comfortable with how I was running and I didn’t get the cues that I was taught.
Strauss : What was your Pro Day like?
White : My Pro Day was good. I knocked my forty down a little bit to a 4.57, and 4.60, which I am a low 4.5-guy and that’s what I always will be. That’s what you get when I play the game and that’s what you get when I run routes, so I think those guys can run 4.3, but you get them out on the field, and ask them to run a route, it’s going to be much slower than their forty is indicated. Basically, if you see me run routes, I run them at a fast, efficient speed. I run routes better than the all the guys out here, if not the best, I think. The routes were good. I talked to a lot of teams that were there. I was also excited about seeing the guys again and getting to work out with them one last time.
Strauss : Do you think last year you were the best route runner in the NCAA?
White : I think I was easily. Honestly, I think I was. It’s no disrespect to anybody else, but I think that’s something I’ve prided myself in more and more over the years was my craft at route running because I’m not the biggest or the fastest or the strongest. If I can be deceptive with my routes and run routes at a certain level, then I’ll be successful. I think that it is something I’ve been able to do and it’s something I’ll be able to continue to do.
Strauss : Who do you think the best route runner in the NFL is today?
White : There are a lot of guys. Chad Johnson obviously has good routes. Stevie Johnson has good routes from the Bills. There are a lot of guys with good routes at NFL, a lot of guys that I’m leaving out. Derek Mason has good routes. A lot of guys have good routes. This can go on and on. Andre Johnson is another. Greg Jennings has definitely some of the best routes in NFL, I would say. He’s so smooth. There are a lot of guys out there who are actually route runners.
Strauss : If a team called you up and said, “We have the next pick. Why should we select you?’ What’s your answer?
White : Because I’m a great asset to the team in the locker room, out of the locker room, on the field, off the field. One of—if not, the best receiver in this draft, even though people may not see it obviously because of the school I’m going to being from a small school. But I have all the intangibles. I’m a great route runner. I’m tough. Even though my forty might not indicate that I’m fast. If you turn on the film, and look at what I’ve been able to do, I’ve been successful for the past number of years. I continue to be successful working inside or outside in the slot or outside of the ball, and I just have the ability to always mix something happen. Even though it might not be these big flashy plays that people might see or might want. I’m always going to be in the right spot at the right time, and I’m always going to make plays which are beneficial to the team and just help create success for the offense.
Strauss : What would your mindset be if you were drafted by a team and they expected you to be a special teams player? What’s your opinion of special teams?
White : That would be fine with me. Any chance I get to play in the NFL, and play the sport I love at the highest level, it’s going to be something that I’ve always wanted to do. It’ll be something that I’ll continue to do. I’m willing to do whatever they ask me to do, whether it be at special teams or whether it be at receiver, wherever they need me, I will contribute. It’ll be a fun time, special teams or at receiver, either of the two, they would want to place me in, that I’ll be running through and I’ll be ready to do. I’ll be ready to contribute in any way.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
White : I’d say Neapolitan probably because I’ve been through a lot. I’ve seen a lot. Obviously there are a lot of flavors in Neapolitan, but I don’t know. There’s a lot going on with me. I’ve been to different countries. I’ve been hurt before. I’ve been here, and I’ve been there. I’ve seen a lot when it comes to football. I’ve spent a lot of years in college. I’ve played football. I’m a student who started my masters. When it comes to me, there’s a lot going on. Even though I might be a chill guy, but I’m going to say Neapolitan before anything.
Strauss : For someone who wants to play to make it in the NFL, what’s the best advice you can give them?
White : Just to stay humble. There’s a lot of guys out there who aren’t humble. Just give it all on the plays, and give all your glory to God. We’re all doing the things we’re doing for a reason because he set that up for us. He’s made it possible for us. Give all the praise to him. Just give back anytime you can because we were all on this situation before when we were younger players and maybe in the little league. We looked up to guys like us right now, like me, and it’s always been good when you can meet somebody who’s older than you who would always lend a helping hand or take the time out of his day to help you. Just give back to people and stay humble.
Strauss : Thanks so much for your time, Jordan. I really appreciate it.
White : Anytime.
Announcement : Thank you for listening to the interview with Jordan White. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you leave your comments below as well! Please check out my website www.prointerviews.org for other interviews, “LIKE” the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ProInterviews, and follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/ProInterviews. Thanks again for listening! Stay tuned for more, and feel free to contact me!
->Here are the personal questions that Jordan White answered.<-
Strauss : If you can be anyone, who would it be and why?
White : Manny Pacquiao because I think he’s best boxer out there right now.
Strauss : Could you take him?
White : No, definitely not. He can’t guard me though. I know that.
Strauss : What about if the person wasn’t alive, who would you want to meet?
White : Probably Martin Luther King, Jr. just to gain his perspective on things because I know there have obviously been a lot of changes in the world just because of him. I’m sure he’d have a lot of good things to say and he’d probably be one of the best people to sit and listen to.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star growing up?
White : I’d say Terrell Davis looking back to the Broncos.
Strauss : And why?
White : Because the Browns weren’t around when I started watching football on TV. I liked Terrell Davis as a player though so that’s why I chose him, or else, it would be some other Broncos player.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite TV show right now?
White : Probably that show, Hardcore Pawn.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite movie of all time?
White : I probably don’t have a favorite movie. I like a lot of movies and if I say one now, I’m going to look back at it, and I know that it’s not going to be the one that I wanted to say. So I can’t give you a definitive one, but I will say that I watch a lot of Martin Lawrence movies.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite type of pie?
White : Probably pumpkin pie.
Strauss : If you could choose, what would your last meal be on earth be?
White : Probably my mom’s chicken and rice with some apple juice.
Strauss : Do you have a favorite song you listen to before the game?
White : I don’t listen to music before the games.
Strauss : What do you do before the games?
White : I usually just sit there and try to get my mind off the game because I know if I think about it too much, I’ll start getting anxious. So what I try to do is just relax with one of our tackles. We kind-of used to joke around, but at the same time we were serious. I don’t know, I just try to do anything to keep loose and not think about the game so much in order to not get anxious. There’s no music for me.
Strauss : If you can have any super power, what would it be?
White : Oh definitely to fly or to go back in time.
Strauss : Thank you for answering the personal questions!