Mike White didn’t wait long to rev up the excitement in his post-college life.
Just two weeks after playing his last down for the Hilltoppers, the former Western Kentucky star asked his long-time girlfriend to be his wife.
“I didn’t want anybody to find out,” he laughed. “I was planning to do it the night after the bowl game (Dec. 17). But something happened with the jeweler and they couldn’t get the ring ready in time – so then I obviously rescheduled it to this past weekend.”
White begins the year 2018 as an engaged man and a NFL draft prospect starting the professional football phase of his life. The next four months will include a trip to the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and WKU’s pro day back in Bowling Green.
That all predicates the NFL Draft on April 26-28 in Arlington, Texas.
“(My quarterback coach Ken Mastrole) told me back before we started fall camp (in August), he said, ‘Listen, enjoy this time, because once camp hits, you’re nonstop for basically a year-and-a-half,’ ” White said. “ ‘You’re gonna play your senior year, then you’re gonna go straight into training, which hopefully goes straight into a camp with somebody which hopefully goes straight into another season. Then you’ll have an offseason.’
“It’s a grind and you couldn’t do it if you didn’t love every minute of it. It’s really cool. And it’s also nice to just really focus on only football. I don’t have to go classes, I don’t have to do any of that, it’s just focusing on taking care of my body, doing what I gotta do and going out to perform.”
White, who has a sports management degree from WKU, signed with agent Joel Segal and Lagardere Sports and Entertainment shortly after the 2017 season. That agency will help market White to National Football League franchises while the quarterback tries to prove through workouts he’s a bona fide next-level prospect.
After moving to Boca Raton, Fla., in December, White began training about four or five days after Western Kentucky’s final game in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla. He’s working on his speed and agility, doing position-specific drills, going through interview testing with former professional general managers and has the option of keeping his body fresh with massage therapy, yoga, pilates and stretch therapists.
White also has the luxury of picking the thoughts of his former teammates who are now in the League. Guys like Brandon Doughty (Miami), Taywan Taylor (Tennessee), Tyler Higbee (Los Angeles Rams) and George Fant (Seattle) all recently went through the strenuous transition.
“Just kinda asking them how they went through that process and what they wish they could’ve done different or what they thought that they did that helped them,” White said. “They’ve been a great reference point for me because they just want what’s best for me. They’re not gonna push me one way or the other because they don’t have a personal agenda. They all looked out for me and gave me some really good advice.”
A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., product, White transferred to WKU from South Florida before the 2015 season and sat out that year while Doughty set nearly every program passing record imaginable. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound White then took the starter’s job in 2016 and ran with it by throwing for 4,363 yards and 37 touchdowns while the Hilltoppers won a second-straight Conference USA championship.
He finished his Western career with more than 8,500 yards and completed 63 TD throws. Including his two years at USF, White totaled 11,262 yards passing and 74 passing TDs.
NFLDraftscout.com ranks White as the No. 11 QB in the 2018 draft class and walterfootball.com tabbed White as the 13th-best QB overall. In May, Mel Kiper of ESPN ranked White the No. 5 senior quarterback in college football.
“I try not to read too much into that stuff. Really all I really care about is the evaluators and the decision makers,” White said. “All these mock drafts are cool and stuff, but at the end of the day, they don’t really know what’s gonna happen on draft day. I try not to read too much into it, just take advice that I get from other scouts that give it to my agent or my quarterback coach. Just really focused on what I can control.”
— Follow WBKO sportswriter Chad Bishop on Twitter @MrChadBishop