By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
Tre’Davious White would have in all likelihood been a first-round Draft pick if he entered the 2016 NFL Draft. He didn’t.
Instead, White returned to LSU to not only get his college degree but to get another year of football and life experience before making the huge jump to the next level.
He accomplished both and the highly skilled cornerback became the first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“If I would have come out last year I believe I would have gone in the first round, but I wasn’t necessarily concerned about it because I knew God had a plan for me,’’ White said. “And this was my plan right here all along. I wanted to become a more complete player and I wanted to mature as a person. I knew last year as a 20,21-year-old that I wasn’t ready for the lifestyle of an NFL player. I wasn’t going to be able to balance the two, so I needed that extra year to just enjoy myself with my friends and just mature as a player and then get the opportunity to get my college degree. That was something I always wanted to do.
“And then also, my time at LSU, I hadn’t accomplished everything I wanted. I wanted to be first team All-SEC. I wanted to be first team All-American. I wanted to win the (Jim) Thorpe (Award, presented to the nation's best defensive back). And I wanted to win a national championship. I was able to achieve most of my goals and I feel like now I left a great standing there.’’
White earned his degree in sports administration. He was named first team All SEC and first team All-American. He was a Thorpe Finalist, but lost out to Southern Cal’s Adoree’ Jackson, another first-round pick (of the Tennessee Titans).
That’s a pretty good senior year for the 6-0, 197-pound cornerback. And he set a good example. While leaving college early for the Draft isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there isn’t anything wrong with finishing school, and getting that degree, either.
“I just wanted to be different,’’ White said. “My mindset was different. Growing up, I had a lot of family members and a lot of my best friends go the wrong route. I didn’t want to do that. You’ll hear me say over and over again my purpose is to motivate and inspire. That’s what I wanted to do and my mindset was, ‘just because I’m in this certain type of situation. I’m not going to stay here.’ Just because I’m living a certain way, I’m not going to live this all of my life. So, each and every day, my mom and my dad will tell you, I worked out probably three times a day growing up. Just getting up doing my extra workouts and then going to school and doing another workout, then after coming home and doing my own thing. It was bigger than football.’’
White wanted to set an example for the kids back in his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. He did that. And when his NFL career is over he wants to do even more for his community.
“I pretty much wanted to do it with the best of both worlds,’’ White said. “Get my degree and have the kids in my community see me do that. Going back and passing on money? They’ll be like, ‘Well, it’s not all about that. He’s different. He’s a guy that we can pretty much learn from and he can inspire us to get a degree also.’ It’s not just all about playing sports and being known as an athlete.’’
White hopes to have a long career — and the Bills after taking him in the first round hope so as well. However, he already knows what he wants to do when it’s over. And it’s putting to use his college degree and going back to help his hometown.
“I feel that my calling is to go back to Shreveport and become the head coach of my high school’s football team,’’ White said. “I feel that I’ll be able to motivate and inspire kids that way and also I can go the administrative side of if I want and become an athletic director.’’