March 10, 2009

White touring the Big Ten, sees Michigan next

Livonia, Mich., all-purpose back Austin White has been making the rounds the past few weeks. He's already visited three Big Ten schools since early February and will see his fourth program Friday when he attends Michigan's Junior Day …

"It's been a busy month," said White, a 6-0, 186-pounder with 4.44 speed. "I went to Iowa a few weeks ago and Illinois two weeks ago, and then I went up to Michigan State for their basketball game against Purdue on Sunday.

"I've liked something, really everything, about each place I've been. I'll be at Michigan Friday and I'm really looking forward to that. I've gone there a few times before, but according to their coaches, not like this."

Considered one of the state of Michigan's top prospects in the Class of 2010 - ranked him the No. 8 recruit and the No. 2 running back in its early determination -- White sports scholarship offers from all four schools he's visited as well as Purdue and Wisconsin. He would like to see Madison in the next few weeks but is in no rush to make a decision.

"Some guys want to get it over with, but I'm taking my time," White said. "My plan right now is to wait until after my senior season, after I've taken all five official visits that I'm allowed. I want to make the right decision for my family and me.

"I don't want to make a quick decision right now just to make everyone else happy. I want to know everything there is to know about the schools I'm thinking about so that I don't second-guess myself and think about changing my mind."

When the Rivals100 and Rivals250 are unveiled this week, White has a chance at being included in the latter. He's not caught up in the rankings but he is determined to prove he's the best back in the state.

"I know who some of the other guys are and I'm not trying to sound cocky, but I think I'm the best," he said. "To be a great player, you have to have an edge to you and I do, but I know there are still things to work on. I need to hit the weight room and get bigger and stronger. I'm working on my speed training and I really want to work harder on my hands so college coaches think of me as an every-down back."

Each of White's suitors is recruiting him as a running back, though there is the opportunity to change positions down the road. White would like the chance to play early in his career, and that criteria will rank high among his deciding factors. But his top priority is finding a school where the people - coaches, teammates, support staff and fans - truly work together for the good of the program.

"Every place I've been, the facilities have been outstanding, the coaches' credentials speak for themselves, they have tradition and all that but I'm all about the people," White said. "I've been raised by two terrific parents and they've taught me that the people you surround yourself with are almost as important as the man you are."

Here's White on his four visits:

Iowa: "What I really liked about Iowa was how straightforward the coaches were. They seemed to really care about their players, which I appreciated. And they have a lot of experience with running backs, turning them into really productive college players that can go on to the NFL."

Illinois: "I don't know how to describe it other than to say it was a different experience. I liked it. They have state-of-the-art facilities and one of the first things they said to me was 'At Illinois, it's all about the people.' That was really great to hear."

Michigan State: "I feel comfortable there. It's close to my family and it has a good coach and good people."

Michigan: "From what I hear, from what I've seen, the coaches create a really fun environment and I know they like to win. They kind of gave us a little heads up on what to expect this week and it sounds like it's going to be a very competitive scene. I'm really looking forward to that."

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