East Central star linebacker Avery White was staying close to home no matter where he chose to go to college, but he decided it was best to keep it in-state.
White announced Tuesday that he has verbally committed to Southern Miss, choosing the Golden Eagles over South Alabama.
White said he called USM head coach Jay Hopson last week to inform him that he was verbally committing.
“I talked to Coach Hopson about a week ago,” White said. “I felt pretty confident about it. I went ahead and committed.
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“He was very excited. He said he can’t wait to get me up there.”
White said the way the USM staff communicated with him throughout the process made a big difference in his decision.
“Just the way they kept the connection with me,” he said. “They talked with me every day about everything.”
White is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound linebacker who features a 40-yard dash time of 4.5 seconds. He has 138 tackles and 11 sacks this year after totaling 202 tackles as a junior.
While he has the potential to move to safety, White was recruited as a linebacker by USM.
A pair of former East Central standouts, freshman running back Tony Brown and freshman offensive lineman Wyatt Green, are both in the middle of redshirt seasons at South Alabama. They will be joined by another former Hornet offensive lineman, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College tackle Conner Estes, next season.
White, who is also a standout left-handed pitcher and outfielder, will be in the black and gold when USM plays host to South Alabama in 2019. The Golden Eagles will travel to Mobile in 2020.
The idea of playing against his former East Central teammates is something White looks forward to.
“I think it would be pretty cool, honestly,” he said.
White, who will take part in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game, said he hasn’t decided yet whether to sign in December or in February.
East Central, which is the No. 1 Class 4A team in the state with a record of 11-0, will play host to West Lauderdale at 7 p.m. Friday in the third round of the playoffs.