(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Every year, one player delivers an unexpected breakout season. Last year, that player was Tim White, a junior college transfer from College of the Canyons. Despite starting the season buried on the depth chart, White slowly worked his way up and finished the season with 57 receptions for 633 yards and eight touchdowns.
With the departure of reliable receivers Devin Lucien and Gary Chambers, White, along with Cam Smith will become the top target for whoever earns the starting quarterback spot.
The spotlight will be on White to progress even further from the wide receiver he was last year.
White started off from humble beginnings at College of the Canyons, deciding to go there after attending Hart High School in Santa Clarita, California. He had a strong redshirt sophomore season, totaling 667 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He says his experience in junior college prepared him well for the even tougher test of FBS football.
“My coaches were very tough and they didn’t let me slack,” he said. “That really helped me mature into the person I am now. I spent three years there so it has had a big impact on my life.”
White enters spring practice in a different situation then he was last year. The change of his place on the depth chart has not had much of an effect on his mindset, as he mentioned he is not trying to change much about his game, other than evolving as a playmaker.
His situation also differs in that he has a new wide receivers coach, Jay Norvell, at the helm. Norvell, who has an impressive resume that includes stints at Texas and Oklahoma, has already made a strong impact on the redshirt senior.
“We clicked right away,” White said. “We know it’s business and we know we have to go out there and get better every single day.”
The obvious athleticism that White brings to the table has translated over into another sport, track. White is one of just a few two-sport athletes on the team and has aspirations of competing in the triple jump at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
His ability to balance the two makes his rise that much more impressive. The objective for him now is to no longer try to establish himself, but now just make sure he stays as a primary wide receiver in the Sun Devils offense.
Norvell sees the potential in White, but has already begun to work with him to make sure he attains that next level.
“Tim just has to work hard and really master our offense,” Norvell said. “I think he has to understand that he can attack defenses and read defenses, and if he does that I think he will continue to have success.”
ASU will be able to count on White as not only a big play receiver, but someone who can contribute in the running game occasionally as well. He had just 69 yards on the ground last year, but could be a weapon when the Sun Devils want to mix it up offensively.
He is also the main kick returner, taking 36 kicks back, including one for a touchdown last season. He also had six punt returns in 2015.
While he seems destined to be a big contributor at wide receiver, White has established himself as a versatile option on both offense and special teams, making it almost a given he will be a big part of the Sun Devils success.