By Gabriel Stovall
RIVERDALE, Ga. — Terry Herrod was in a hurry to talk about Greg White.
Not because Herrod was rushing and had better things to do besides talking to some reporter quizzing him about his sophomore wide receiver.
It was because of his excitement in the type of player White has been and has the potential to become, and because of the most recent confirmation White received to back up his coach’s notion.
The 6-foot-3 175 pound wideout garnered an invite to the prestigious Rising Seniors Bowl that will be played in December at Grady High’s Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta.
The game is a showcase of some of Georgia’s elite emerging talent, and often provides recruiting prospects the opportunity to get in front of college coaches and benefit from exposure to seminars conducted by active and former NFL players during the week of the game.
In other words, it’s no small invite. And Herrod believes his receiver is more than worthy of the attention — something that Herrod knew was inevitable for White.
“When I first laid eyes on that kid, I knew he was gonna be the guy,” Herrod said. “He’s got the combination of hard work and has a knack and nose for getting to the football. He’s a playmaker.”
The folks that ran the Rising Seniors combine back in December know that now. Herrod said his wideout “put on a show” at the combine, which led to him getting the invite. And White, humble as he may be, didn’t argue with his coach’s assessment.
“I just tried to go up there and put on a show for the coaches at the camp,” White said. “It was some good competition up there. I guess I did good, because they kept calling me back out (on the field) because they wanted the kind of competition I was offering.”
Thanks to his good showing, the invite to be placed on one of the 2015 rosters came, and it stoked the flame of White’s confidence just in time to start ramping up preparations for the 2015 football season at Riverdale.
“It really made me feel like I can really do good in games and stuff,” White said. “Because, honestly, when I first went out there, I didn’t think I was gonna show out like that. I didn’t think I was gonna make that many plays. I feel like now I can really do good during the season. It really did bring my confidence up that I can be better than last year.”
Not that White was any slouch for the Raiders who went 3-7 in 2014. Herrod acknowledged he wasn’t “much of a stats guy,” so good luck figuring out how many yards, catches and touchdowns White had in 2014.
But the way Herrod described White’s importance to his offense might say more about his ability than any stat sheet could tell you.
“I’ll tell you like this. Whenever it was 4th and 5 and we needed to have a first down, Greg White was gonna get the ball,” Herrod said. “If he continues to develop and grow, he can be on the same level as a receiver as a guy like Rashad Canty.”
Canty, a 2014 graduate and Vanderbilt signee, was a three-star recruit coming out of Riverdale where he was a three-year starter. He grabbed 52 balls for 822 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior campaign. And though the 6-foot-3, 215 pounder didn’t see action as a true freshman at Vandy, he showed ample promise on the Commodores’ scout team.
And for those reasons, White says he’s perfectly fine with the comparison.
“It feels good to hear things like that from (Coach Herrod),” White said. “That just means I must be doing something real good. I learned a lot from Rashad. A lot of things I’m using today. I still keep in contact with him, and he tells me things and gives me a lot of good tips, especially with running routes better.”
With White and fellow rising junior Joseph Cambridge — whom White said he’s known since the sixth grade — returning at quarterback, the Raiders offense should add some potency.
Herrod believes it’ll happen, too, because he knows the kind of effort White puts in during the season and in the offseason.
“He’s as humble as can be,” Herrod said. “His work ethic is great. He doesn’t say a whole lot. He’s a joy to coach. He just works and grinds.”
Sounds like Coach has been reading White’s Twitter page. In his bio section, right above a link to his hudl.com highlight reel, are the words: “I grind, they sleep.”
It’s a short phrase that White says embodies his approach to life both on and off the field.
“I grind hard every day,” said White who has a 3.0 grade point average. “Always working hard on the field and in the classroom.”