Patriot to Golden Eagle

MRA Quarterback John White Chasing His Gridiron Dream


Moving from Winona Christian to Madison Ridgeland Academy in the ninth grade, John White’s continued dream to be a quarterback has risen to the next level – Division I competition at the University of Southern Mississippi. Now in his first semester in Hattiesburg the record-setting senior MRA quarterback is learning a new campus, making new friends and tackling a new playbook.

“It was a big jump going from a smaller school to MRA but it was what I needed to do to prepare me for college,” White said. 

While at Winona Christian, White had success. 

“My eighth grade year we were one game from a state championship and my freshman year, we lost in the semi-final.”

His mission and quest for a state championship would come true his sophomore year as starting quarterback for the Patriots. His junior and senior seasons ended in playoff action with a final and semi-final games. White has been under center since his Pee Wee days, the only time he also got to play defense as well.

“I got to play defensive end and got to go after the other quarterback,” he recalled. “It was fun but I slowly realized all I wanted to do was play quarterback.”

Playing under MRA Coach Herbert Davis, White knows he wouldn’t be a record setting and now DI quarterback without his guidance.

“He gave me the keys to run the team my sophomore year and we grew a great relationship and I thank him for everything he did for me over my career,” he said. 

White left the high school gridiron with some pretty impressive stats:

  • Owns the Mississippi high school all-time passing yards record with 15,259 career passing yards.
  • 177 total touchdowns and 70.2 completion percentage
  • Ranks Number 2 in Mississippi in all-time passing touchdowns.
  • Threw for 3,557 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior.
  • Voted MAIS 6A Player of the Year following senior campaign.
  • Named Mississippi Scoreboard first-team All-Metro at quarterback.
  • Tallied 3,175 yards with 28 touchdown passes as a junior.
  • Had 3,935 yards with 39 touchdowns as a sophomore.
  • Career record of 31-11 at MRA.

“When it happened (passing record), I didn’t think about it because we had lost the game and that was my last game,” White said. “It took a few weeks but now looking back on it, it’s a tremendous record to accomplish. I was blessed to be able to stay healthy long enough and play under great coaches and have a great offensive line and skill guys and receivers around me that helped me. It was a great record to accomplish and I was blessed to be able to do that.”

Looking back on his high school career, White didn’t have a favorite play but enjoyed the playbook for the Patriots that is designed with several options for the quarterback to decide where the ball will go on each snap. 

“We ran a little bit of both – Air Raid and RPO (run-pass option.) This past year we had a great o-line and great running back. We were balanced but I still threw it around as much as any high school quarterback would want to. The deep throw is definitely fun and that’s what everybody likes to see in the stands and on the sidelines. But you have to take what the defense gives you,” White said. 

With so many touchdowns and passing yardage on his resume, he had to reach back to the fourth grade when his dad was his coach for an embarrassing moment.

“We got into a little argument and I got a little bigger than I thought I was and he chewed me out in front of my friends,” he said. “That was real embarrassing for me.”

On the flip side, the most enjoyable high school season was his last. Even with a state championship and runner up his sophomore and junior years, he looks at his senior season as his favorite year.

“Just being so close with all the coaches and we played some really tough teams in rally tough games. We lost four games by a total of 12 points – by six, by two, three and one. My senior year will be the greatest that I will remember,” he said. 

The record setting QB noted that between his sophomore and junior seasons, he really clicked into his position – thanks to his head coach.

“Coach Davis and I sat down and talked through what I needed to do to get better. The main thing was to relax and play free. Not play tensed up and worry about making a mistake. Be how I practiced that week. That was the biggest jump for me,” he said.

Throughout his young career, White has looked up to long-time NFL Green Bay and now New York Jet quarterback Aaron Rogers. 

“He’s my favorite player to watch and try to mimic. He’s one of the great pure throwers of the football. I like to watch him and watch his games,” White said. “I like to watch all the great quarterbacks but I like Aaron Rogers.”

This past December, White graduated from high school to start his college career early. A decision made long ago that put him in summer school to get ahead all while working out with the team to get ahead on the field as well.

“My parents advised me and it was the greatest advice they ever gave me – to plan to do that before my sophomore year. I took two summer school classes for three of four summers in a row and that gave me enough credits to graduate early,” he said. “I still have great friends at MRA and talk with them all the time. This is something I had planned to do for a long time and I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to get down here and get a head start on fall camp with spring training. Yeah, you miss some things the second half of your senior year but I’ve been committed to this for a long time.”

White didn’t grow up cheering for the Rebels or Bulldogs. He was always neutral but now his focus is fully on the Golden Eagle black and gold. Settling in at USM in January, he explained the Golden Eagles were first on the recruiting radar. 

“Coach (Will) Hall was the first college coach to offer me a scholarship. We just clicked together and we grew a great relationship over the last three years of the recruiting process with me coming down here to games and practices. He’s had a great track record everywhere he’s been and I want to be a part of it,” White said. 

He doesn’t have a number yet as spring practice hasn’t started. The freshman is getting classes taken care of and adapting to the “business and job” type atmosphere college football is.

“Just after three weeks of workout, school and meetings you realize how much of a commitment it is. You wake up early every single morning and you stay up late. Every night studying for school and for football. It’s a big transition from high school to college. It’s like a job – you have somewhere to be and something to do pretty much all through the day.”

With seven quarterbacks competing for playing time at USM, White will have his hands full.

“It’s a great group of guys and a great coach in Coach (Jack) Walker. We’re going to compete and help each other and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Spoken like a true winner – an MRA Patriot looking to make his way to quarterbacking the Golden Eagles – John White.