“I’m really excited about Keion,” coach Geoff Collins said Saturday. “I think when he came to us a year-and-a-half ago, there was a lot of build-up and a lot of excitement. And unfortunately Keion had some injury things and wasn’t ever 100% last year, but he is a tough, physical person. He’s a leader in the locker room, and it’s not a lot of rah-rah, it’s not a lot of talk, but just his attitude, his demeanor, his seriousness, his focus, how he works every single day kind of permeates throughout our entire locker room and our entire organization.”
During his time spent injured or out during the COVID season, White didn’t get too down, he said.
If he hadn’t improved from then until now, that would be the main disappointment – that’s why he focused on developing his game, particularly as a pass rusher. As a sophomore at Old Dominion in 2019, White was named second-team All-Conference USA, starting all 12 games at defensive end and finishing 10th in FBS with 19 tackles for loss (finishing fourth on the team with 62 tackles and tied for a team-leading 3.5 sacks).
“It was kind of crazy because I was at the high point in my career and then didn’t play for two years,” White said. “But like I said, everything happens for a reason, so you’ve just got to deal with the situation that’s thrown at you and just make the most of it. ...”
“I was pretty good then, but the goal is, if I don’t improve since then, then it was all for nothing, taking these couple years off. So I definitely feel like I improved in some of the passing game, using my hands a little bit better, not being so physical at the point of attack and throwing my body in there and just playing with a little bit more knowledge than I was before.”
Given his background at tight end, White said younger players have asked him for advice on anticipating what the offense may be thinking. That’s a role he’s happy to take on.
It also adds to his own game.
“It helps me a lot,” White said. “My main goal when I’m on the field is to be disruptive, and so by playing offense, I know what they don’t want the defense to be able to do, in any given situation. So when I’m on defense, I just do what they don’t want me to do. So it helps me, definitely, being more disruptive.”
For both White’s and Tech’s sake, Collins is happy to see a healthy White participating on defense and even taking on a leadership role.
“I’m just excited to see a healthy Keion White out there playing around, for him, for us,” Collins said. “And the thing I’m most excited about is who he is as a young man and the leader and the guy that kind of sets the tone on a daily basis in the locker room.”