Why Southern Miss football was the right fit for QB John White


HATTIESBURG — The night before Southern Miss football coach Will Hall won the Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II college football’s top player, the 5-foot-9 North Alabama quarterback reminisced about the doubters he’d encountered on his path. 

“Everybody thought I was too short to play,” he told the Associated Press in 2003. 

Hall’s newest quarterback commit can relate. 

Madison-Ridgeland Academy signal-caller John White says he currently stands at 6-foot, 200 pounds. He’s got three inches on his future coach, but still falls outside the physical mold embraced by college football’s top tier. 

Of the 47 high school quarterbacks signed by SEC programs over the last three recruiting cycles, 44 were taller than White. 

“That’s why some other coaches hadn’t offered me,” White, who committed to Southern Miss on Sunday. “They’ve told me they wish I was taller. It doesn’t make sense to me. I think if you’re a player and you can make plays, a coach shouldn’t worry about your size.” 

Madison-Ridgeland Academy quarterback John White looks for an opening during play against the Oakland, Tenn., Patriots at MRA in Madison Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.

White became the Golden Eagles’ first pledge in the Class of 2024, choosing Southern Miss from a list of offers that included Alabama A&M, FAU, Liberty and Toledo. 

As a sophomore in 2021, he led Madison-Ridgeland to the Mississippi 6A state championship. He completed 243 of his 358 passes on the season for 3,965 yards and 39 TDs. 

Just like Hall back in the day, there’s little doubt that White can sling it. And he lets the question marks over his size fuel him. 

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