College Football

Pat White is an NFL quarterback

In what was arguably the best bowl game of the season in college football, West Virginia escaped North Carolina with a 31-30 victory to capture the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. and spoiled what was basically the Tar Heel fans’ home game.

Senior quarterback Pat White threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alric Arnett midway through the fourth quarter and the victory was sealed for the Mountaineers by a Pat Lazear interception. White eclipsed his previous highest passing yards of 222 yards against Louisville in 2006 with an astonishing 332 yards and completing 26 of 32 passes as well as adding three touchdowns to the cause.

His greatest final accomplishments as a senior were winning Most Valuable Player honors in a bowl for the third straight year and remarkably becoming the first college quarterback to win 4 consecutive bowl games as a starter.

Just to give you an idea of how revered he has become, West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart said, “I’m sitting by the greatest winner in college football today. He’s the greatest to ever win the old gold and blue. It’s a fitting tribute that this man’s the MVP.”

Stewart also told an ESPN reporter, “Pat White is the kind of man him and his wife want their son too be like.”

When White was asked what his best moment of the game was he replied, “when we kneeled the ball, the best play in college football.”

Sure if he decides to enter the combine he will endure a lengthy and detailed interview process but I hope for his sake NFL scouts were listening because I believe that statement alone should at least solidify the introduction portion.

After watching Stewart kiss his quarterback on the forehead I couldn’t help but be touched not just as a fan of football but more relatable to everyone’s interest, a fan of life. Even though I have seen past performances come close to as riveting as this one and watched his career from his freshman season in 2005, as obsessed a fan that I am of the game of football no matter if its collegiate or professional, I noticed a special kid developing into a great athlete.

His passing yards grew steadily over the years of his time at West Virginia and most importantly the interceptions stayed at an even-keel as well as showing with his feet that he was arguably one of the best if not the best rushers in college football history.

To stay within the mark of 7 interceptions per season in your career is very impressive, granted the Mountaineers love running the ball and have rushed for 13,801 yards since White took his first snap in 2005. The program can be credited for producing talents such as Steve Slayton who now calls the Texans home and a sure to be top draft pick Noel Devine, who complemented Slayton’s quickness so well when he was there.

The main ingredient who made there rushing attack work so well was the man himself who was blessed with ability, Pat White. After all, he did finish his career with 4,480 rushing yards.

I understand the pundits will use West Virginia’s potent rushing attack as a reason why Pat White has come along so well as a quarterback and that his agility as a rusher along with his running backs have contributed the most to the offense leaving White with short fields to take advantage of as a quarterback on Saturdays, even despite finishing his collegiate career with a 142.41 passer rating. Some might not want to call him a “pure passer,” but athletic ability coupled with a dangerous passer makes for a deadly athlete.

What NFL team do you know that doesn’t want a potentially deadly athlete playing the quarterback position? Of course in a former player like Michael Vick’s case that deadly talent can be combined with deadly off the field troubles that can destroy a franchise. Believe me I have done my research and issues of character seem like a non-factor for White. Having a family and a coach as a mentor while playing your college football in a supportive community goes a long way in establishing the sort of beliefs and determination it takes for a young man too mature and lead men at the next level on a playoff caliber team.

Sadly still, none of the experts are even considering Pat White as a late round sleeper. Even with the NFL Draft being four months away, why not at least consider a debate of where in the draft he’ll be picked and what team he might land on?

With all of these examples of what a future NFL quarterback consists of, where is the love from the national sports media?

Not to overshadow the fact that White is undersized at 6′1 190 pounds to be considered a prototypical NFL quarterback for most scouts, which is a deserved assessment by all means, but if anyone has seen his play he can attest to him withstanding the hardest hits and persevering through the physical conditions a quarterback is faced with time and time again.

Where is any of this valuable information being discussed?

I believe if teamed with the right trainers, Pat White could definitely gain at least 10 or more pounds and have a very legitimate shot at being drafted early in the second round if not the first.

Just to mention, a quarterback who has a similar style of play and potential physical makeup that Pat can aspire to gain was drafted first in the second round and almost surpassed Dan Marino’s single season passing record. I know I will receive criticism for mentioning Drew Brees as being successful since he hasn’t won a championship yet like Marino failed to do. I am only considering the possibilities of White’s talents paired with the right guidance from experienced NFL coaches.

As a fan, what angers me the most is the almost eerie silence and ignorance towards how Pat’s gifted athleticism can impact the NFL and who knows maybe even win a Super Bowl someday, as far fetched as that might sound.

The issue that finally resonates with me the most is the continuance of African-American and other minority quarterbacks represented and representing themselves well in the NFL. It’s certainly nice to see minority franchise quarterbacks like Donovan Mcnabb and Jason Campbell as well as younger players such as Jamarcus Russell and Tarvaris Jackson, who progressed nicely towards the end of the 2008 season, show the league that minorities can and will secure their positions as quarterbacks.

So far, I am proud of the progress the NFL has made thus far in their strides to give minority quarterbacks a fair shot. But I hope they don’t stop now, wish I could say the same for coaches as well.

Frankly I would hate to see White drafted as a receiver or a quarterback and be limited to playing the receiver position. Sure, he’s a gifted dual threat on the field but allow the man too show that he can primarily play quarterback first. Why is he not garnering as much attention as Joe Flacco who played in a much smaller and less competitive division?

There needs too be a spotlight and it needs to shine on Pat White.

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