CNU fits for LHS’ WhitePublished 10:52pm Thursday, April 17, 2014
D’Kente White had arrived at the end of his football career after his junior season at Lakeland High School, or so he thought.
He was talked into returning for his senior year, and his work on the field and in the classroom has now set him up to play in college at Christopher Newport University.
“This is pretty much like a second chance, second opportunity to do what I love to do,” White said.
He had planned to hang up his cleats, but Cavaliers assistant coach Richard Asbell came to his house before the start of pre-season in 2013 and had a message for him.
“He told me that he thought I had a future with the game and that he didn’t want to see it go to waste,” White said.
The young defensive/offensive lineman listened, returned and played well for Lakeland, earning a spot on the all-conference second team as a defensive tackle.
“I always wanted to play football, but I don’t really think that I thought about actually playing at the next level until late in my senior year,” he said, having played the sport since middle school.
Cavaliers first-time head coach Bryan Potts was excited to announce his first college signee, and made a point to emphasize how it happened — White’s academic performance opened the door.
He said CNU had their eye on him, but never had the conversation to make a solid offer.
“Once he got accepted into the school, it kind of spearheaded the conversation,” Potts said. “It all worked out because he’s a strong student, academically. Christopher Newport’s not an easy school to get into, academically.”
Purely based on his performance in the classroom, White was accepted to Hampton University, Virginia Wesleyan College, Hampden-Sydney College and St. John’s University.
Upon visiting CNU, he noticed it was a small campus, a place where everybody knows everybody, he said. Potts said White could have walked on at Hampton, but White said because of the atmosphere and smaller class sizes, “I decided Christopher Newport was the place for me to be.”
After White was in, CNU wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Paul Crowley and other coaches went back and looked at some film on him.
“They liked what they saw,” Potts said. “They’re expecting big things from D’Kente White. They like his size.”
Potts, a former King’s Fork High School assistant coach, said he saw White’s potential from when he was a Bulldog as a freshman, before later transferring to Lakeland.
Potts expects him to bring toughness, intelligence and athleticism to the Captains, most effectively on the defensive side.
Reacting to White’s signing, Asbell, the one who brought him back to the game, said, “I think that’s great. I’m very happy for him. Couldn’t happen to a better kid.”
He said what White brought to Lakeland and what he will bring to Christopher Newport is “leadership and hard work and just an enthusiasm for the game.”