If you were sleeping on Arizona State’s Rachaad White, there’s an excellent chance the Kansas City, Missouri native woke you up at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 6-foot, 214-pound White ran a blazing time of 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a result that qualifies as an excellent result given his imposing size and stature. White also recorded elite results in the vertical (38 inches) and broad jump (125 inches) en route to capturing an elite 9.8 RAS score.
Studying White’s tape is equally as breathtaking. The versatile ball-carrier possesses the diverse skill set necessary to develop into a haunting three-down bellcow.
White recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network regarding his JUCO experiences, serving as Arizona State’s workhorse in 2021, his excellent combine performance, how he developed his patient approach as a ball-carrier, which teams have shown interest in him throughout the pre-draft process, and so much more.
JM: I’m just going to get right into it because this stat blew me away. You accounted for 30.5% of Arizona State’s total yards on offense in 2021. How did you embrace that workhorse role as a guy that entered the season with just four career games for the Sun Devils under his belt?
RW: I looked at that as a terrific opportunity, the type of opportunity I’d been waiting on. Coming into this past season, I knew what the goal was. I had a high-level understanding of what the team was setting out to achieve. Of course, I had my own personal goals and accomplishments as well. There were things I wanted for myself.
The goal was to be here, where I am right now. I’ve established myself as somebody worthy of going through the pre-draft process in the eyes of the league. I’ve always wanted to play at the next level. Going into this past season, my coaches and everybody at the program believed in me. I had their full confidence and trust. They asked me to make plays. They looked to me when it mattered most. I embraced a leadership role on the offensive side of the ball. They could trust me to do anything they needed. That was the big thing for me. I’m thankful. I took advantage of the opportunities at my disposal.
JM: You certainly did just that. You arrived at Arizona State from the JUCO ranks. What was your JUCO experience like, and how did it differ from D-I?
RW: Most guys that find themselves at the JUCO level believe they can play at a higher level, and I felt that way as well. I believed I was overlooked for whatever reason. There are a lot of pain and heartbreaking moments that you live through throughout your JUCO experience. That’s why a lot of guys make it out of JUCO. The ones that make it out are the ones that embrace JUCO. You just embrace it because you know it can get you where you need to go if you approach it correctly. That holds true for both football and life in general.
JUCO taught me a bunch of lessons. I always believed, I always knew I could play at a higher level, a Power-5 level. I’m thankful that Arizona State gave me an opportunity. I owe everybody at the program a thank you. There were other schools that offered me scholarships and what have you. I was looking for an opportunity to showcase what I can do. I wanted to be that guy they felt like they needed, the guy they were searching for when they recruited me at JUCO in the first place.
JM: You became everything they needed and more. When we turn the tape on, we see an extremely patient ball-carrier with great vision. How did you become such a patient runner?
RW: I’ve just always been that way. I can’t really pinpoint a moment or anything like that. It’s always been my thing, so to speak. If you go back and cut on my high school film, I was already an extremely patient runner at that point in time. I was already patient then.
I’ve always been the type of ball-carrier that feels comfortable waiting for things to set up in front of me. That’s what I prefer to do. I don’t like to feel like I’m in a rush on the field for any given reason. I like to learn and get better at my craft. I become a better player in the film room as well. I honestly just love studying the game of football in general. If you do that, the game starts slowing down for you.
All of these things help me become a better player. Having great vision is just something I was blessed with.
JM: Today’s offenses place a ton of emphasis on utilizing running backs that can catch the ball coming out of the backfield. You had an incredible 43 receptions this past season for 456 yards. Tell me about your skills as a pass catcher and how comfortable you are with that going forward.
RW: I’m very comfortable playing in the passing game. We ran a different type of offense in high school. It required me to catch a bunch of passes coming out of the backfield. I grew up with three older brothers. I’ve been catching the ball my entire life. I wanted to be outside running around with them. We played catch all the time. We used to have neighborhood football games and things of that nature (laughs). Everybody would come out, run routes, and catch the ball.
I’ve been a natural hands-catcher my entire life. That’s just the type of guy I am. I could always catch the ball. I’m very comfortable. I’m thankful that I was blessed with solid-sized (9 ¾”) hands (laughs). It helps me catch the ball smoothly. I’m a playmaker and an athlete in the passing game. I’ve always wanted to help my teams in that area.
JM: You’re a natural pass catcher on tape. You put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. You ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. You also recorded a 38 inch vertical. Do you feel like you surprised some people in Indianapolis?
RW: I guess you could say life is full of surprises (laughs). That’s just how it goes. Like you said earlier, it was unfortunate that I only played in four games during my first season (2020) at Arizona State due to the pandemic. I had a chance to play a full season in 2021, an 11-game season. I was blessed to receive an invite to the combine. It was another opportunity I had to take full advantage of.
I approached my pre-combine training regimen head-on. That’s the type of person and player I am. I’m always trying to get better. I went out there and had fun. I’m truly enjoying the process.
That’s what I do every day. I’m enjoying all of these things one item at a time. Right now, I’m enjoying speaking with Justin from The Draft Network (laughs). I understand you only get one chance to go through this process and I’m trying to do it the correct way. That’s how I look at it. That’s my mentality. I’m just thankful. I’m happy and I’m having fun.
JM: You have the right mindset. Have you met with any teams virtually, or made any Top 30 in-person visits, and do you have any more of those coming up?
RW: I’ve met with a good amount of teams virtually. I’ve been losing count of who (laughs). I met with the Raiders, Bills, Saints, Bengals, Ravens, and a bunch of others. It’s been a great process for me. I recently took a trip to Cleveland and met with the Browns. I had a great trip there. I have a trip coming up to Tampa to meet with the Buccaneers.
Like I said earlier, I’m really enjoying this process and these visits. We’re having fun and talking about football. This is what I’ve wanted my entire life. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to focus on football 24/7, year-round. That’s where my mind is at.
JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why on tape. I’m going to give you a scenario and I’m curious to see which one you prefer. Would you rather score a 75-yard touchdown on your first carry of the game, or touch the ball six or more times on a long scoring drive?
RW: Both of those are cool with me, but I’ll take the 75-yard touchdown on my first carry of the game. That’s an energy booster for the team right there. That’s a big spark play. If I’m going 75 yards, that’s a great play. It means everybody did their job correctly. The offensive line blocked things up front, the receivers helped block on the edges, and I made the right read with the ball in my hands.
Those explosive plays can be rare. They’re becoming more and more difficult to create. You gotta take them where you can. These are dangerous, game-changing plays. I love bringing that juice and energy with a 75-yard play. The team can always use one of those.
JM: You make a strong argument for the 75-yard play. I’ve really appreciated your time today. I feel like this conversation has highlighted why Rachaad White is one of the more intriguing running backs available in the 2022 NFL Draft. What kind of impact are you going to make at the next level?
RW: Rachaad White is going to be Rachaad White. The biggest impact I can make is to help my team to win ball games. That’s all I’m trying to do. If I get drafted by a winning culture, I’m going to add to that. If I get drafted by an organization that needs to improve, I’m going to help build and establish that winning culture. I can’t wait to reach my destination. I’m coming for it all at the end of the day.