Orgeron says Devin White belongs alongside Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Devin White has quite the December ahead of him, but January will likely be the most critical month in regards to the middle linebacker’s future.
White, a projected first-round pick in April’s 2019 NFL Draft, admits he has thought about his professional future. It’s crossed his mind, but so has leading LSU to a championship. To him, it’s hard to juggle so many different goals while also preparing for the Fiesta Bowl.
The Springhill, La., native won’t sit down to discuss the draft until after Jan. 1. That, of course, is date White has circled on his calendar because simply, it’s the Tigers’ final game of the 2018 season. UCF is White’s focus, and then the rest will be pushed onto his plate once the game has come and gone.
“From the beginning of the season to end of the season, it’s all about my team,” White said. “Every guy that has the opportunity to go pro thinks about it. I just want to make sure I leave this place better than I found it. My legacy and stuff, who I stand for, what type of person I want to be remembered as -- I want everything to be done the right way. I don’t know if I reached that limit; that’s why there’s so much concern. I want to be the best LSU linebacker ever. That’s something Im’ still chasing at this point. I know I can’t be all the way out, being a team player, all my aspirations is a championship. I still haven’t won a championship. There’s still a lot of on my heart and my brain, to bring a championship to the great state of Louisiana.
“I see all the videos of Matt Flynn kissing the trophy and I always think, ‘Why can’t that be me?’ I know I can be done with a lot of hard work. I got a lot of great people around here to help me make a great decision for me and my family and for my team. After the bowl game, I’ll sit down with all the right people and make the right decision for me.”
That decision, of course, boils down to White returning to LSU for his senior season and perhaps leading his team to a mark beyond nine or 10 wins and into the College Football Playoff for the first time in his collegiate career.
At the same time, White could risk hurting his draft stock. He’s projected a likely first-round selection and returning for another season in Baton Rouge could potentially hurt his case, especially if he were to suffer an injury.
Regardless, the 2018 Butkus Award winner will suit up for at least one more contest against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, and in doing so, has already cemented his legacy as one of LSU’s best linebackers in program history and a selfless teammate.
“I’ve been a part of Ray Lewis. I’ve been a part of Patrick Willis, and he’s right there,” Coach Ed Orgeron said of White on Tuesday. “He’s one of the best I’ve ever been a part of as far as middle linebackers go. He’s very talented and I think he’s still getting better. He’ll have a tremendous pro career. He means a lot to us, to the state of Louisiana. He could opt not to play, but he has a lot of pride and unfinished business. He has not told me he’s going out yet. Devin is the ultimate team player and puts his team first. He did what he should do -- finish the season with his team.”
To White, skipping the Fiesta Bowl was never in question. It’s just next up on the schedule.
Of course, the topic became glorified after White’s teammate and fellow projected first-round pick Greedy Williams decided to declare for the draft and skip the bowl game. White took to Twitter to denounce any doubt that he’d suit up.
“It’s the next game on the schedule, so it’s the next game I’m going to play,’ White said.
“It was that simple for me. I tweeted what I tweeted because I was tired of people talking down for me. I wanted to let everyone know what I was doing and not having any ifs, ands or buts about what I was going to be doing. The best way was to get it out there and tweet it and go on with my life.”
From there, White will officially be on the clock.