Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America, and was awarded 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
'Diesel is the man': White keeps energy high for Razorbacks
Arkansas receiver John David White makes a catch Thursday, April 15, 2021, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Take a quick look at the comment section under one of John David White’s recent Instagram posts and you’re likely to find a teammate calling him by the nickname he’s earned.
One of the standouts in Arkansas’ spring game in April, White has won the respect of those around him through his heart, hustle, performance on the practice field and energy. And he is in line to potentially be a key piece to the Razorbacks’ passing game.
“J-Diesel, just an awesome guy,” Arkansas receivers coach Kenny Guiton said Saturday. “A guy that does everything right, from off the field, on the field, wants to give his all. He gives every bit of effort that he has in him. I have a saying to my guys that the ball finds energy.
“The ball just finds energy, and JD White is the epitome of that. He's going to get balls thrown to him because he's so energized on the field and giving everything that he has for his teammates, for his brothers."
White finished with a team-high 5 receptions for 87 yards and 1 touchdown during Arkansas’ Red-White Game on April 17. That showing prompted second-year coach Sam Pittman to say the fourth-generation Razorback from Little Rock had worked his way into a role in the rotation at receiver as of the end of spring.
“Don’t you like him? I mean, I love him,” Pittman said. “He can separate in his routes, he catches, he blocks, he’s tough. There will certainly be a place for him because he’s earned that. I like him.”
In portions of past practices open to the media, White has shown a knack for making defenders miss in the open field and wiggling free.
Receiver Trey Knox said Saturday that White is a hard-working player who can seemingly run for miles and never tire out. He's also been known to deliver short speeches to hype teammates prior to practice.
“He's just a great teammate, a down-to-earth guy,” Knox said. “He wants to be around everybody. He works his tail off day in and day out. I'm really proud of how far he's come.
“He's been balling this past spring and starting right now. I'm just proud of him.”
White played 50 offensive snaps over seven games last season but did not record any statistics. He had two catches late in a blowout loss at LSU in 2019.
Receiver De’Vion Warren won’t be the least bit surprised if White is much more productive this year.
“Diesel is the man,” Warren said. “John David White is just a person that you come in every day and he's that one person you can look at and you just laugh and get excited, because he's always going to bring that energy. He's always going to motivate you.
"He's always going to be the person that when you look and say, 'Oh, I'm not feeling it,' he walks by and he's always happy and is always ready to work. He's one of those guys that makes sure the energy goes up every time you see him.”
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