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Omar White: Valdosta Defender Ready for Prime Time

By Phil Jones

Wildcats Lineman Discusses Colorado Commitment, Unfinished Business

The Valdosta High Wildcat defense was statistically one of the best in the state last season, allowing just 104 points over the 11-game season, an average of a meager 9.5 points per game. On a unit with several top playmakers, one of the most dominant and feared leaders of that suffocating Valdosta defense was junior defensive tackle Omar White.

The 6-foot, 3-inch lineman weighs in at 310 pounds, but is quick as a cat in negotiating opposing offensive linemen, as his personal stats showed in 2022. White had 66 total tackles, including seven sacks, and he was credited with one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

With still another season remaining at Valdosta, Omar White is receiving a lot of attention from college recruiters, and for good reason. He’s rated as a four-star recruit by most services, with 24/7 Sports ranking him as the No. 13 defensive lineman in the country.

Despite the attention and offers from practically every college in the country, White verbally committed to the Colorado Buffalos and new head coach Deion Sanders, aka “Coach Prime,” over the Christmas break.

“Omar White is a dynamic football player who has excellent upside,” said Valdosta defensive line coach Seneric McCurdy. “He is a very explosive defensive lineman who plays with violent hands. He already has the size and measurables of a starting Pac 12 defensive lineman. There is no doubt that Omar White will bring a lot of energy and contribute immediately at the University of Colorado.”

During his time off from school over the holidays, Omar White spoke with us about his commitment to Colorado, as well as the expectations for him and his Valdosta teammates in what will be his senior season in 2023.

ITG Next: Omar, congratulations on your recent commitment to the University of Colorado. What was it that drew you to the Buffaloes?

White: I just enjoyed being around good guys and guys like me, as well as great coaches during my trip out there. I have had a great relationship with coach [Charles] Kelly and coach Nick [Williams]. (White had been recruited by Kelly and Williams in their previous positions prior to joining Sanders at Colorado. Defensive coordinator Kelly previously was at Alabama, while defensive ends coach Williams was at Texas A&M.)

ITG Next: Omar, you certainly had built a great relationship with those coaches, and I understand you valued the rapport you built with them. What about the desire to want to play for coach Sanders?

White: He comes with so much love and passion for the game, and he’s been everywhere I’ve been and where I want to go. Coach Prime knows exactly what it takes and what needs to be done. You know when you’re playing for Coach prime that there’s going to be lights and cameras everywhere, and that’s when it’s time to perform!

ITG Next: Have the coaches indicated to you if you’ll have a chance to come in and play right away?

White: They told me that I was an SEC-caliber D-lineman and that they felt fortunate to have landed me. They didn’t make any promises, but they did tell me that if I came out there and did what I needed to do and put the work in that I should have no problem breaking into the starting lineup – that I’d be right there with the rest of the 1s [starters]. I’m looking forward to getting out there early and making an impact.

ITG Next: Let’s talk about this upcoming season at Valdosta, which will be your senior season with the Wildcats. Do you feel like you guys have some unfinished business?

White: For sure, I’m looking forward to it. I want to go out with a state championship. That is definitely the goal. I mean, our whole defense is coming back. We had the best defense with the lowest amount of points allowed in the whole state. I think our offense is going to grow a lot from last year, and that will give us an even better chance to get to the big [championship] game.

ITG Next: Omar, no question, you guys were one of the best defenses I’ve ever seen. How good was that defense? You’ve played a lot of defense growing up through rec ball and middle school. Was this the best group of defenders you’ve played with? The numbers certainly speak for themselves.

White: This is one of the best defenses I’ve played on in my entire career. Every one of us played with such energy, and with [Valdosta head coach Shelton] Felton behind us, I don’t think there is a better defense out there. Everyone is so fast and physical getting to the ball.

ITG Next: What’s your biggest strength as a defensive lineman?

White: I know people talk about my size, but I think it’s how smart I am and the amount of time I spend watching film and studying our opponent – what our opposition is going to do, and figuring out where I need to be, to stay one step ahead of them. I watch a lot of film with my teammates, and that helps me become a better player and make the plays I need to.

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