MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For a player who never thought he'd end up in junior college, West Virginia receiver Kevin White sure seems happy that he did.
The star of WVU's spring game has so far sustained it during preseason practice with the Mountaineers and is on his way to starting at one of the two outside positions.
"It was always in me," White said. "Lackawanna brought it out of me."
White went to Emmaus (Pa.) High, the same school that sent center Aaron Gray to Pitt's basketball team, and White made the all-conference team as a senior as a defensive back and a receiver, that thanks to 47 catches, 747 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He wound up at Lackawanna College, in Scranton, Pa.
"Coming out of high school, I was so great, but going to junior college humbled me," White said.
White understood he wasn't where he wanted to be because he hadn't done enough to warrant inclusion. His first season at Lackawanna was mostly uneventful, but the offseason was not. He worked out at a revered sports performance training center in the Lehigh Valley and was a totally different player when he reported for his sophomore season.
He grew an inch or so and gained 15 pounds of muscle, but he was also faster in a straight line, quicker in tight spaces and able to combine his size, speed and agility like never before.
"I wanted to be the best to get out of junior college," White said. "To go Division I, you have to be spectacular. You have to do something that no one out there is doing. How big I am now, how well I move, how I attack the ball, how physical I am, I knew I wasn't at the best of my abilities then. I had to change something."
He changed his life. White, now 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, caught 36 passes for 525 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 and signed with the Mountaineers in February. That let him participate in spring football and make the most of a head start for a season in which WVU seeks to replace the productivity of NFL draft pick Stedman Bailey on the outside.
"It was a big help," he said. "The plays were hard at first, but now they're pretty easy. I got close to the players so we're real close now compared to coming down now when they don't really know you. Off the field, I'm with those guys a lot."