ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Former ASU RB Rachaad White: NCAA investigation caused distraction in 2021

Mar 10, 2022, 8:47 AM

The culmination of past successes on the recruiting front and continuity, with a horde of returning starters, was supposed to jolt the Arizona State Sun Devil football program toward success in 2021.

An 8-5 record and a Las Vegas Bowl loss to Wisconsin did not meet the lofty expectations.

Head coach Herm Edwards remained adamant during the year that the NCAA investigation into the program’s recruiting practices, which led to three since-departed assistants to sit out the season, did not appear to impact his players. But coming off of a strong NFL Draft Combine experience, former Arizona State running back Rachaad White admitted on Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta that he could sense a weight that the investigation put on his team.

“We were trying to do the best we can,” he said on Wednesday. “It’s always difficult, especially as a team, as being young men, you know kind of what’s going on. It’s a bit of an unknown: any day this can happen, any day that can happen.

“I mean, we tried to do our best to block it out. At the end of the day just tough because distraction is what … kills things kinda, what messes up things. I feel like that was one of the biggest things that I felt like messed up our last season, is kind of being distracted by it and not being able to zone it out.”

Individually, though, White made the best of the past year.

In his second season at ASU, the senior rushed for 1,006 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He added 456 yards on 43 receptions with another score in the passing game.

White measured in at 6-foot and 214 pounds at the NFL Draft Combine last week with a 38-inch vertical and a 4.48-second time in the 40-yard dash. That only bolstered his growing stock after he performed this season and then got in front of scouts first at the Senior Bowl.

White, who spoke with the Arizona Cardinals at the combine, said his main message sent to NFL teams in pre-draft meetings was about his attention to detail.

“I just kind of had to take it in, soak it in all for myself,” said White, who got his collegiate start at Mt. San Antonio College from 2018-19. “I just have a positive outlook on everything in life because my journey, where I come from, it’s been a long road at the end of the day.

“(The combine) was fun for me. I was grateful, blessed to be up there, be in that position. My performance, I feel I did alright. I wasn’t satisfied with it, but I felt like I did solid, put a good foot forward and now it’s on to my pro day on Monday.”

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Chad Johnson Jr. (17) looks on before the college football g...
Haboob Blog

Kenny Dillingham lends life hack after Chad Johnson Jr. gets parking ticket

Receiver Chad Johnson Jr. tweeted on Monday that he got tagged with two boots on his car parked on Arizona State's campus.
5 days ago
(Screenshot via Jake Vanderbroek/Twitter)...
Associated Press

Report: 5-star QB Jaden Rashada visiting ASU football after Florida release

Five-star quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada is unofficially visiting the Arizona State campus on Friday, per a report.
9 days ago
Arizona Cardinals running back D.J. Foster reaches out to make a catch during drills at the team's ...
Austin Scott

ASU alumnus, former Cardinals RB D.J. Foster joins Sun Devils’ support staff

Former NFL tailback D.J. Foster is adding to his Valley football legacy as he will be joining first-year head coach Kenny Dillingham's staff.
10 days ago
Running back Jaden Knowles #25 of the Oklahoma Sooners breaks through the tackle of outside linebac...
Jake Anderson

5-star Oklahoma EDGE Clayton Smith transfers to Arizona State

EDGE Clayton Smith was a five-star recruit by Rivals, making him the highest-ranked player to transfer to Arizona State via the portal.
10 days ago
Arizona State's new football head coach Kenny Dillingham his son and wife Briana, right, attend the...
Arizona Sports

2023 ASU football schedule includes home-game heavy start

The Arizona State Sun Devils will begin the Kenny Dillingham era with a favorable schedule of four home games in a row.
11 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: Zamir White #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates his touchdown...
Associated Press

UGA football player killed in car wreck after title celebration

UGA OL Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member were killed early Sunday in a car wreck, the school said.
14 days ago
Former ASU RB Rachaad White: NCAA investigation caused distraction in 2021