There are plenty of preconceived notions when it comes to Walled Lake Western wide receiver/defensive back Cody White.
First, as the son of former Lions cornerback Sheldon White, who later joined the team’s front office, rising to interim general manager, one could assume White has been in football pads since the day he could walk.
“My dad kept me away from all of the tackling and contact until I was in the sixth grade,” White said. “I was looking at him crazy. I wanted to be out there playing tackle football. But I knew where he was coming from, from his point of view, so I knew why he kept me away from it.”
White began playing football at 5, but it was flag football.
And as the son of a former NFL player, one could assume White was only a football player. But in addition to football, White plays basketball, baseball and runs track at Western.
“My dad always had me playing a bunch of different sports,” White said. “He wanted me to pick the sport that I felt was best for me, not him pick the sport for me.”
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Last spring, White played every position on the baseball field except first base and catcher, and at the same time ran the 4×100 relay and did the high jump and long jump on the track team.
He believes playing other sports has made him a better football player.
“I feel like it helps me in the aspects football cannot,” he said. “Like working muscles in basketball you may not use in football or working muscles in baseball and track that you might not use in football. Just working your muscles year-round and making sure you’re in shape year-round. I feel like it’s good for me.”
White is an exceptional defensive back, but he made his mark as a receiver. Last season, he caught 59 passes for 1,148 yards and 14 touchdowns in helping the Warriors reach the Division 2 semifinals.
But he did not grow up as a receiver. In fact, he didn’t begin concentrating on receiver until coach Mike Zdebski moved him there as a sophomore.
“When I was a freshman, I was the freshman quarterback,” he said. “Then we had Kyle Thomas at quarterback, so he had that spot. Coach Z moved me to receiver, and I just got really good at it.”
White has been attending Lions home games since he was 6, and his father has given him advice about how to approach the game.
“He just tells me to make sure you’re going as hard as you can, don’t leave anything on the field or away from the field,” he said. “Make sure you go out there and play like it’s your last down, play like it’s your last game.”
White, who has a 3.54 grade-point average, grew up a Michigan State fan and began attending MSU games as a youngster with his grandparents, who are MSU grads. He committed to MSU in April, in part, because he said it felt like home.
Last month, his father was hired as a special consultant to MSU’s football program.
So much for going away from home for college.
“It’s a good thing,” White said. “My dad’s up there, so now my family gets to stay in Michigan, so that’s a good thing.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.
Meet the Warriors
Last season: 12-1.
Top players: WR/DB Cody White, OT/DT Rob Hudson, DB Jack Dodge, QB Johnny Tracy, slot/DB Kam Ford, DEs Josh Johnson and Jason Peets.
State playoff record: 27-16.
Coach: Mike Zdebski, 19th season (139-55).
Overview: White (Michigan State) can impact a game offensively and defensively. Hudson is a dominating two-way lineman. Dodge had nine interceptions last season. Tracy, a backup at Brother Rice last season, is going to have an outstanding season. This could be one of the top secondaries in the state.