New Bear Kevin White spoke about his long road to the NFL Draft after being selected seventh overall by Chicago. (Connor Morgan/Medill)
By Brian MacIver
Kevin White wants to be clear.
The former West Virginia wide receiver was happy to be drafted seventh overall Thursday night, happy to be taken by the Bears.
“I’m right here where I need to be,” White said.
And he’s happy to show up those who doubted him on his route to Chicago for the home of the draft and his new home.
“I want to prove a lot of people wrong,” he said. “High school coaches. People who didn’t give me a fair shot.”
After graduating from Emmaus High School in 2010, White didn’t have the grades for a Division I school and attended Lackawanna Junior College, according to a number of reports. He redshirted in 2010, and issues filling out financial-aid forms sidelined him again the following year.
He finally took the field in 2012.
“I was a no-namer,” White said. “During the season, me and a couple of guys … every day — I kid you not — after class, after practice, we would email coaches.”
White said he would send dozens of emails that would all start with: “This is Kevin White from Lackawanna College, will you please give me a shot?”
West Virginia did, and White turned into one of the nation’s best receivers.
In his senior year, the Biletnikoff award finalist for best college receiver caught 109 passes (third in the nation) for 1,447 yards (sixth) and 10 touchdowns. White set Mountaineers records with seven straight 100-yard receiving games to start the season and with 16 catches one game (against Texas).
The Bears fans gathered in the Auditorium Theatre for the first NFL Draft in Chicago since December 1963 seemed to approve of the pick. After NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced White was going to the Bears, the crowd erupted in “Let’s go Bears” and “Let’s go White” chants.
“This guy’s dynamic, he’s big, he’s strong and he’s ultra-competitive,” Bears general manager John Pace said in a press conference.
He also is Pace’s first draft pick as Bears general manager, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder who ran a 4.35 40 at the NFL combine. He is the deep threat Chicago lacked last season and will replace Brandon Marshall, who was traded to Miami in the offseason.
“[White] can play all over, so I see him as an outside receiver,” Pace said. “But what’s dangerous about this guy is, he can catch a quick slant and break a tackle and go 99 yards. He has that kind of play-making ability.”
Additional Reporting by Nick Kariuki