FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – If there was ever an offense built for a pass-catching tight end it's the one that the West squad is running in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. And for a guy like Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge four-star tight end Aron White, he's chomping at the bit to get out on the field on Thursday.
"I think it's a lot of fun because we definitely do throw the ball around more than we do at my high school," White, a 6-foot-4, 213-pounder, said. "This year we had such a good running back, we were a little more 50-50 and ran the ball more. To get out there more and catch more passes and go no huddle is great. It'll kind of wear the defense down and make it easier to throw on them.
"The offense is pretty easy to understand. I think the hardest thing is the increased competition. Everybody is so much better than what you are used to playing against week in and week out. This is another step closer to playing on the next level. You have to get used to it."
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So how has White's adjustment been?
"The first day I was like 'Wow, everybody is so good. I wonder how I stack up.' " he said. "I think I've played pretty well as far as how things have gone this week.
"I think I definitely belong. It took a little getting used to because I've been playing basketball. Coming back and playing football is a little bit different. I think that as time goes on, I'm more and more fitting in as far as competing with everybody."
White is one of three Missouri players in the game. He's joined by Harrisonville, Mo., defensive end Michael Keck and North Kansas City offensive lineman Jayson Palmgren. White said he feels a sense of responsibility to represent his state with his best effort.
"You don't really hear about too many big players coming out of Missouri," White said.
"Most people think of basketball guys. It feels good to represent Missouri and be one of the few guys here. Logan Gray, my teammate, was picked to the Elite 11, and I think he definitely represented really well, and I have to do the same thing here."
White is a longtime Georgia commitment. He picked UGA back in late August, turning down scholarship offers from Arizona State, Cal, Clemson, Iowa, Kansas State and Missouri. He said he's proud of the Bulldogs season, despite the up and down season.
"They started off the season a little shaky as far as the quarterback situation," he said. "There were a lot of uncertainties as far as who was going to play. There were a lot of growing pains with Matt Stafford being so young. I think he's definitely going to be a guy that's really good at Georgia for years to come.
"I think we bounced back at the end of the season after losing to Kentucky and Vanderbilt, which were two games coming into we thought we were going to win. We were obviously disappointed, but we still finished up 8-4 and that's not a bad season at all."
White is excited about his future at UGA.
"We have a great recruiting class, especially when we added a few junior college guys there at the end," he said. "That'll help out with the line. We'll be pretty good for a few years to come. They put out some good tight ends. When you look at the past few years and the names they've put out, you have to feel good about your chances to succeed when you're there."