College Days: Randy White

College Days: Randy White

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Each week throughout the 2013 season, recaps the college days of a pro football legend.

Randy White
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1994

Randy White had one of the coolest nicknames in the history of professional football…”Manster.” The moniker developed over the course of his 14-year Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys because his style of play resembled half man and half monster. He also had the rare gift of being not only one of the strongest players in the NFL, but one of the quickest.

White cut his teeth in football at Thomas McKean High School in Wilmington, Delaware. There he was a three-year starter at fullback and earned All-State honors. He was recruited to Maryland by head coach Roy Lester but saw only limited action in 1971 as a freshman when he carried the ball five times for 57 yards and one TD.

Randy is one of two Hall of Famers to play at Maryland. The other is Stan Jones.
Then a major change occurred in Maryland’s football program that greatly impacted White’s football career. Maryland, a program which had not had a winning season in nine years, decided to replace Lester with former Virginia Tech head coach Jerry Claiborne. 

The new coach recognized White’s immense talent but felt that running back was not the best position for the young athlete. “I thought about using him as a back but I didn’t think he had natural running action,” Claiborne later commented.

White agreed to be shifted to defensive end and hit the weight room for the next three years. He soon transformed himself from a 212-pounder who could bench press a little more than 200 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds to a hulking 250-pound menace who could run the 40 in 4.65 seconds and bench press better than 450 pounds. The results were obvious on the field.

As a senior in 1974, White earned All-American honors and helped Maryland to an 8-3 regular season record. The defensive tackle racked up 147 tackles, 12 quarterback sacks and 24 tackles for loss. His strong play earned him many awards as he was named Delaware’s Athlete of the Year, the UPI Lineman of the Year, the Amateur Athlete of the Year Award by the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association, and hoisted the Outland Trophy and the Vince Lombardi Award trophy. The Terps finished first in the ACC but lost to Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl. Despite the loss, White netted MVP honors for the game.  Maryland finished the season eighth in the final AP rankings.

White had not only garnered national acclaim but high praise from his college coach. “If I had to put it in flat out terms, he’s the best football player I’ve ever been associated with as an interior lineman, offensively or defensively,” stated the veteran Claiborne who had also coached at Alabama, Texas A&M, and Colorado. “He’s as big as most of them, he’s faster than all of them, and he’s stronger than all of them.”

His great play also earned the attention of the pros but not as a defensive end, but rather as a middle linebacker. “Imagine him roaming down the line and crushing people play after play,” said Cowboys Director of Player Personnel Gil Brandt. “We’d have to see if he could cover on passes. If he could, he might be another (Dick) Butkus and you don’t find those around very often.”

The smitten Cowboys took White with the second overall pick in the 1975 draft. For the first two seasons he was tested at the middle linebacker position but he didn't develop into a superstar until his third year, when Coach Tom Landry shifted him to the starting right defensive tackle. For the remainder of his 209-game NFL career, White was an outstanding anchor of the Cowboys' “Doomsday Defense.”

Randy’s HOF Bio>>
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