Friday, August 2, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
Luke White has never played varsity football - or football at any level for that matter – prior this high school season and has 10 Friday nights this fall to convince some college football coach, somewhere, he is worthy of an athletic scholarship.
The football resume - four years of violin, two years of middle school soccer and three years of cross country with the Chattanooga Patriots - is a tad thin when it comes to gridiron experience.
A far flung idea one might think. But, desire, determination and hard work are not always found in a typed resume.
“It’s a dream of mine to be a college kicker and a big deal to earn an athletic scholarship,” said White who is an A and B student.
The 17-year-old senior who is home-schooled yet eligible to play for Hixson High School (lives in the Hixson zone) takes his first test three weeks from tonight (Aug. 23) as the Wildcats host Soddy Daisy in the season opener for both schools
“He came to me very raw, but has developed into a real good kicker,” said former U. of Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit who works with high school kickers all across the nation, including UTC’s Henrique Ribeiro and Baylor School senior Rafael Gaglianone.
“Luke understands the time he has to put in to be a good kicker and the potential is there.”
White was one of 45 of the top kickers from a seven state region at Wilhoit’s kicking camp in July and was graded about the middle of the pack by the ex-Vol kicker who was a high school All-American at Hendersonville (Tenn.) H.S. and All-SEC at Tennessee in 2006.
“I am excited to see how he does and the first time he runs on the field to kick an extra point or a field goal in that first high school game will, of course, be a big deal.”
Working with his dad since last summer, as well as Wilhoit, White is now consistent from 35-45 yards.
If accuracy in practice can translate into productivity in game situations, White should be a vital part of the veteran Hixson offense.
The Black and Gold, which was 7-4 in 2012 and has 22 seniors this year, will be led by senior quarterback Gill Brown who threw for 1,300 yards and ran for an additional 200 a year ago and junior running back Marshall Cooper.
White’s father, Jon White, recalls the start of his son’s interest in kicking a football.
“We were watching some Tennessee games a few years ago and after Luke noticed the kickers making field goals and extra points he said, ‘I can do that’ and for the last year he has put the time in to be a good kicker,” said the senior White who wrestled at Marion County High School in the early 1980s.
“I am pretty consistent from 45 yards out and on a good day I can make a couple from 50,” said the Hixson kicker who has a career practice best from 55.
The Wildcat coaches and players hope he has several “good Fridays” this fall. Good enough to be kicking at the next level this time next year.
contact B.B. Branton at firstname.lastname@example.org