By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the best running backs on the local scene early in the college football season has been Division II West Chester junior Rondell White.
Through two games, White has rushed for 254 yards and also caught ten passes for an additional 94 yards and a touchdown. He exploded out of the gate with 209 yards on the ground in a season opening loss at (FCS) Delaware. The 209 yards representing the highest total by a visiting running back in Delaware Stadium history.
This past weekend, the numbers were not as eye popping (45 yards rushing, 3-34 receiving) as the Golden Rams rallied to beat Gannon 21-17, but White made a couple of key plays late in the fourth quarter that helped kickstart what proved to be the game winning touchdown drive. Following a first down sack, White exploded for 16 yards off a screen pass on 2nd and 17 and then burst for ten yards on 3rd down on the next play. West Chester would score their touchdown four plays later.
“That was a huge play,” head coach Bill Zwaan said after the game. “Huge play on the screen. We had a tough time running the ball, we couldn’t find him any seams so we had to try and do some things to get him the ball in the (passing) game. Screens are one of the ways we do it, and he did a really nice job with that.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Rondell White:
These are just the latest big plays for White, who has been a multi-purpose threat since he arrived on campus from Rustin High School in West Chester.
“They recruited me as a running back,” White says. “But my freshman year we had awesome running back(s) in D’Andre (Webb) and Jackson (Fagan). So they threw me at receiver, so I got a lot of receiving work in my freshman year. Then sophomore and junior they moved me back to running back, my regular position, so that’s where I will be all the time, unless I split out or something.”
Zwaan says White is a special talent.
“He’s got great hands, so you can always do stuff with him throwing the ball. And he finds the seams, he really does. And he is so hard to get down on the ground.”
White says that time he spent as a freshman playing wide receiver has really helped him become a better all-around offensive threat.
“Oh definitely. In high school, we didn’t really pass the ball that much. So coming here, (assistant) coach (Gerald) Toney, he showed me how to run routes crisp, keep them crisp, clean, nice routes. So when I’m split out I know what to do and how to operate.”
White accumulated 1,110 rushing and receiving yards as a sophomore last season, scoring 11 touchdowns.
West Chester is home on Saturday to host Millersville.
You can follow Matt on twitter @mattleonkyw.