USD’s White signs with the Colts

USD's White signs with the Colts Jamel White, the record-breaking, all-American running back from The University of South Dakota, signed a free-agent contract April 18 with the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

White will attend the Colts' rookie minicamp Thursday, April 27 in Indianapolis. He will report back to Indianapolis after May 16. The Colts had a 13-3 record and an American Football Conference (AFC) Eastern Division Championship in 1999-2000. They advanced to the playoffs where they lost 19-16 to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round.

What a difference a year and a new coaching philosophy have meant to White. In 1999, he turned in one of the finest seasons ever fashioned by a Coyote running back in 104 seasons of Coyote football. White established 11 school records with the majority of his new marks shattering old standards. White, who possesses a rare blend of outstanding speed, strength and durability, ran for 1,807 yards, surpassing USD's old mark by 480 yards. He had 640 yards on 43 receptions, also an individual Coyote record for a running back. He gained 2,447 all-purpose yards, more than 793 yards better than the previous mark.

This record-setting performance came after a 1998 season in which he had only 424 yards rushing in the Coyotes' wing-T offense. So, why the big turnaround? The answer was a new beginning under new USD head coach John Austin. "They said I didn't look that good in the wing-T and they needed a good back in the new offense they were running," said White, a 5-10, 210-pound running back from Palmdale, CA. "I took that as a challenge and it worked out for me."

A team co-captain, White epitomized "team" in his approach on and off the field. Ask his coaches and they will describe a player with outstanding character and integrity who cares deeply about winning. This unselfish stalwart was a critical component for the Coyotes as they moved up in the standings of the North Central Conference, one of the toughest conferences in NCAA Division II.

In just two seasons at South Dakota (after transferring from Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA), White racked up 2,231 career yards rushing for the ninth-best total in USD school history. White also set new records including touchdowns (24); scoring (144 points); yards rushing in a game (285); touchdowns in a game (five); points in a game (30); most games rushing for 100 yards in a season (10); and most games rushing for 200 yards in a season and career (three). All five of White's touchdown receptions covered 30 yards or more (32, 52, 52, 59 and 63). He had nine touchdown runs or catches of at least 30 yards; eight runs or receptions for scores of over 50 yards; and four runs or receptions for scores of at least 60 yards. Not many running backs in the nation can claim touchdown runs of more than 80 yards and White accomplished the feat twice with an 89-yard score against North Dakota State (Fargo, ND) and an 83-yard paydirt carry against Truman State (Kirksville, MO). White also threw a 27-yard touchdown pass.

White was chosen to the Associated Press All-American Team (second team) and to the Daktronics All American Football Team (second team) at running back. The team MVP for the Coyotes, he was named first team all-North Central Conference and also selected for the Daktronics all-Midwest Region First Team. White was featured on the "Dear Diary" section of NFL.COM and named a "Super Sleeper" by NFL Digest.

While at Antelope Valley Junior College, White played defensive secondary and had two interceptions for 32 yards and nine tackles. As a first year player he was the team's second leading receiver with 20 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He gained 234 yards on 56 carries and three touchdowns. He led the squad in kickoff returns with 15 for 353 including an 85-yard touchdown return. He was the second leading scorer with 36 points. White was drafted by the major league baseball Seattle Mariners but left that sport to play college football. He had an outstanding prep career at Palmdale, CA, lettering in football, basketball and track. He was born Feb. 11, 1977. He is majoring in criminal justice at USD.

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