ORLANDO, Fla. -- Heading into his senior season, everything was supposed to fall into place for five-star wide receiver Darius White (Fort Worth, Texas/Dunbar). The 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver nicknamed "D-Money" had All-American praise from coast-to-coast and expectations of dominating performances every time he set foot on the field.
But things don't always worked out as planned. White had to deal with injuries, both to himself and teammates, or illness, or developing timing with a new QB. In other words, it was hardly smooth sailing.
Now healthy, White, who's No. 9 in the ESPNU 150, plans on using Under Armour All-America Game week as a chance to show people he is still the same uber-talented prospect who climbed into the top 10 in the national ranking during the spring of 2009.
"Oh man, at the beginning of the season a couple of main players got injured," White said. "Then I got sick with the flu and missed a couple of games. Then I turned around when I did start feeling healthy and sprained my ankle real bad and missed another game because of that. I don't sit out much, so I kept playing on it and it never really got healthy. Now that the season is over, I've been staying off it as much as possible even though I'm playing basketball and the past couple of weeks it's felt a lot better."
Trying to balance basketball while preparing for Under Armour All-America Game week has proven to be a tough chore. Workouts were scheduled around basketball games and practices were run by Dunbar assistant Blaise Roberts.
"He has helped me working out on the weights and he's had me out on the field running routes and things like that to get ready even though I've been playing basketball. I'm going to focus on route running this week, making my cuts and hopefully I'll have the agility to do it well. I'm excited and feel good," White said.
White will put his top-ranked receiver status on the line this week. He understands that he'll be going against top defenders in practice and the game and they'll be looking to make a statement against the best.
"I know there is going to be a lot of people on the White team coming after me because they see that I'm in that number one spot, but I'm not taking anything for granted," White said. "I'm just going to come out and play and do exactly what I do at home but a little better this week."
So far, so good. After one day of practice, White showed he is the most physically developed receiver on the Black team and will be a force to be reckoned with this week.
White is also set to end months of stress by announcing his college decision during the game.
"It's not stressful now. It's been winding down a lot, so I'm not taking it as stress anymore. When that Saturday comes and I put on whatever hat I put on, everything is done and all the stress throughout this is all gone." he said. "The process has been a blessing. At first it was real cool, but then it got to be like a job and calls start everyday. You have to put time in for this coach and that coach to let them know you are still interested. You have to manage your time and make time for all of the coaches, so it was almost like a job everyday."
White has it narrowed it down to five schools, but that's about all he'll say about it.
"I've got Oklahoma State, Texas, OU, Florida and LSU hats and I'll pick one," White said.
Deciding on the right fit for himself and family, along with the chance to make an immediate impact, are the keys in choosing a school to White.
"It's going to be a school I feel comfortable at, a school my mom and grandmother feel comfortable at, a school I know I can get a good education and somewhere I know I'm going to play," said White, who took official visits to Utah, Texas and Oklahoma State. "I don't want to go somewhere that they say I'm a good athlete, but I still have to wait to play. I want to go somewhere I can put in my work right away and play without waiting."
Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at email@example.com.