Oak Forest Academy’s John Henry White Soaks Up Football Knowledge From Dad And Playing Different Positions To Help Improve Ability
by Jace LeJeune
Oak Forest Academy’s senior athlete John Henry White is used to playing different roles and taking on more of a versatile role for his senior season was not surprising considering all the positions he has played over his career.
“For my sophomore year, I was the starting running back for the first half of the season, and I was also playing some free safety on defense,” Henry White said. “Then, for the rest of my sophomore season, I moved to quarterback and played some defensive packages. In my junior season, I primarily played quarterback for the majority of the season and I got into some packages on defense as a safety in third and long situations. This past season, I played all over the field starting at quarterback, outside linebacker, middle linebacker, free safety, and then for the last four to five games, I played running back the entire time.”
Playing all over the field makes it pretty easy for this 5-10, 205 pound do it all athlete to be compared to New Orleans Saints’ Swiss Army Knife Taysom Hill.
“I feel like I am Taysom Hill because I feel like I was thrown all over the field this year, except probably on the offensive and defensive line” Henry White said. “There were times I also lined up at receiver and caught screen passes.”
The Yellow Jackets’ version of Taysom Hill is also being recruited as an athlete with schools offering him to play at different positions depending who is recruiting him.
“I received two Division III offers from Millsaps and Belhaven,” Henry White said. “I have also received a roster spot from Mississippi College. Millsaps and Mississippi College are recruiting me as a quarterback. Belhaven is recruiting me more as a running back/athlete, but could see me on defense as well.”
When it comes to what position the versatile playmaker wants to play at the college level, Henry White does know what he would like to play at.
“I enjoy playing running back and I enjoy commanding the huddle as a quarterback, but I thought I was most successful this season as a running back,” Henry White said. “I had a good first half of the season this past year, but when they moved me to running back, that is when it really took off. It’s fun and you don’t really have to think about much, except getting the ball to run. Quarterback takes a lot of thinking into each play when it comes to footwork, looking a the defense, and making sure the right play is called. That’s why I really enjoy playing running back.”
Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting guru Lee Brecheen also can see him as a running back or as an athlete at the next level.
“John Henry White is strong and ripped up with 4.6/40 speed,” Brecheen said. “He has great burst when he runs the football and has a high IQ of the game with his father being a long time coach.”
Despite all the praise and accolades over his career including earning 2nd Team All-State MAIS quarterback as a sophomore, 1st Team All-State MAIS quarterback as a junior, and 1st Team All-State MAIS running back as a senior, it is the advice from his dad John White, who is a former St. Thomas Aquinas High School head football coach and current Oak Forest Academy assistant coach, that keeps him grounded.
“It is 30 times harder playing under your dad because he is going to be tougher on you than any other coach,” Henry White said. “My dad wants to be perfect on every single play. It would get personal sometimes at practice, and even when I got home, I still would hear what I could have done better in practice or in a game. However, I believe it has molded me into the player that I am because I am able to take constructive criticism now. It also helped me figure out the game better because I get to go home and get some extra coaching while other kids are at home relaxing. I get to ask him questions whenever I wanted to and he would bring the whiteboard in my room to show what we would run that week. If it wasn’t for my dad, I wouldn’t have been able to take constructive criticism well.”
That mental toughness, football IQ, and versatility are all thing that he has picked up from playing football for the Yellow Jackets, and now, he is looking forward to see how his skills translate to the next level.
“My knowledge of the game sets me apart,” Henry White said. “When you are forced to play almost every position at a small school, you learn more about the game than if I played quarterback my entire high school career. When I am on offense looking at the defense, I notice a lot of the tendencies in the secondary because I played in the secondary. When I played running back, I notice the linebackers sneaking up because I played linebacker too. Then, when I am on defense, I notice how the wide receivers line up if it is going to be a pass or not. I feel that my football IQ separates me from a lot of players because I know how to look at a defense because being at a small school, you constantly play different positions.”
While some players may not fully embrace playing more than one position and having your father coach you full time, John Henry White takes it head on as it helps him become the best player he can be.
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Jace is from Addis, LA but resides in Port Allen, LA. Jace attends Southeastern Louisiana University and is majoring in Communications. This is Jace’s fourth year as Associate Editor at Louisiana Football Magazine. He is also a graduate from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge where he was the editor of the school newspaper the “Bearly Published.” While at CHS, Jace also announced their football, basketball, and baseball games for the Bruin Broadcast Network which is the Catholic High’s streaming website for their events. On weekends, Jace is the PA announcer for his middle school football games. At home, Jace enjoys time with his family and friends. Besides being a huge football fan, Jace is also an avid NHRA drag racing fan.