In college, Jarell White was listed as a linebacker. Later this year when he's on an NFL roster, he'll most likely be listed as a safety. Regardless of which position he lines up at, the Cincinnati product will remain a playmaker.
White had an exceptional run with the Bearcats, compiling 247 total tackles, 25 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions. He was a key reason why Cincinnati's defense was so productive in 2020.
NFL analysts have pointed out that White has the ideal speed and strength to be a force at the next level. His 5-foot-10, 202 pound frame might force him to play as a box safety, but that shouldn't be an issue.
Besides, White is out to prove that he's one of the most underrated players available in this year's draft.
We sat down with Jarell White to discuss his career at Cincinnati, how he performed at his pro day, why he believes he's underrated and much more.
The Spun: How has this draft process been for you thus far?
Jarell White: It’s been good. Coming off a good season, I felt very confident and felt it was my time to declare for the draft. My training has been going well. Former teammates and mentors have been reaching out to me during this time, so it’s been a great experience.
The Spun: How do you believe you performed at your pro day?
JW: Pro day felt like another game day for us. We were all prepared and anxious to showcase what we can do on the field. I got to talk with NFL teams and get an idea of where I fit in.
The Spun: You called yourself the most underrated playmaker. Why do you believe that’s the case?
JW: I just know I take advantage of every opportunity I get. When I step on the field, I know I’m going to make a play no matter when it is. That’s just who I am. I make plays and I have fun doing it.
The Spun: What’s your favorite moment during your time at Cincinnati?
JW: My one and only pick-six against ECU.
The Spun: You played against Desmond Ridder in practice. How tough is he to defend, and what do you expect from him this fall?
JW: It’s definitely difficult going against a dual-threat quarterback every day. He runs and throws really well. He’s definitely exciting to practice with because he brings a lot of energy to the team and he’s the leader on offense. But next year, I actually look forward to him slinging the football a lot more. I know that’s one thing he’s been working on to showcase, so I look forward to that.
The Spun: Do you see yourself more as a linebacker or safety in the NFL?
JW: I’m expecting safety. I might start as a hybrid, but a lot of the teams I talked to want to see me at safety. They know I can play linebacker, that’s no doubt. It’s just a matter of my size an what type of linebacker I can be.
The Spun: Which defensive players do you watch on film?
JW: I watch a lot of Jamal Adams, Tyrann Mathieu and those type of guys. I like to watch players who can play in the box, cover tight ends and cover in the back end.
The Spun: Are there any players in particular you want to face in the NFL?
JW: I haven’t thought about it much, but there are some really good tight ends out there. I know an alumni from our school, Travis Kelce, is one the top players in the game. If I have the opportunity to cover him, I’d look forward to that matchup.
The Spun: What would you say is your best quality on the field at this time.
JW: My instincts, I would say. My instincts and speed really allow me to excel.
The Spun: What are you trying to improve during this process?
JW: I’ve been working on my coverage skills. Since I’m a linebacker/defensive back, there are different techniques I want to learn.
The Spun: What has been your inspiration throughout this journey?
JW: My family has always supported me and pushed me to be the player I am, right or wrong. My family paved the way for me. I have a football family, but not a lot of people have made it this far. I’m the only one who came this far, graduated, played four years in college and trying to have a long NFL career.
The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Jarell White?
JW: You’re going to get a leader. I’m someone who is going to work every day, on and off the field. I’m a humble guy and very coachable.
White is currently being viewed as a Day 3 prospect for this April's draft.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.