Brendon White’s emergence in the Ohio State secondary last season, capped off with a Defensive Most Valuable Player performance in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl win, figured to launch the safety into the 2019 season with considerable momentum.
Add in the shakeup along the coaching staff that led to the implementation of the “bullet” position, a hybrid safety/linebacker role that seemed to be tailor-made for his skill set, and White’s name was discussed often through the summer as a potential breakout candidate as the Buckeyes prepared for the season.
But those expectations never came to light this season as the Powell native and Olentangy Liberty graduate was seldom used in anything more than a reserve role, and now it appears his time at Ohio State is coming to end as he has entered his name into the transfer portal.
White, a junior, did not travel with the team to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game, and when asked about his absence, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day cited “personal reasons.”
An early enrollee in the 2017 recruiting class, White was following in the footsteps of his father, William, who was a four-year starter as a defensive back for the Buckeyes in the 1980s.
White’s emergence began in Week 9 of last season when he was forced into action after a targeting penalty in the first half saw Jordan Fuller ejected from the game. White would finish the game with 13 total tackles, a career-high, in a moment he called “a dream come true” following the game.
From there, he went on to start in Ohio State’s final five games, including the win over Michigan in which he had an interception, and the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl victories where he turned in a combined 12 solo tackles.
Heading into this past off-season, all the mystery surrounding the bullet position led to rampant speculation about how much the hybrid role would factor into Ohio State’s plans to fix a defense that was consistently gashed for explosive plays last season.
But co-defensive coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison cautioned that while the bullet position had its place in their schemes, match-ups and opposing game plans would dictate what personnel they would roll out on the field. And it became increasingly clear as this season progressed that the bullet position would see little utilization.
With the staff primarily choosing to deploy just one safety, White’s opportunity for meaningful playing time this season faded as quickly as it arrived last season.
White finished this season with 19 tackles and one sack. His landing spot is not yet known, and it should be mentioned that entering the transfer portal does not prevent a player from returning to his current team.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.