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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Monday, January 25, 2010

White does well in first interview

Blair White may have had his future all mapped out, finishing his undergraduate degree from Michigan State last spring, then gaining acceptance to Wayne State's School of Dentistry, whenever he's ready to go.

But for the former walk-on Spartan wideout, that could be much later, rather than sooner, if he keeps impressing NFL scouts.

Hot on the heels of leading MSU with a Big Ten-leading nine TDs, and in receptions (70), receiving yards (990) this fall, the Saginaw native was the only player with local ties invited to the East-West Shrine all-star game over the weekend.

"The daily schedule has been pretty intense. Many fans have the wrong impression about all-star games. They think that we have a lot of time to chill and relax, and that's simply not the case. It's a job interview. ... My approach has been pretty simple. I've been focused on going my hardest every day in practice while trying to put my best foot forward in everything that I've been asked to do," White told after Thursday's practice session.

"I have no idea how many opportunities I might have to catch the football on Saturday because there are so many different factors that I can't control. What will we see from the West defense? How will the score impact play calling? That's why I have focused on performing well in each and every practice session. I also have to make the most of the opportunities that I do get on game day to make plays."

Turns out the East team had installed the same "Throw It To Blair, Whether He's Open Or Not" play that MSU relied on so heavily this fall. White led all pass-catchers in the game with seven grabs for 93 yards in the East's come-from-behind, 13-10 win.

As far as job interviews go, it seems that White did pretty well. A good showing at the NFL Combine in late February could cement White as a middle-round draft pick, especially if he runs a 40-yard dash in the 4.55- to 4.6-second range, like BYU's Austin Collie did last year. Despite a record-setting career for the Cougars, Collie skipped his senior season, ran a 4.55 in the 40 at the Combine, and was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round. Collie caught seven passes for 123 yards and a TD in the Colts' 30-17 win in the AFC Championship game Sunday.

White has the skill-set to be the same type of player — good route runner, great hands, good strength, adequate quickness and speed to get open.

With junior linebacker Greg Jones choosing to stay at MSU for his senior season, White has the potential to be the first Spartan selected, and could possibly be the second local player drafted in what's shaping up to be one of the worst local draft classes in years. Three other draftable players — U-M's Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko, and CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour — will all be at this week's Senior Bowl, where they'll get their own time in front of scouts, but it's hard to project many other players with Michigan ties going in the NFL draft.

Those four players — White, Graham, Mesko and LeFevour — have all been invited to the NFL Combine, along with U-M running back Brandon Minor, MSU kicker Brett Swenson, Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller, and a pair of prospects from Division II schools in Michigan: Hillsdale OT Jared Veldheer and Wayne State RB Joique Bell. Central Michigan WR/KR Antonio Brown, an early entrant into the draft, will also likely be a mid- to late-round selection.

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