Barely two years after arriving on the West Virginia campus as an immensely talented, but little known wide receiver out of Lackawanna College, Kevin White is a top-10 NFL draft pick.
The former Mountaineers standout was selected by the Chicago Bears with the seventh overall pick Thursday night at the league’s draft at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, just over one mile away from the team’s home stadium, Solider Field, where he’ll be catching passes next season.
“I’ve been through so much and I’ve been wanting this all my life,” White told ESPN in an interview shortly after being picked. “I’m finally here and I’m ready to turn this city around.”
After a solid, if unspectacular, junior season, White broke through as a senior, hauling in 109 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns, the first two of which were team highs. He was a first-team all-Big 12 conference selection and a second-team Associated Press all-American.
Along with Alabama’s Amari Cooper, who went fourth overall to the Oakland Raiders, White was widely rated as one of the top two receivers in the draft class.
At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, White represents a long and athletic downfield target that can use his blazing speed – he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds at the NFL combine in February – to separate himself from defensive backs. He becomes the second West Virginia wide receiver drafted in the first round in the past three years, joining Tavon Austin, who was taken with the eighth pick in the 2013 draft.
With the Bears, he’ll line up on the opposite side of Alshon Jeffery, a tall and talented wideout with two 1,000-yard seasons in his three-year career, while also attempting to fill the void left by Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the New York Jets in early March.
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