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Notre Dame Football

Drew White Believes Notre Dame Has The Deepest LB Corps In The Country

October 7, 2020

The Notre Dame linebacking corps has been the hot topic of offseason questions for the last two years. 

How does Clark Lea replace Te'von Coney and Drue Tranquill? How does Lea replace Asmar Bilal? 

Lea has had an answer each step of the way and 2020 is no different as he's had to play three bodies at Buck linebacker through the first two games. 

Marist Liufau and Shayne Simon received most of the work in game one, but both players were unavailable for game two. Jack Kiser stepped up in his first start and led the team in tackles. 

Mike linebacker Drew White has had to adapt to fresh faces, but hasn't felt a difference regardless of who is playing next to him. 

"Our linebacker room is stacked," said White. "We have the most depth I've ever seen while being here. I don't think any other school in the country has as much depth at the linebacker position as we do here. Any of those Bucks that line up, any of the Mikes that line up are going to be able to take control of the defense, get everyone lined up, play hard, play fast and get to the ball. So, full trust. 

"We've been able to rotate throughout practice and even games to where I feel I have a great chemistry with all the guys, no matter who I line up with. I'm excited to look out and see the guy next to me, whoever it is, all the guys in the linebacker room."

White has also seen improvement in his own game from this time a year ago. The 6-foot, 227-pounder has expanded his game mentally and physically as he's stayed healthy after battling injuries over the beginning of his career. 

"Mentally just the tactical part of the game, I feel a step ahead," stated White. "I feel like through last season, I was able to gain a lot of experience. I was able to see a lot of different sets, a lot of different plays, formations, tendencies. I'm building that into my game now and I feel extremely comfortable on the mental side. 

"Physically, being able to have a full offseason of staying healthy and being able to train and lift and run without any hindrances, I think has brought my physical capability up as well. I'm excited about both those things and I'm excited to display it through the season."

The redshirt junior has also seen his stats expand as White has already equaled his QB hurries (2) from a year ago in just two games in 2020. 

"I want to be careful," stated White. "I feel like you can read into stats and all the lines a little bit too much sometimes and start to analyze stuff that's not really present. But on the other hand, I do feel like as a linebacking unit and as a defense, we've become more aggressive. 

"I think that stems from having extreme comfort in the game plan and not having to worry about guys being in the wrong spot or not getting lined up. With a true veteran defense, I feel like we can apply way more pressure and aggressiveness to our game plan."

White, a South Florida native, is also looking forward to Saturday's game against Florida State. He admits he grew up a Miami fan, but the chance to play the Seminoles is a special opportunity. 

"Growing up down in Florida, you had the three major Florida schools — UF, FSU and Miami," explained White. "I know a lot of guys that go to all three of those schools. I really grew up kind of a Miami fan, just because of the close proximity, but Florida State, they have a great program. I think the whole country knows that. I think everyone in Florida knows they have a really good program. 

"They got a lot of big, athletic dudes and they're a good team. When they come up to South Bend this weekend, they are going to bring everything they got. They are not coming to South Bend expecting to lose. We have to come out and start fast."

The game will also serve as a chance to earn some friendly bragging rights against a former teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida State star cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. 

"I've stayed in close contact with Asante throughout the years, especially football season," said White. "I hit him up all the time, ask him how things are going, or when I see him make a big play. I talked to him last week. I told him I was excited to have him get up here in South Bend, like two years ago, but it's a little bit warmer this time, which I'm sure he's a little bit excited about. 

"But man, Asante is a great player. I'm excited to see him. We were able to play at St. Thomas Aquinas together. We're going to give it our all, but after the game, we're gonna show each other some love."

Video | Notre Dame LB Drew White FSU Week

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