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The Eastern Echo Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Daiquan White .jpg

Daiquan White: Born a dawg

Eastern Michigan University signee Daiquan White, who is signed to EMU football’s 2023 recruiting class, has a deep history with football that has prepared him for what’s next.

Football is a sport that many kids dream of playing, even if their very overprotective and cautious mother says no. The effect and feeling after a big hit, the emotion after an Odell-like catch, the roar of the crowd after a big run, even the cadence and the “Hut, Hut!” of the quarterback, all are things that create aspirations of being a star on the field. 

The making of a star 

As a young boy Daiquan White felt it all, even when he was just delivering water as a spectator. The now star football player, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, recently signed to Eastern Michigan University football’s 2023 recruiting class. 

“My brother is a huge reason why I started playing the game of football,” White said. “I remember being little and running around at his practices as the water boy. That’s what really inspired me to take the game seriously.” 

According to Action Network, Georgia ranks 10th overall for U.S. states that currently have active players in the National Football League (NFL), something that White is looking to add his name to. 

Through the determination, dedication, and toughness displayed by his older brother on the gridiron, it was only fitting that White himself followed the footsteps of his brother who taught him the mentality needed to succeed on the field. 

“My brother was a demon at football man, I remember during one of his games when he was coming off the field and he took his helmet off, his forehead was bleeding,” White said. “My dad was trying to take him out of the game and he wouldn’t come out, so seeing the fight he had at such a young age, it made me adapt that fight with football.”

Club football with an NFL great 

From the time that White picked up a football he was gaining traction as one of the best players in his state. By the time the eighth grade had rolled around, the success White had earned in the sport allowed him to start playing 7-on-7 club football for former Heisman trophy winner and NFL MVP, Cam Newton. 

“Playing for Cam, it comes with a lot because he holds you to a high expectation,” White said. “Every time you step on that field he expects you to go 110%.” 

Among White in Newton’s football program was former Alabama wide receiver and current UCF wide receiver Javon Baker, as well as former Georgia wide receiver and current Pittsburgh Steeler George Pickens, both of which White looked up to while facing adversity. 

“Those guys allowed me to open my eyes and realize I need to be on my A-game every time I step on the field,“ White said. 

Playing for the former Carolina Panthers quarterback who was once a Super Bowl runner-up and having to learn that patience to adapt, especially when the competition is at a very high level, taught White a big aspect of playing in between the lines. 

“Cam would just always preach to us of going hard every time,” White said. “I like to take the field with that attitude because I know it can be taken away from me at any given time.” 

Time in high school 

White attended Creekside High School in Fairburn, Georgia, and had to take the new experience head on. In a short amount of time, White had to learn what it takes to be a leader, in preparation for taking over for older talent.  

Upon his arrival to Creekside, White had the opportunity to learn from guys like Rashad Battle, who currently plays at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as Khatavian Franks and Tyson Meiguez, who both currently play for Georgia Tech. 

“I never saw myself to ever be in position to be a leader,” White said. “But sitting behind those guys, it opened my eyes to high school football and taught me the do’s and don'ts of being a leader.” 

By the end of his senior season at Creekside, White racked up 1st team All-Region and All-State honors, while also earning a three-star overall ranking in the nation for high school football. 

Through the journey, it wasn’t just White who was responsible for his success on the gridiron, but also his father David White, who pushed him to become the man he is today.

“My dad played football too, so football has been with him almost his whole life,” White said. “Just to always have him pushing me, whether I liked what he said or not, I always knew it was to better me.” 

Big decisions: the journey to EMU 

All the success and accomplishments that White earned throughout his high school football career allowed him to have some big decisions to make on where he will play in college on the Division 1 level. 

White had many offers from top tier college football programs by the end of his high school career from schools like UCF, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky, Kansas, Florida State and many others. 

With many options to choose from, and the appeal of everything being thrown at White, one school made White and his family feel at home: Eastern Michigan University. 

“EMU was the first school to set me up an official visit, and by the time we got off the airplane until the time we got back on, me and my family fell in love with everything,” White said. “If my mom likes you, then you’re in the door.” 

White spoke highly of EMU football coach Chris Creighton and his staff’s hospitality on the visit, and said that they provided the at-home feeling he and his family were searching for. 

“Even after we left the visit [my mom] felt like EMU was the one where I could thrive and succeed, and I think it’s the one that will better my career,“ White said. 

EMU’s football team just capped off one of the most historic seasons in the programs history; A 9-3 overall record, which is the second-best win total in the 131-year history of the program, first bowl game win since 1987, its fourth consecutive bowl game appearance for the first time in program history, as well as winning the Michigan MAC Trophy for the first time since 2012. 

Continuing that history, the program is also welcoming in the fourth overall recruiting class for 2023 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), which is the highest rated recruiting class in EMU’s history.

“It’s so exciting because they are building something,” White said. “I see growth within the program, the people, and the area. That’s something I want to put myself into and I’m ready for it.” 

Upon White’s arrival this spring with the team, he shared many of his goals that he has set out to accomplish: help win more games, be number one in the MAC, and win more bowl games. 

There’s one more goal that White is laser focused on: Freshman All-American. 

“It’s all I keep talking about,” White said. “Me, my family, my coaches, we want to make that happen.” 

White is eager to finish up his senior year in Georgia at Creekside so he can arrive in Ypsilanti, get to work, and add to the recent success of the growing program. 

When asked about the message he wanted to send to EMU football fans, White responded: 

“Go Eagles, we got more rings coming. You’re getting a dawg.”