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Off the Team but Forever a Tiger: A Tribute to Sean White

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A disappointing end to a promising Auburn career

Auburn v Mississippi Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Sean White played football far bigger than his 6’ 210 lbs frame should have allowed.

When he arrived on campus, he was expected to backup heir-apparent Jeremy Johnson. You heard rumors that he was performing well in practice, but those rumors float about every true freshman quarterback. Nothing matters until they take the field.

2015 didn’t go as expected on the Plains. Johnson struggled and White got his first start against Miss State in week 4. The offense improved under White but Auburn could never find the end zone.

White started the next five games, showing great composure but no explosiveness. Before he was injured against Arkansas, White completed 63% of his passes with few turnovers and no touchdowns. He was the first Auburn QB in nearly 20 years to throw for 250 yards in three straight games.

Against Ole Miss, White and the Auburn coaching staff made the first in a string of bad decisions. White was unable to practice that week due to a sore knee. He played anyway. White went 12-28 and 250 yards in the Tiger loss. The accuracy just wasn’t there.

No one can ever say that Sean White wasn’t a warrior. White could have been in a full leg cast and he would have tried to dress out.

White appeared twice more after the injury against Georgia and Memphis but it was clear that he was still affected by the pain.

In 2016, White was one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. He was remarkably efficient through the first nine games. Almost everything he threw found its target. He made very few mistakes. He ran efficiently when he was asked to. When Sean and Pettway were healthy, Auburn was a top 5 team.

Towards the end of the season, he suffered more injuries. He tried to play against Georgia but looked terrible. He missed Alabama A&M and the Iron Bowl due to injuries. He played in the Sugar Bowl but broke his arm in the first half. He played a few series with a broken arm.

The broken arm was the fourth major injury White suffered in a span of 14 months. White contemplated quitting football after the Sugar Bowl saying, “I’m so tired of being hurt.”

No one would have blamed him for walking away, especially after Auburn had signed Jarrett Stidham. Instead, White doubled his efforts again. He worked out like a fiend and added more muscle. He pushed for the starting role until late in the summer.

Shortly before Auburn’s opener against Georgia Southern, it was announced that White had been suspended. He was also out for the week two battle with Clemson. An arrest Saturday night after the Mercer game ended White’s time at Auburn.

When I think of Sean White ten years from now, it will probably be with much the same fondness I remember another hard-nosed, oft-injured, talented, Auburn QB, Brandon Cox. Both fought harder and longer than maybe they should have with their injured bodies. Both gave Auburn fans a lot of good memories.

Despite how things ended, to me, Sean White will always be an Auburn Tiger. Whether he transfers or quits football for good, I wish him good luck and sincerely hope this isn’t the last we hear from him.