Sean White never looked like a highly-rated quarterback. He was pretty average in terms of size, he wasn’t all that fast, he didn’t have a huge arm. He wasn’t a film room junkie or a gym rat. But for whatever reason, the kid could play quarterback. White became an Under-Armour All-American, and won MVP in the game. He was the MVP of the Elite 11 QB Camp. He thoroughly impressed former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, who was quoted by Bud Elliott as saying the following:
“Sean White made some throws on the sluggo (slant and go) today,” Dilfer told SB Nation’s Bud Elliott. “I just sat there on the sidelines, and thought ‘that’s a better sluggo than [Matt] Hassleback ever threw; that’s a better sluggo than I ever threw,’ it’s that unique feel for certain throws that just blew my mind.”
White committed to Auburn in the summer before his senior year, and judging by his accolades at the end of the recruiting cycle, this looked like a coup for the Tigers.
With Auburn set at quarterback in 2014, Sean White was able to redshirt. By the time 2015 rolled around, he was still expected to be the backup to August Heisman winner Jeremy Johnson. The wheels fell off the offense by late September, though, and White earned his first start against Mississippi State. White wasn’t great, going 20-28 for 188 yards and 1 INT, but he wasn’t killing you with mistakes like Johnson was.
White started six more games his freshman year, with a final stat line of 1166 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT, and 58% passing. This was indicative of the entire 2015 season, which ended 7-6 with a Birmingham Bowl win over Memphis. White also tried to play through leg injuries at the end of the year, but I remember sitting in Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Georgia game being furious at the coaching staff for letting him play. White was unable to plant and throw, and it was clear he should not have been out there. Nevermind that the backups couldn’t perform any better.
2016 was the year White actually stood out. Despite being a part of the quarterback carousel debacle against Clemson, White was clearly the best quarterback on the team. Starting in the LSU game on the last weekend of September, the Auburn offense hit its stride and somehow became one of the best offenses in country. While scoring 42 points per game, White averaged 206 ypg on 62% passing with 5 passing TD and 1 INT, along with 2 rushing touchdowns for good measure. Just as had happened the previous season, though, White sustained an injury before the Georgia game, and THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED. White’s shoulder was clearly shot, but played through it anyways. The coaches claim he didn’t tell them the extent of the injury, but maybe you don’t need your quarterback to go 6-20 with a 35 yard pick six (which decided the game!) to know he’s not right. As a personal aside, the handling of White and the QB situation in 2015 and 2016 is still my single largest grievance against Gus Malzahn.
White was finally benched for the Idaho game and Iron Bowl to end the season, but was then reinserted as the starter against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl (lol at Auburn making the Sugar Bowl in 2016). White then proceeded to break his collarbone early in the game, which would be the last time he played football for Auburn.
White always had rumors flying around him in his time at Auburn, usually amounting to nothing more than “he’s a party animal”. With Jarrett Stidham taking over the starting job in 2017, White was slated to be the backup. However, it was announced he received a vague “academic suspension” for 2 games. Before he even returned from that, White was arrested and subsequently dismissed for a public intoxication charge.