Wilford White

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Wilford White
refer to caption
White on a 1954 Bowman football card
No. 20
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:(1928-09-26)September 26, 1928
Mesa, Arizona
Died:August 1, 2013(2013-08-01) (aged 84)
Phoenix, Arizona
Height:5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight:170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school:Mesa (Mesa, Arizona)
College:Arizona State
NFL Draft:1951 / Round: 3 / Pick: 36
Career history
CFL status:Import
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:17
Player stats at PFR

Wilford Parley "Whizzer" White (September 26, 1928 – August 1, 2013) was an American football running back in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears. He also was a member of the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 1951 NFL Draft. He played college football at Arizona State University and became the school's first College Football All-American.

Early life[edit]

White was born in Mesa, Arizona. He attended Mesa High School, where he was a multi-sport athlete and a stand-out in track and field.[1] In football, he received first-team All-State honors as a junior and senior.

He led his school to the state title in his final season, while rushing for 181 yards per game, which was a state record that lasted 46 years. He was known as "The Mesa Meteor" and "The Wizard of the Harmonica", until receiving the nickname "Whizzer" by the media.

College career[edit]

White accepted a football scholarship from Arizona State University,[2] leading the team in rushing from 1947 to 1950, with a total of 3,173 yards. In 1950, he had a season for the ages, his 1,502 yards rushing total (150.2 yards per game) led the nation and still ranks second in school history for a season. He also scored 22 touchdowns and 136 points, which ranked third in the nation and still are school single-season records. At that time, he was only the second player in college football history to run for so many yards in a season, thus becoming the first football player from Arizona State University to be named All-American.[3]

In 1951 White participated in the College All-Star Game and the East–West Shrine Game. To this day, he is considered one of the greatest running backs in school history, with many of his records still standing.[4]

He also practiced basketball and the decathlon, where he finished fifth and sixth nationally as a junior and senior behind Olympian Bob Mathias. He was inducted into the Arizona State University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Sun Devil Ring of Honor and had his jersey number retired (33).

Professional career[edit]

White was selected by the Chicago Bears in the third round (36th overall) of the 1951 NFL Draft and played two seasons in the NFL, until suffering a knee injury.[5]

Perhaps White's most famous play that he made was when, as quarterback, White ran backwards over 48 yards when being pursued by Los Angeles Rams defenders. White ended up fumbling the ball at the 1 yard line, and a Rams defender recovered it and ran it in for a touchdown. In the NFL Films video, 100 Greatest Follies, where White's play was named the #3 greatest folly of all time, White's son, Danny White, said that he never even saw the play for years, until NFL Films showed it to him. Danny joked that White was probably so embarrassed that he obtained every possible copy of the play's film so that nobody would see it.

Personal life[edit]

As noted above, White was the father of Danny White, a former Pro Bowl quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. His grandson Max Hall also played quarterback in the NFL. On August 1, 2013, he died en route to a Phoenix-area hospital of a heart attack.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Whizzer White Is Sensation At Track Meet". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "Wilford Parley White (Whizzer)". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  3. ^ "Whizzer White Gained 1,502 Yards In 1950". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "White turned ASU-UA rivalry around". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Whizzer White Out". Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  6. ^ ESPN.com wire services (August 2, 2013). "'Whizzer' White, father of Danny White, dies at 84". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 16, 2019.