Wilford White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wilford White
Wilford White - 1954 Bowman.jpg
White on a 1954 Bowman football card
Born: (1928-09-26)September 26, 1928
Mesa, Arizona
Died: August 1, 2013(2013-08-01) (aged 84)
Phoenix, Arizona
Career information
CFL status International
Position(s) RB
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg)
College Arizona State
NFL draft 1951 / Round: 3 / Pick: 36
Drafted by Chicago Bears
Career history
As player
1951–1952 Chicago Bears
1955 Toronto Argonauts

Wilford Parley "Whizzer" White (September 26, 1928 – August 1, 2013) was a professional American football player in the National 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 is a graduate of 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.

White attended 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] He also practiced basketball and the decathlon, where he finished fifth and sixth nationally as a junior and senior behind Olympian Bob Mathias.

In 1951 White participated in the College All-Star Game and the East–West Shrine Game. To this day, he is one of the greatest running backs in school history, with many of his records still standing.[4] He was named to the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame.

Professional career[edit]

White was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round 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, Pro Bowl quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.


White died in on August 1, 2013 en route to a Phoenix-area hospital of a possible heart attack.[6]

See also[edit]