White on a 1954 Bowman football card
September 26, 1928|
|Died:||August 1, 2013
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|NFL draft||1951 / Round: 3 / Pick: 36|
|Drafted by||Chicago Bears|
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.
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. 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, 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. 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. He was named to the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame.
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.
White died in on August 1, 2013 en route to a Phoenix-area hospital of a possible heart attack.
- "Wilford Parley White (Whizzer)". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- ESPN.com wire services (August 2, 2013). "'Whizzer' White, father of Danny White, dies at 84". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 22, 2013.