From back water to center stage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

From back water to center stage

September 5, 2006

Athens - When Georgia's Joe Tereshinski won the starting quarterback job this summer, the Bulldogs lost the man who has been quarterbacking their punt coverage for the last three seasons.

The Bulldogs have turned that important job to former Terrell Academy star Stephen White.

Walking on at a division one program is not easy but for White there were other hardships he had to endure to fulfill his dream.    "When I was in high school I dreamed about playing," White said.

Stephen White's dream of playing between the Sanford Stadium hedges seemed to be impossible for a young man who played high school football ball at tiny Terrell Academy whose roster his senior year had fewer than 20 players.

"They come from these big high schools," White said. "They are these nationally ranked guys and I came from a high school where we had 19 players. I graduated with 19 people, and they can't believe it."

White made believers in Athens where he saw action on special teams two years ago and last year he moved from defensive end to fullback.

 This year Stephen White has a bigger role for the Bulldogs. He replaces Joe Tereshinski as the up-man on Georgia's punt team.

It is his job to read the oncoming rush and call the right blocking assignments.  "If I don't call the right blocking scheme, we might be in trouble getting blocked. And so then I got to go run down the field and make a tackle."

One person Stephen wishes could see him run the field and make a tackle is his father Steve who died of colon cancer on September first of last year. "I miss him every day," Stephen says.

 White says the last year has been hard for him and his mother, but he credits his late father for his success at Georgia. "I get a lot of my inspiration from how my father lived his last four years. It is tough but then again it makes me a better person because I persevered through things like this."

And even though Stephen White has achieved his dream, he will never forget the road he took to get there. "It is quite an honor to be here though," White said  

Georgia coach Mark Richt has honored Stephen White by naming him special teams captain for Saturday night's game at South Carolina in Columbia.

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