BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Most of you probably already know how the story goes for most Bakersfield athletes. Given limited opportunities, but always seeming to make the most of what they’re given.
Just speaking of football, we’ve recently seen that with D.J. Reed, Krys Barnes and Jordan Love, all on NFL rosters.
Now there’s another local football player looking to add his name to that list, Lawrence White.
“Had all the accolades, you know, we had championships and things like that. But Lawrence was always just that simple, humble kind guy, and you would never know but man when he stepped on the field, he was the greatest competitor you’d ever want to coach,” Dennis Manning said.
High praise from White’s former head football coach at Ridgeview.
“If I said in a nutshell, Lawrence is the Tom Brady of Ridgeview football,” Manning said.
That’s pretty perfect because White just signed an undrafted free agency contract with TB’s newest team and super bowl champs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
From leading the Wolf Pack to championships as a two-way star, to earning back-to-back honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in college as a defensive back, to his next goal of chasing a spot on the Buc’s roster.
“It's extremely competitive than NFL and more intense talent. But I think what gives him a chance is just his commitment level is going to be higher than everybody else around him, he's going to outwork everybody doesn’t matter who's played against bigger, stronger fast doesn't matter he's going to give it everything that it has,” Manning said.
A mentality bred in Bakersfield and grown in Iowa State.
“If he makes it. It's going to be because of who he is and his hard work ethic and, you know what his family is raised in him and it's just, we're pulling for him,” Manning said.
Much of that credit goes to his mom.
Even a couple of weeks after White got the call from Tampa Bay, you can still feel the excitement from Aasia Newsome who says it’s still all surreal for the family.
“The other day I woke up and just yelled out and I said, ‘Can you believe that when you were eight years old, you know, and playing Golden Empire youth football for the Southwest Mustangs, and you said, ‘I want to be an NFL player’ I say can you believe that this is where you're going, you know, to try out,” Newsome said. “So we were just laughing and hugging and stuff and he's like, ‘Mom, it hasn't hit me yet’.”
“All he ever wanted was an opportunity, you know, all he ever wanted was an opportunity to play for a division one school, and he made it happen. Now he has this opportunity to show what he's made of, and to see that it makes me so incredibly proud,” Newsome said.
White is known for believing in himself and that all started when this defensive back was asked to take the snaps in high school.
“His sophomore year we needed him to play quarterback and he didn't really want to if he wanted to be DB you know that's what he specialized in, but he knew he had to do for the team and he always appreciated his teammates he was, he was. He's like a coach's dream,” Manning said.
Although playing QB eventually met his own dreams of winning two straight central section titles. The start began with an important pep talk from his mom following one of his early losses as a quarterback.
“He was crying in the driveway, and I had to tell him, ‘Hey listen, your coaches depending on you, you know, I believe in you, you know, are you telling me you don't believe in yourself and he says No mom, I believe in myself, I said, it doesn't matter what you are out there you know you're gonna give it your all,” Newsome said.
And when you ask her how much she believes in her son now that he can make the most of this opportunity and land on the roster in Tampa Bay, this is her immediate answer:
“I believe he can, you know, give it 110% You know he can take all of his past experiences, put them together times and by 10, and I believe that he can do it. He's a true competitor, he goes after what do you want, so I know he can do it, I know he can,” Newsome said.
Tampa Bay’s rookie mini-camp begins May 14 and so does the true beginning of Lawrence’s NFL journey.