Player Spotlight - LaRome White
Player Spotlight - LaRome White
The Men’s Collegiate All American assembly this past weekend pulled in players from plenty of high-profile teams, but every now and then they bring in someone from a team that doesn’t get a lot of notice, and often those players impress; one such player was, and is, Larome White.
The 6-3, 260-pound prop from the University of Louisville was a standout football player at Eastern HS in Louisville, Ky., where he was also encouraged to go out for rugby with classmate and current Davenport University All Americans Dominique Bailey.
Very quickly, White embraced the game. He was slotted in at center, but the big, mobile White moved to prop his sophomore year at Louisville. With his size, strength, and mobility, it seems like prop was where he needed to be. White impressed the coaches and they raised money to send him to the Sharks Academy in South Africa. There he was taken under the wing of South African Springbok prop Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira. And it was Mtawarira who helped facilitate the shift to prop.
“He trained me,” White told Goff Rugby Report. “It was Tendai who showed me how to be a tighthead. He showed me the technique, and also told me about keeping my fitness together, because I want to be at every ruck. The coaches there taught me to play both loosehead and tighthead and I learned a lot, but Tendai gave me someone to look up to. I didn’t know too many big-time rugby players and especially props, and he gave me someone to look up to, and we’re still in contact.”
White takes scrummaging very seriously and said he knows that’s the number one job of a prop. But he loves to run with the ball, and he loves to lay in the hits, too.
“I always want to be ready to catch a ball and go right into the play,” he said.
After putting the work in, the junior got the callup to the All American camp. This was a huge surprise to him, as he hadn’t put the All Americans on his radar.
“I didn’t really know anything about the camp until I got there,” he said. “But I felt pretty confident once I was there. Any time I messed up, Gavin Hickie was there to correct me and then right after that he video’d me and showing that I got it right the second time. He basically helped me out with everything. He pushed me and got me to understand where I need to be.”
White must have done something right, because the understanding is that he will be called up to the USA Men’s National Team for the ARC next month. It’s a huge jump for the 22-year-old, but his athletic ability and attitude have turned some heads.
“When I was growing up I never thought this is what would happen,” said White. “I started playing football when I was six. Dominique Bailey got me going out for rugby, and then when I went to college I chose rugby.”
White credits Louisville Coach Ken Mance with that decision. Mance coached the Kentucky HS all-star team, and saw what White can do on the field and told him that rugby will take him places football could never take him. Given how he has impressed coaches at every level, that looks like it will be proven true very soon. The Beast will be proud.