Perhaps one of the best transformations among Florida Gators football players since offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor was under the fold, guard Ethan White is ready to step up, expected to be one of the top five starters on Florida's OL this year.
Joining the Gators in 2019, White entered the program at nearly 400 pounds. Though he was talented, it was necessary for the then-freshman to get in shape, able to play at a high level in college football. That started almost immediately when White stepped foot on campus, and strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage certainly led the way.
"It’s just doing what Coach Savage and his staff says," White said last week on his physical transformation.
"If they say go do this workout, eat this way, drink a certain way, I mean I’m gonna do it because they know best. I came here to kinda be coached and learn from those guys, so it’s kind of just following the program that they set.”
Well, that transformation and coaching worked out for White who lost around a staggering 70 pounds, now down into the 320s (White is listed at 319 pounds on the official roster for Florida).
Weight loss was just the first step for White, however, and now he knows that he will have to prove himself on the gridiron, something he seldom got to do last season due to an early fall-camp injury that sidelined him for weeks, knocking him out of the running as the team's potential starting center in 2020.
“To be honest, it was rough," White said when asked about how disheartening the injury was for him prior to the season.
"When it happened, those first couple days I was kind of feeling bad for myself and stuff like that. But then I just talked to some guys on the team who had been through similar experiences. And probably two to three days after it happened, my mind was on just get back as fast as possible.
"Worrying about it won’t do anything. All I can do is rehab and just take care of my body and get back to where I want to be.”
White is slated to be the team's starting left guard, working alongside left tackle Richard Gouriage who held down the left guard position last season. Working with the redshirt junior offensive lineman over the past couple of years has helped White build chemistry, making the transition easier.
For that reason, along with his experience playing with the others on the team's offensive line, White's confidence has grown.
“My confidence is high," said White. "Part of it is the guys I’m playing next to. Having practiced with them so long and knowing what they do it allows me to play with confidence because I know for example I know where my help is with Richard or Kingsley and I can kind of play faster because I’m not worried about what’s going to happen around me.”
The Gators offensive line will be different this year, but the players involved have grown and added experience and athleticism that should propel it to the next level, especially as the team gets more physical in running the football. White is certainly part of the solution.