The Backstory: Living up to the expectations of your parents is difficult, but it becomes tremendously more challenging when your father is a legend himself. Few college athletes have to overcome the legacies of their parents, but Sun Devil quarterback Danny White was the exception.
White's father Wilford was Arizona State's first true star, and he became the first Sun Devil to ever have his jersey number retired (33). Wilford "Whizzer" White was an outstanding running back and helped engineer Arizona State's rise to prominence with an All-American caliber season in 1950.
When it came time for Wilford's son Danny to play college football, Arizona State offered an intriguing challenge. Danny could try and follow in his father's footsteps, or he could create his own legacy at a different school. Up to the task, Danny never flinched and assembled one of the most impressive resumes of any Sun Devil athlete.
Today, the Arizona State football program has five numbers hanging in the rafters, and two belong to the White family.
The Player: Danny White (1971-1973)
When Danny White arrived at Arizona State, he didn't need to set personal expectations and goals. The Sun Devil faithful already did that for him, as they hoped that the son of Arizona State's first true star could take the football program to even greater heights.
The pressure must have been immense, but White found a way to rise to the challenge. He didn't play running back like his father, and instead took a liking to throwing and kicking the football. In 1971, White saw his first game action and started at quarterback for the Sun Devils.
Though he wasn't nearly a polished product, White still had the tenacity and talent to lead Arizona State to an 11-1 record. The Sun Devils' prided themselves on their offense, and with a backfield that featured Woody Green and Ben Malone, White simply had to manage the game. But he did more than that, and tossed for 1,643 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first season as a starter.
The following season, White came into his own and thrived as a do-everything quarterback. White surpassed 2,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, and he rushed for more than 200 yards to help the Sun Devils to a 10-2 record and their second consecutive Fiesta Bowl victory. This time, White's heroics led Arizona State past Missouri in the big bowl matchup, and he earned honorable mention All Western Conferences honors as a quarterback.
By the time his senior season rolled around, it was apparent that White could more than live up to his father's legacy. In 1973, White helped the Sun Devils to an 11-1 record and an incredible third straight Fiesta Bowl victory. The 1973 team is widely regarded as one of the best in Arizona State history, and the backfield combination that White and Woody Green formed was simply sensational. White set personal bests with 2,878 passing yards and 24 touchdowns.
White finished his senior season with plenty of national recognition, as he placed ninth overall in the Heisman voting. He also racked in First Team All-Conference honors as a quarterback, and as a punter. That's right, White was also a a force on special teams. White amassed an average of at least 40 yards per punt in each of his three seasons and topped out at more than 43 yards per punt in 1973.
Over his three seasons at Arizona State, White compiled a record of 32-4 and helped the Sun Devils win the Fiesta Bowl three consecutive times. White played during the golden era for Arizona State, and in many ways, he was the poster child for the Sun Devils' success. For that reason, his number will never be worn again, as No. 11 is now retired.
In the Pros: The Dallas Cowboys selected Danny White in the third round of the 1974 NFL Draft with the 53rd overall pick. White became a member of the 20,000 passing yards club during his career and appeared in the 1982 NFL Pro Bowl. However, the highlight of his career is not an individual honor, but the Super Bowl he helped the Cowboys win.