Editor's Note: This is part of a weeklong series looking back at the first half of the ASU football season. We will be handing out individual awards, conference awards as well as positional grades throughout the bye week.
Many said it would be running back Demario Richard. Others thought former UCLA receiver Devin Lucien. But for some reason, wideout Tim White never crept into the conversation as a potential breakout candidate for the 2015 season.
Now, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound redshirt junior and College of the Canyons transfer leads this Sun Devil team in all purpose yards with 885, and that's no small-margin lead either. He's 116 yards above Richard and 508 yards atop Lucien, averaging 126.4 yards a game.
The receiver and kick returner has recently accumulated a good amout of his yardage on special teams, as 511 of his 885 yards come from kick returns, which amounts to over 50 percent of his total yardage output.
This past week after ASU dropped a tough road loss to No. 4 Utah, White was named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week after his dominant performance against the Utes where he started off ASU's scoring with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and led the team in all-purpose yards with 194.
White suffered a tough childhood, suffered periods of homelessness and walked eight miles to school to get an education that would later benefit him in his dreams to become a football player. His role-model, brother Elwood White, was shot and killed just three years ago. But none of that stopped White from exuding positivity while displaying his Olympic potential in track in high school: Something he only wanted to utilize as it related to the game he always knew he wanted to play.
And utilize that potential he did.
As a junior U.S. triple jump champion with a height good enough for Olympic contention, White uses his agile frame to leap over defenders and rush into the end zone. He uses his speed to navigate a path by his blockers and speed into the end zone unscathed.
ASU fans have seen this play out in nearly ever one of the six games White has played in this year, no better example than this past weekend when White was a flash across the field on his 100-yard kickoff return where he dodged multiple defenders and followed his blockers to find the end zone.
Fans saw remnants of his triple jump days in a rushing touchdown attempt against the New Mexico Lobos where he skyrocketed his body in the air and over defenders to break the plane and put six on the board for his team.
White has been one of the hottest targets for quarterback Mike Bercovici this season. On top of his 511 kick return yards, he has 69 rushing yards and 303 receiving yards and is tied with Richard for first on the team in touchdowns with six.
At this point in the season, seven games down and five to go, White is arguably in contention for first in explosive playmaking, if there were such a category, competing only with Richard. Explosive plays are something coach Todd Graham called for in the early stages of the season and White has handed his team the momentum-capturing moments time and time again this season.
Now, White has the ability to enter into some national conversations. He's learned an entire new scheme under an entire new team, and is undeniably one of the most valuable gems of this Arizona State football club so far this season.
This is finally White's time and he is breaking out and even more importantly, breaking through.