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ASU's 50 Best Professional Athletes: No. 21 Football's Danny White

Coming in at No. 21 on our list of the 50 best professional athletes to attend ASU is former football quarterback Danny White, who won three Fiesta Bowls while playing at ASU.

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Before Tony Romo became one of the most highly criticized NFL quarterbacks unfairly stuck with the "can't win big games" label while playing for the Dallas Cowboys, there was Danny White who had the daunting task of following football demi-god Roger Staubach.

White actually earned more recognition in high school for baseball than he did playing football at Westwood High School in Mesa, Arizona. Arizona State head football coach Frank Kush convinced baseball coach Bobby Winkles to allow White to punt for the football team.

In his sophomore year, White earned the starting quarterback role and went on to win three Fiesta Bowls, earn All-American recognition in 1973 and set seven NCAA passing records.

After a short stint in the now-defunct World Football League, White signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1976 as their punter and backup quarterback. When Staubach retired after the 1979 season, White took over and still kept his role as the team's punter.

Over the next decade, White was one of the better players under center in the league but never broke through to the Super Bowl. His closest bid came against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, which is now best-known for "The Catch" orchestrated by Joe Montana and Dwight Clark. White nearly led the Cowboys to a come-from-behind win but ultimately failed.

White led the Cowboys to three consecutive NFC Championship Games (1980-82) but lost all three despite being the favorite. That, coupled with siding with the owners in the 1982 NFL Players Strike, put White in hot water as QB1.

White threw for 3,980 yards and 29 touchdowns the next season - both career highs - but it wasn't enough. Two big losses to end the season and a first-round playoff exit caused White to lose the starting job.

He regained starting status midway through the 1984 season, but the Cowboys missed the playoffs. They made it back the next season but once again exited the playoffs early.

In 1986, White and the Cowboys started 6-2 and had the best offense in the NFC with White as the highest-rated passer in the conference, but a blindside tackle and a broken wrist ended White's season. He never regained a firm grasp on the starting position and retired in 1989.

Having to follow the Staubach era in Dallas, White held down the fort well-enough in the 80s before Troy Aikman eventually led the Cowboys to their 90s glory.

White went on to coach in the Arena Football League and won two championships. He was named to the AFL Hall of Fame for his coaching career. White was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the State of Arizona Hall of Fame and the ASU Hall of Fame. His No. 11 jersey is retired in Tempe, and in 2000, the Arizona Republic named him the Arizona Athlete of the Century.