Spring 2021 Magazine

Memphis QB Brady White living out 'God's plan' as he leads Tigers to historic season

Fans won’t soon forget the 2019 Memphis Tigers.

With last Friday’s 34-24 victory over No. 19 Cincinnati, the Tigers eclipsed two historic milestones — the 500th victory in program history and the school’s first ever 11-win season.

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Yet the chatter around Memphis this week has been focused not on the past but squarely on the future. The Tigers (11-1) have only lost one game this season en route to a third consecutive American Athletic Conference West title and a No. 17 national ranking. They will be hosting Saturday’s championship game. Their opponents? Those same Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2).

Another win could mean a berth in the Cotton Bowl for a program that was mired in mediocrity for decades. Everyone involved with Memphis football wants more. Yet they know that, no matter what, 2019 has already been an unequivocal success.

“That (AAC West) trophy will always stay in Memphis,” coach Mike Norvell said in a story by the AP. “We’ll always be able to walk around talking about the three-peat of the West Division. But we want to continue to finish the journey, and we want to make sure these guys are going out, playing to the best of their abilities and accomplishing all that I believe that they can.”

Tigers quarterback Brady White has been one of the main reasons for the Tigers’ success. He’s thrown for 3,307 yards with 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions so far this season, all while completing 66.4 percent of his passes. That production has made him a finalist for the Manning Award, which was announced Thursday. The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. Earlier this season, White was named a top-five finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

White has become one of the more notable quarterbacks in the country, but it hasn’t happened with the team he envisioned when he began his college career in 2015. The four-star recruit became one of the highest-rated players in the history of Arizona State football when he signed with the Sun Devils out of Hart High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. He redshirted his freshman year of college, played three games in his sophomore campaign but then injured his foot and missed the rest of 2016 and all of 2017.

It was then that White made the decision to transfer. In an interview early in 2018 with 92.9 FM ESPN Radio in Memphis, White described his move to Memphis being “part of the plan that God’s got for me.” In a Twitter post, White said the decision came “after weeks of prayer, reflection, and discussion with my family.”

White, who is active on social media, says he is a son of God and references Romans 5:8 on Twitter and Instagram. He is vocal about his faith on both platforms. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

White has now been with the Tigers program for two seasons. Thanks to his status as a graduate from Arizona State, he received immediate eligibility in 2018. Due to his health issues at ASU, the NCAA awarded him eligibility this season, and as of this May, eligibility for next season as well.

White is thankful to be in Memphis, and the Tigers’ faithful is thankful that he is there and delivering in a big way. White and the Tigers are currently 9.5-point favorites to beat the Bearcats in their rematch this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

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