Notre Dame commit Ashton White will get an up-close look at Irish

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Ashton White has yet to see Notre Dame play in person this season. That will change on Saturday.

Unable to travel to South Bend most weekends, White will take advantage of the Irish coming to his neck of the woods for the game against Navy at FedExField in Landover, Md. White, an Irish commit, attends school less than 10 miles away at Bishop McNamara.

"It's been a great season,” White said. “The defense has been playing well and the offense has been playing well. I'm excited. It's a great team and a great coaching staff."

White committed to the Irish in July after earning a scholarship at a Notre Dame camp in June. The 5-foot-11, 182-pound cornerback bought into everything the Irish had to offer. He was sold on the education, the facilities, the team and the coaching staff.

But when it came to the defense he would eventually be playing in, White had to use a bit of imagination. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder could describe his defensive philosophies, but he had yet to coach a game for the Irish. Seven games into the season, the abstract defense White was sold on has become an impressive reality.

"I love it. It's an aggressive defense,” White said. “They have fun. When everybody is doing their job and working as a unit, it's going to be successful no matter what. It looks like something I'm going to have fun playing in.”

White’s own senior season hasn’t been as successful. The Mustangs lost three of their first four games and sit with a 3-5 record. But wins in the final two games of the season could salvage a postseason berth in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

He’s taken the opportunity to become a leader of a team that has only five seniors.

“As a senior class, we're just showing the younger kids how to work, how to practice, and things like never quitting,” White said. “We're trying to be role models for them. When their senior year comes, they will be a great team.”

Offenses tend to avoid throwing White’s way. Often assigned man coverage, the limited action lowers White’s tackle totals. He’s recorded 33 tackles on the season and one interception.

His team has also employed White on offense at times. He’s reeled in 10 passes for 122 yards to date.

Bishop McNamara head coach Keith Goganious has watched White continue to improve as a cornerback.

"I look at his footwork,” Goganious said. “I look at his approach to getting better. I look at his man-to-man coverage abilities that he has. He really can get on a person and play some serious man-to-man defense.”

White knows he has work left to do. He’s become more conscious of his technique as he prepares for Notre Dame.

“Sometimes I tend to rely on my athletic ability,” White said. “That's cool in high school, but at the next level everybody is athletic.”

Goganious sees plenty more potential in White that has yet to be reached. Both 247Sports and Rivals rate White as a three-star prospect.

“The thing with him is he's just scratching the surface,” Goganious said. “If he keeps going in the direction that he's going in, I think he can be a really good college football player."

White has taken an active role in recruiting other players to join him at Notre Dame. Fellow Maryland native Lawrence Cager, a wide receiver, has become his most recent target. The two grew up together and have been talking about Notre Dame since White committed in July.

“I talk to him all the time," White said. “He's having a little fun with his recruiting process, but he's also been trying to focus on his season. Almost daily, I'll hit him up to see how he's doing and talk about ND a little bit."

The two will likely be on campus for official visits to Notre Dame at the same time in December. Recently, Arizona State commit Jaason Lewis tweeted that White would be joining him on a visit to Tempe for the Notre Dame game. White said that he and Lewis are friends, but that there are no plans in place for that to happen.

If it did, it wouldn’t be a reflection on his commitment.

"That's just something we've been playing around with,” White said. “It could happen. It might not happen. I don't know right now."

"It's not that I need to take a visit or anything. It's just so when Notre Dame kills Arizona State, I can talk trash to him.”

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Cornerback commit Ashton White will watch Notre Dame play Navy Saturday night. (Photo Courtesy of Student Sports)