Kyzir White, like his brother, former first-round receiver Kevin White, took the junior college path to a Division I school prior to making it to the NFL.
After prepping at Emmaus High School in his hometown of Macungie, Pennsylvania, White spent the first two seasons of his college eligibility at Lackawanna College where he was a two-time All-Northeast Football Conference selection. In his first season, White recorded 34 tackles, two pass breakups, one interception, and 1.5 tackles-for-loss.
In his second year, White accumulated 37 tackles, two for loss, four pass breakups, three interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. Following the season, White committed to play at West Virginia University over the likes of Louisville, Arizona State, Illinois, and Pitt. He left Lackawanna as the No. 1 JUCO safety prospect and the No. 19 JUCO player overall.
White immediately won a starting job on the Mountaineers’ defense, starting 12 games for them during the 2016 season at the team’s hybrid safety/linebacker position. He finished his first year in Morgantown with 58 total tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, three sacks, a pair of forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and five pass breakups.
His best season came as a senior, obviously saving his most-impactful campaign for last. He recorded a career-high in tackles with 94 with 7.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, three interceptions, four pass breakups, and two more forced fumbles, earning Second-Team All-Big 12 honors.
White was drafted by the Chargers in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. As a rookie, White transitioned from a 218-pound box safety to a full-fledged 233-pound weakside linebacker for the Bolts. He won a starting job at WILL prior to the week one opener against the Chiefs. He played in three games before going down for the year against the Los Angeles Rams, finishing the year with 17 tackles, a tackle-for-loss, two pass breakups, and his first-career interception.
Kyzir White does an awesome job getting depth on this over route, but it's covered all the way. Allen has the arm to put this in a spot where maybe just his receiver has an outside chance at it, but this throw doesn't even give him a shot. INT #2 pic.twitter.com/19kFJwBOKS— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) September 19, 2018
In his sophomore campaign, White started seven games while participating in all 16 contests. He accumulated 40 total stops, a single tackle-for-loss, and another two pass breakups with another interception.
College: West Virginia
Years with team: 2
“Kyzir White signed a 4 year, $3,114,441 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $654,441 signing bonus, $654,441 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $778,610. In 2020, White will earn a base salary of $750,000, while carrying a cap hit of $913,610 and a dead cap value of $327,221.” - Spotrac.com
White defied a number of odds and won a starting job at the WILL linebacker spot after transitioning from safety following the 2018 draft. He started three games prior to his injury and played admirably, recording his first interception against the Bills in week two. From the moment he was drafted, White became one of the stickiest tackles on the team. He was an impact player for the Mountaineers for two years and didn’t show any signs of needing to get acclimated once he stepped on an NFL field.
We got two really good looks at why the Chargers drafted Kyzir White in the second quarter. This is the first. 3rd and 1. KC w/ four in backfield, ball is snapped to Spencer Ware. He fakes hand off and takes it himself. Kyzir isn’t fooled, comes down hill, lowers the boom at LOS. pic.twitter.com/21vfYoYrur— The Lightning Round Podcast (@Lightning_Round) September 10, 2018
After a promising start to his rookie season, White succumbed to a knee injury that was originally supposed to keep him sidelined for just a few weeks. It somehow turned into a season-ending injury and White never saw the field again in 2018.
In 2019, he played sparingly as a reserve linebacker after the team signed veteran Thomas Davis to play the WILL linebacker spot. Going forward, Anthony Lynn said Kyzir will play the SAM spot since it’s the only linebacker that comes off the field in Nickel personnel. That means his snaps will naturally be limited, which is what Lynn wants in order to keep him healthy.
In the end, with this much worry about White’s leg present this long after the initial injury, it’s tough to see a bright future for him in the long run.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
White will make the Chargers’ initial roster as the team’s starting SAM linebacker who can play all three linebacker positions if given the need. He is a natural playmaker who can thrive when given the chance to run and chase plays from behind. His coverage skills from his days as a secondary member in the Big 12 will only aid him moving forward as he fights for a more prominent role on this defense.