LSU Football, 2018-19 Corbett Award
Devin White collected a host of national awards for his outstanding 2018 season. The LSU star was a consensus first-team All-American and capped the year by being recognized as the Butkus Award winner – that honor is presented to the top linebacker in the nation. He was also recognized as LSU’s Team MVP.
Now he adds one additional honor, one that is likely to mean quite a bit to the proud Louisiana native. He has been selected as the James J. Corbett Award winner as the top amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana, becoming the 12th LSU football player to earn the honor.
“I’m a Louisiana native. I’ll do anything for my state, you know?” White said late last year. “I just want to make the state proud. I know [Coach Ed Orgeron] is the same way, because we’re in practice, he’s always talking about protecting the state, making the state look good. What we do is for the people of Louisiana. And I feel that.”
White closed his All-American season with 123 tackles (tops in the SEC for the second straight year), 12 tackles for loss, three sacks and six pass deflections. He had five games with double-digit tackles, including a career-best 17 in LSU’s marathon battle with Texas A&M. His forced fumble in the fourth quarter of the Aggie game was returned 58 yards for a touchdown to knot the game at 24. He also had a 13-tackle game against Georgia. White was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after both of those performances.
Orgeron, also a Louisiana native, gave White high praise following his dominant season.
“In my opinion, he’s the best linebacker in the country,” Orgeron said. “I’ve been a part of Ray Lewis, I’ve been a part of Patrick Willis, and he’s right in that group. No question, one of the best I’ve ever been a part of, as far as a middle linebacker and I still think he’s going to get better. I think he’s going to have a tremendous pro career.”
The Springhill native endeared himself even more to the LSU faithful when he didn’t waiver on his commitment to the team and led the Tigers to a Fiesta Bowl victory over previously undefeated UCF. Some collegiate players projected as high NFL Draft picks have opted to skip their teams’ bowl games.
“Some people just play for money,” he told The Advocate prior to the Tigers’ bowl victory. “I’m not one of those guys. It’s just something that comes along with it. You’re able to make a career out of it.”
While he did remain with the team through the bowl game, he opted to declare for the NFL Draft following another strong performance.
“He’s a country boy. Committed to LSU and was in the big show and worked his way and earned his way. He has great character, he has great drive,” Orgeron said. “Devin loves LSU. It was a hard decision for him to leave, he didn’t want to leave but he made the right decision. He’s going to be a top 5 pick, maybe. But I do believe being hungry, being humble is part of his makeup.”
As projected by Orgeron, White was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 5 pick. He is all but guaranteed to become the 18th Corbett Award winner to play in the NFL. And while the Corbett will be his last collegiate award until various Halls of Fame come calling, many NFL experts predict him to continue his award-winning ways, naming him a favorite for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
White is the 12th LSU football player to earn the Corbett Award, with the most recent being Leonard Fournette in 2015-16. He is also a lock to become the 18th Corbett Award winner to play in the NFL.