When Jason White started playing lacrosse for the first time in his freshman year, he made it a goal to land an athletic scholarship. White, a San Benito High senior, has made that goal a reality after making a verbal commitment to play lacrosse at Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) in Belmont.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound White said he will sign his letter of intent in mid-April. When NDNU offered White a scholarship in early January, he was floored.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” he said. “It was unbelievable—just unbelievable. It’s been my goal since my freshmen year and a big dream of mine to reach this point.”
White and NDNU assistant coach Jon Black maintained contact throughout the recruiting process, which went into full swing once White took part in NDNU’s Prospect Day on Jan. 7, an event where recruits got to tour the campus, meet the team and go through drills. What helped White was the fact that he has played every position for San Benito High, including goalie last season.
“Coach John said he liked the fact that I play multiple positions, and how I communicated on the field,” White said.
White loved the fact that his parents and friends will be able to watch him play, as Belmont is only a 50-minute drive from Hollister during off-peak traffic hours.
“It’s really close to home, next to San Francisco and I’ve got friends close by,” he said. “NDNU made a very strong scholarship offer, and I really love it there. My parents are really proud of me because they’ve seen me come a long way from day one playing lacrosse. They’ve been supporting me since the very beginning.”
White credited his former club coach, Mario Enea, for helping him develop into a bona-fide college prospect. White spent the summer of 2016 with Enea, the head coach at the University of Oklahoma who founded BraveHeart Lacrosse, the club program White has been a member of for the last three years.
White spent two months that summer working with Enea, including a weeklong camp.
“I look back at that week and started to realize I could play this game at the next level if I kept working hard,” White said.
Enea drilled White in the finer technical aspects of the game while also instilling in White a discipline and focus that is evident every time he takes the field.
“Coach Mario was a really good influence,” White said. “I did a lot of 7 on 7 shooting (camps/tournaments) and drills, just doing things over and over.”
When White first picked up lacrosse equipment the summer before his freshman year, he had no idea how much he could improve in a relatively short amount of time.
“It was weird at first because I could barely cradle and barely shoot,” he said. “Just putting in time with my teammates and coaches helped me get dialed in.”
White decided to play football last season, earning some playing time at defensive end and on special teams.
“I loved being with coach (Bryan) Smith and coach Cam (offensive line coach Chris Cameron),” he said. “It was a great group of guys, and football got me really conditioned for lacrosse.”
Practice for the spring sports teams started Monday, and White enters his final year of high school lacrosse at peace, knowing a college career awaits. However, White and his San Benito High teammates have unfinished business in that they’re eager to compete for a Mission Trail League championship.
White prepped for the season by practicing with BraveHeart, which held competitive box lacrosse pick-up games every Wednesday.
“The pickup games are very competitive,” White said. “You’ve got many of the top players in the area playing there, and we take it seriously.”
San Benito High lacrosse coach Don Jones said it’s been a pleasure coaching White since the program’s inception three years ago.
“He is a great student of the game, a great competitor and a quick learner,” Jones said.