PHILADELPHIA — This is a nervous time for Tre’Davious White.
He could receive life-changing news over the next few days. It’s got him nervous, anxious and excited.
And it has nothing to do with the NFL draft.
“Got a little boy on the way now,” the former star LSU cornerback said Wednesday. “He’ll be born any day now. I’m on call, man.”
Tre’Davious White II is due next Wednesday, May 3, but his father will get another life-altering call this week. He hopes it comes Thursday night during the first round of the NFL draft here at a spectacular outdoor theater positioned on Philadelphia’s famed "Rocky steps."
White, the Tigers’ four-year starting All-American, is a borderline player as projections go. Some have him outside of the first round. Others have him being selected as high as the 15th overall pick.
He jumped at the invitation to attend the draft, sent to him by NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt.
“It was always a dream of mine to come, so I never, for once, was I like, ‘Nah, I’m not going to go,’ ” White said on the eve of the draft after a visit to the Shriners Hospital for Children in north Philadelphia. “My family was pumped about it.”
What if he’s still sitting in the green room after the 32nd pick?
“If it doesn’t go my way,” he replied, “I know I’m still in a great place, great position to pretty much set my family up for life.”
That’s what this is about, White said, his family — the one back in Shreveport where times were rough and people could be cruel. White grew up in the Cooper Road neighborhood of the city, a place where it’s a “big deal,” he said, to have graduated high school.
Cooper Road is in North Shreveport. It was established in 1928 as an African-American community, Shreveport city councilman Willie Bradford said. Bradford was the feature interviewee for a special on Cooper Road that ran in February on KMSS-TV, a Shreveport-area station.
Crime, gangs and drug activity enveloped the area in the 1980s and ’90s, Bradford said.
“It got so bad that in the late ’90s because of the constant crime, violence, and shootings, the city, the sheriff and the state police came together and instituted an operation called Operation: Thor to eradicate a lot of the gang violence and the crime that was happening,” Bradford told the TV station.
“I know he’s from Cooper Road,” White’s teammate, Jamal Adams, said. “He always talks about it. I don’t want to get into his lifestyle, but I know ... from what he tells me, there was times he struggled. He’s a strong cat. He’s a humble kid, very blessed and his life is going to change.”
White, his mother and four siblings crammed in a three-bedroom home in the Cooper Road community. He and his older brother, Ligregory Ruffins, were each given a mattress for sleep.
The mattresses were so stiff that the brothers stacked the two on top of each other. They both squeezed on the two-mattress makeshift bed.
“We were two grown boys in high school doing that,” White said. “My younger brother and sister shared my sister’s bed and my mother’s.”
At worst, White stands to make a signing bonus of more than $2 million. And that’s for a selection in the middle of the second round.
PHILADELPHIA — George and Jamal don’t watch football games together.
Some have him getting picked 25 spots higher, landing in the first round with the other two LSU representatives here in Philadelphia, Adams and Fournette. Teams have told White they like his versatility. He played safety, cornerback and nickel, covering the slot. He returned kicks, too.
"Ain’t backing down from nobody," Ike Taylor, the New Orleans native and two-time Super Bowl winner, said of White. "That kitchen gets hot, that one-on-one gets hot. He doesn’t back down."
NFL officials told White they expect to use him on special teams, specifically kick coverage. All of this is a reason he returned to LSU for his senior season — to prove his versatility.
“It all came with coach Corey Raymond,” White said of LSU’s defensive backs coach, who, he said, will attend the draft. “Me coming back, he was telling me, if I’m able to play inside and outside at a high level and then with special teams on top, brings more value. If you’re a guy that can play special teams and defense, they want you.”
Said Adams: “He can do it all.”
Soon, he’ll be able to move his mother out of Cooper Road and help his father, who lives with his other half-siblings in San Francisco.
“Got to get my mom in a bigger space,” he said.
“That’s most important to me. Football is another drive and avenue to help my family situation,” he continued. “I love the game, but I’ve got more important things to think about as far as me not going (in the first round).”