STARKVILLE, MS (AP) - Before this season when new Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz told linebacker Chris White he had a chance to win the Butkus Award, the senior laughed.
Turns out, that's not as crazy as he imagined.
White, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound middle linebacker, was crucial in the Bulldogs' 10-7 victory over No. 22 Florida on Saturday, making 11 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks.
Though he hasn't received much national recognition, White has quietly been one of the SEC's most productive players, ranking second with 12 tackles for a loss and five sacks.
No. 24 Mississippi State (4-2) will play its first game as a ranked team in more than nine years on Saturday, when it hosts UAB (2-4) at Scott Field.