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Old Dominion has its first commitment of the 2022 recruiting cycle, and it’s from a hometown kid with a great story.
Jaylon White will be staying home and taking his talents to the corner of Hampton and 49th, as he will play for Ricky Rahne and the Monarchs after graduating next May from Kempsville. White has been a star for Kempsville playing a big role in the Chiefs' 2019 win over Bayside, a win that snapped a 63-game losing streak.
But for White, that was more than a game. A week prior, on his 16th birthday, White and his family lost everything in a house fire. As a result, his family was scattered, with White living with a coach, while the rest of his family lived in Northern Virginia.
“It (the fire) was on my birthday and I was staying with my coach (Musgrove),” White remarked. “I never stop believing because growing up I was taught to never give up and doubt anything, but to keep moving forward.
"The past could either hurt you or better you, so I continued to move forward. My coach told me I could take the game off and I looked at him like he was crazy, because football is more than just football, it’s a way to a better life so I can help my family in the future.”
I remember interviewing Jaylon after that game, and while everyone was emotional, Jaylon was a little extra so after all he had been through.
“It felt like a curse was lifted,” White said.
Many kids take multiple visits to get the feel of a college, but White knew immediately.
“I knew ODU was right for me a soon as I walked in the school and was greeted. I felt the love and my coach always told me to go where they love you,” White said. “Everything at ODU feels great. The coaches give off great vibes and I feel like this is the best place for me to succeed and go to the league.
Going to the hometown school allows White’s family to see him play, something that is special to him, but even more special for his grandmother who hasn’t seen Jaylon play yet.
White is the first 2022 recruit to commit to the Monarchs but a lot of guys have been on campus since the dead period was lifted on June 1st.