Terrorizing quarterbacks from the collegiate level to the professional ranks, few defensive players in the history of football have dominated the line of scrimmage like Reggie White.
A native of Chattanooga, White began his distinguished athletic career at Howard High School. While at the University of Tennessee, White dominated on the field and was popularly nicknamed the “Minister of Defense.” He was the inspirational big-play leader of Tennessee’s staunch defense throughout a brilliant collegiate career.
In 1983, during his senior year, White was captain of the team, which went 9-3 and defeated Maryland in the Citrus Bowl. He was a unanimous All-America selection, All-SEC and the SEC Player of the Year. White was a Lombardi Award finalist (given to the nation’s outstanding lineman), was named Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Atlanta Touchdown Club and was Most Valuable Player of the Japan Bowl.
Renowned for his relentless sacking ability, White holds Tennessee records for most sacks in a single game (4), season (15) and career (32). He was chosen by his teammates as the Volunteer’s Outstanding Lineman.
After a much celebrated collegiate career, White entered the professional ranks with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL before becoming a first round draft choice (fourth overall) of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985. White embarked on an impressive 13-year NFL career and became one of the most respected defensive players in the league. His brilliant career also included tenures with the Green Bay Packers (1993-98) and the Carolina Panthers (1999-2000). He made 11 Pro-Bowl appearances and won a Super Bowl XXXI Championship with the Green Bay Packers.
White retired as, and continues to be, the NFL’s all-time career sack leader. In 2003, White was inducted into the prestigious College Football Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was selected for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame before his unexpected passing at the age of 43.