Fifth year senior linebacker, Javin White, is one of the defensive player’s on UNLV’s roster that is poised for a big season. He was voted in as a team captain during the August 17th, 2019 scrimmage and was tied for ninth in the nation with four forced fumbles in 2018. Not only that, but he is headed into his fifth season as a Rebel. While his four interceptions, 74 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss to go along with a couple sacks are nice, he is also, as UNLV Head Coach Tony Sanchez describes him, a player-coach. He says that there is a limit to driving standards home as a coach, “….it really needs to be player-driven at some point and Javin’s been a great guy who drives home what our standards are around here: the way you practice, the way you prepare, the way you communicate, just doing all of those little things right.”

He praised him for doing all the little things right, including taking an ice bath after practice, attending meetings, and mentoring the other players in the locker room. Not only does Head Coach Tony Sanchez expect that out of him, but Defensive Coordinator Tim Skipper expects him to be vocal as well. Javin White said, “Coach [Tim Skipper] expects me to just be vocal and just be myself. He always says be yourself, but you know always be about the team and I just feel like I’m a great person that is just vocal all the time and when I’m slacking, I like it when someone says, you aren’t loud today, White, and you know I got to get back up because they expect something from me. When people expect something from you, you always make sure you live up to your hype. So I just make sure to live up to my hype and just being loud and just Coach [Tim Skipper] always feels like I’m a coach on the field and I take that as pride that he trusts me on the field.”

  

Expecting things out of players is one thing, but for Javin to be as receptive as he is, is another thing. He takes the bull by the horns. When someone tells him to change something, he does. It motivates him to play harder every down, helps to remind him what his goal is, and it helps that the coaches have trust in him. So much so, that he was voted as a team captain this season. It was a special honor for him, as he was not a captain in 2018. It isn’t just a token for him being at UNLV so long. It means that he is a leader and the guys on the team trust him to be one of the central figures on the team. Even though other players speak highly of Javin, he said he has worked on his leadership and tried to key in on being a more vocal leader to the younger guys on the roster.

 

“My leadership has grown this year, just being more vocal to the younger guys, the guys that are going to be playing throughout the season and just helping them out. When you’re young and you don’t have a lot of experience, a lot can go wrong quick. Just tell them to keep their mind straight, tell them when something goes wrong that’s alright–that’s part of the game. After that just go play ball. Everybody knows how to play football that’s why we’re here, so you know it doesn’t change after you know what you’re doing.”

He has seen results in helping some of the younger guys on the roster including last year’s freshman group.

“From the freshman class that has come in last year, there’s a great show of maturity. Everybody has been able to lock in a little better, but I don’t think it’s an actual person, I think everybody’s grown in their own and individual way, which has been great. We’ve had a great summer this past, and I think everybody understands that college football is kind of really hard. You can’t really fall fast so you have to understand your alignment, assignment, and technique, quick before the play even goes because if you don’t have that you’ll be screwed.”

Leading the younger guys on the roster and seeing a difference from them in a season is good for the Rebels. The amount of depth on their roster and the amount of freshman/sophomores on the team this season helps, as the Rebels can rely on more guys. This is especially true when starters go down with an injury and the younger guys need to step in. The veterans of the team can trust them more now that they know the playbook and coaching mindset a little more.

 

Not only has his leadership grown, but Javin White’s maturity is another thing that was pointed out. He flies over the whole field to make plays, as the coaches know he can handle it being the cerebral guy that he is. There is a lot on his plate. but he is ready to attack the field come this fall. “I’ve just done a great job maturing. When I first came in, I was 18. Now I’m 22 so you know it’s all about growing up, you know, being more mature. I’ve been with Coach Sanchez since he first got here. So I’ve seen what we’ve improved on and I think right now we’re in a great direction and just try to continue and make everything better.”

Even though it is only Tim Skipper’s second year as the defensive coordinator, the guys needed to learn a new system. It takes time to implement and usually when the second or third season comes around the defense starts clicking on all cylinders. The defense knows what to expect and what is asked of them. They know their assignment, alignment, and technique better. They know the coaching routine and even though they had a rough 2018, the defense is stacked with talent this year at almost every position, having three guys who can step in and play. The coaching staff is confident in that but Javin is too.

Coach Skip is great man, I think he has a great game plan every week, and I think the way he’s come in and what he’s done with the defense is really, really good. I know last year we didn’t look like we did, but I feel like we’ve grown a lot last year. So this next year I feel is going to be even better and I think with Coach Skip he just understands his players the best and that’s why we are in for a good season.”

Now everything is second nature for both sides of the field. A good feeling in the locker room can go a long way and help carry them through the season. Being optimistic is one thing that will help but having a ‘player-coach’ like Javin White also helps because he is a vocal leader. The defense expects big things from players like Javin, but Javin also expects big things from himself and the team and he is certain it will all help guide UNLV to their first bowl game in six years.