Sad news came about on Thursday night as Arizona State University Sports Hall of Famer Wilford “Whizzer” White passed away on Thursday at the age of 84.
White was one of the first great Sun Devil football players. A running back from 1947-50, he finished his career as ASU’s all-time leading rusher with 3,173 yards. He is also the father of another Sun Devil legend and Hall of Famer, quarterback Danny White.
“Whizzer embodied all of the attributes of the Sun Devil Way that we teach our players,” said head football coach Todd Graham. “The mark he left on this program will always echo through Sun Devil Stadium.”
“I don’t think it is an exaggeration or an over characterization to call Whizzer the first great football star in Arizona State history,” voice of the Sun Devils Tim Healey told Pros2Preps.com on Friday. “He played from 1947-1950 at a time when Arizona State wasn’t a university. It was Arizona State College.”
White’s number 33 has been retired by ASU as his name and number stands in their ring of honor at Sun Devil Stadium. That number is one of only five that have been retired and taken out of use. Another number taken out of use is his son Danny White’s number 11.
“His senior year he was an All-American and you look at the numbers that year Brad, and I would stack it up with any other season that any other Sun Devil has had as being one of the all-time great seasons,” Healey explained. “He rushed for over 1,500 yards in 1950 and that is still the second-best single-season total in school history.”
He has the most career points of any position player with 327 and his 48 career touchdown are tied for the second most in Sun Devil history. In addition, he recorded 16 career 100-yard games, third most in ASU history, and owns two of the school’s top five single-game rushing performances with 236 yards against BYU and 232 against Northern Arizona. Both of which happened in the 1950 season.
White has been Arizona through and through. He was born in Mesa on Sept. 26, 1928, and attended Mesa High School before attending college in Tempe. His first time living outside the state was after being drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 1951 NFL Draft.