Head Coach Anthony Lynn fields countless questions each week at the podium, but the ones asked about Kyzir White during the opening days of training camp have made his eyes light up.
The more you watch the fourth-round pick out of West Virginia, the more you can see exactly why Lynn is so excited about the young linebacker.
Simply put, White oozes with potential thanks to a rare combination of size and speed. So, while he’s only a rookie, you can excuse the head coach for getting excited.
“It’s hard for me to talk about Kyzir because I get real excited,” Lynn said. “I don’t want to jump the gun on him. I want to get him in some games and watch him play, but just watching him run around here and some of the things he did in the offseason, I get real excited talking about him. His speed. His attitude. His explosiveness. He just has great instincts as a football player. We had a hammer on him (in the draft).”
A former safety at West Virginia, White is predominately playing the weakside linebacker spot in Gus Bradley’s 4-3 scheme. The jump from college to the NFL is hard enough without also making a position switch, but you’d never know it by watching the 6-2, 218-pounder at Chargers Camp.
Whether it’s staying stride-for-stride with running backs and wideouts in coverage or using his speed to chase down ball carriers sideline-to-sideline, White seems to make an eye-popping play during each period.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Bolts threw him in with the first-team defense at times during Monday’s practice.
At the end of the day though, White is still just a rookie learning the ropes. Although he’s appreciative of the praise, he’s staying grounded, knowing he has a long way to go before fulfilling his potential.
“It gives me a lot of confidence to hear that, but I’m real hard on myself,” he said. “I just want to be the best I can be and just get better every day. Keep building each and every day, and just try to help this team win a ballgame.”
Truth be told, White was hesitant about his switching from safety to linebacker. He knew many teams envisioned him as a linebacker at this level, but he felt like he was a safety at heart.
However, it didn’t take long for him to realize those scouts were right.
Linebacker is a perfect fit for him, especially in the scheme the Chargers run.
“I kept hearing, ‘He’s so big!’” White said. “My weight was around 220, and I knew I could get to 230 easily, so I kind of saw it coming. But when I was coming out of college, in the back of my head, I was thinking that I won’t say anything, but I want to play safety. But glad I’m playing linebacker, and I love it here with the Chargers. I feel like I can really flourish in the system at this position.”
What is it about playing the WILL for the Bolts that makes him feel that way?
“It’s being able to play in space. You get to cover running backs and tight ends. You’re doing a whole bunch of different things, so it reminds me of what I had to do at West Virginia. The biggest difference here is I have to know fronts. At West Virginia, I had to know fronts, too, but I didn’t really have to know them as much as I do here. Now it’s more just being disciplined with my eyes. I’m a lot tighter in this system. At West Virginia, I was covering slot receivers, so I was more like a nickel. I also need to (clean up) some techniques. I’m still using some tendencies that I had at West Virginia while I’m playing in the box here that I’ve got to get out of a little bit. But I think it’s going pretty smooth.”
Take a look through the top photos from camp, as the Bolts practice in pads for the first time.