When the Salukis take on Northern Iowa Sept. 30 in the Black Out Cancer game, take a good look at the special Under Armour jerseys. They were designed by this week's Meet A Saluki, center Jack White, a graphic design major from Chicago that ended up at Copiah-Lincoln (Mississippi) Community College on a whim.

A jolly 6-foot-2, 325-pound offensive lineman, White nearly ended up at Indiana State. He verbally committed there, but explored other options when the O-line coach left, and eventually went to Copiah-Lincoln, and then SIU. In this week's Meet A Saluki, White talks about the best meal near Wesson, Mississippi, and how he almost ended up playing a different sport in college.

MEET A SALUKI

OL JACK WHITE

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 325 pounds

Class: Junior

Hometown: Chicago

High school/previous school: Chicago Mount Carmel HS, Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College

What was it like at Copiah-Lincoln?

Copiah-Lincoln was in Wesson, Mississippi. It was a town of a population about 300, maybe, and on top of the school population, maybe 600. Really nothing around. It's, like, an hour drive to the nearest fast food chain. Gas station serves chicken on a stick, and that's about as good as you can get. You get your groceries there. Other than that, it's just a small town about three hours away from Ole Miss, or, Jackson, Mississippi is the closest town to it.

So, what would you do on a Friday night before a home game?

In Mississippi, the junior college games are played on Thursdays, so, we play on Thursday nights, and they do that because they let their players go on their recruiting trips on the weekend. So, if I didn't have a visit anywhere, I'd go to my buddy's house, which is in Jackson, which is about an hour and a half away, and we'd just go there for the weekend and come back on Sunday and go back to practice.

Did you ever play guard?

I played tackle and guard at my high school, Mount Carmel. I didn't have any scholarship offers. I was going to Butler University on PFL, so, they don't give out scholarships. It was, like, $50,000 to go there, so I was going there on a whim. I just wanted to play D-1 ball, and I ended up de-committing because I found out what junior college was, and then, let me switch to center.

What do you do when you're not playing football?

Probably watching movies and listening to music. I'm a graphic designer, so, I design a lot of stuff when coach Hill asks me to. Our Black Out Cancer jerseys we're wearing this year are new, and I designed 'em, designed a lot of the gear we're wearing right now. That's pretty much all I do.

What kind of jersey did you draw up?

Under Armour gave me kind of a jersey template, and I got to pick what kind of font goes on it, what kind of font "Salukis" is in, what's on the sleeves. How much black I want to use and how much maroon I wanted to use. I kind of balanced it out evenly, and they're pretty nice jerseys. I like 'em a lot, but we haven't gotten 'em yet, so, I'm pretty excited to see them when they get in there.

After playing the first game, and playing a team that's struggled, do you feel like you know how good this team is?

Obviously, I think we can get better each week, but I feel like we have a great team coming up this year. I came to Western Illinois, and they looked really good. They moved Sam to quarterback. They went 4-7, but we just work so hard. Coach Hill is on our (butt) every day, and the players bring the juice. The coaches bring the juice, and they know when the foolery has to stop.

I think we're a really mature team this year. I think we have a lot of leaders. I think this year's gonna be special.

A win is a win. Now the main focus is on getting this road win, because we haven't had one in a bit, and I'm excited for this weekend. This will be a big test to really see how good we are, and move forward from this week.

What do you like about football?

I always liked basketball. Basketball was my favorite sport, so, I always thought I was a point guard and football I was a quarterback, so I got mad when I kept getting fatter and playing O-line, so I quit. I came back in eighth grade.

I have a passion. People see it. Coach (Trevor) Olson tells me and coach Hill tells me. I bring the juice, and they can definitely see that. I just love it. It's a place where you can let everything go, and it's awesome to be around your family and friends.

At 325, how much do you have to eat to keep that up?

I was at around 365 when I first got here. I was a full circle. Coach Hill wasn't happy about that, and I was struggling a bit. Coach Meade (Smith) sat me down, and was, like, 'We gotta lose this weight.' He got me on a meal program. Our goal is 325, and we shed it really fast. I got down to about 330, 335 around spring ball, and now I weighed in at about 322 a few weeks ago. Lot of eggs and lots of chicken. No carbs.

todd.hefferman@thesouthern.com

618-351-5087

On Twitter: @THefferman

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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