LAURINBURG — After four years of electrifying Pate Stadium, Fighting Scots fans will have to wait an extra day to watch Zamir White light up the scoreboard, as he transitions from Friday night football to SEC Saturdays.
After being courted by almost every major football program in the country, Zamir verbally committed to the University of Georgia back in June on his mother Shanee’s birthday.
On Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, surrounded by his coaches, friends and family Zamir signed the paperwork accepting the scholarship offer from the No. 1 team in the nation — the Georgia Bulldogs.
In May, the NCAA authorized a 72-hour window from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22 allowing high school football players in the class of 2018 to sign a letter of intent. The traditional signing period still runs from the first Wednesday in February through April 1.
Fighting Scots head coach Richard Bailey opened the ceremony by talking about Zamir’s dedication not only to athletics, but also to his education and community.
“Zamir knew when he was in ninth grade what he wanted to do with his life and he was willing to do whatever it took to get there,” Bailey said. “He’s a great football player, but he’s an unbelievable person. He’s also been an tremendous representative of our community. He really tries to represent our community with the utmost class and that is more important than any athletic accolades. I know Zamir feels like he’s been here forever, to me it seems like I turned around and he’s leaving me.”
During his four years, Zamir broke nearly every rushing record Scotland High School had on the books. He’s also been named Player of the Year by almost every organization imaginable.
Zamir finishes his high school career as Scotland’s all-time leading rusher; single-season leading rusher to go along with the school’s leading rusher in touchdowns for his career and in a single season. Zamir holds three of the top five all-time rushing performances in a single game.
The 6-foot, 220 pound senior finished is final season with 148 carries for 2,085 rushing yards with 34 rushing touchdowns and 38 total touchdowns. For his high school career at Scotland, he tallied 738 carries for 7,168 yards with 119 rushing touchdowns and 127 touchdowns.
For his efforts, Zamir has twice been named conference player of the year; 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year for North Carolina; 2017 NCPreps.com Player of the Year; 2017 Sam B. Nicola Award National High School Football Player of the Year; Army All-American; four-time conference players and was a finalist for the Army All-American Bowl’s Player of the Year.
“Unbelievable accolades, and the greatest part about all of that — that’s just a little part of who Zamir White is,” said Bailey. “You can tell the character of a man, by how he interacts with little kids. Zamir always has time for them, whether it’s going to the elementary schools and reading books or holding their hands running out of the tunnel on Friday.”
Choosing Georgia seemed like a no-brainer to Zamir after visiting the campus in Athens and getting to know the coaching staff. The other important factor was that his family liked where he was going. If his mother Shanee White and younger sister Zamora weren’t on board that school was off the list.
“Georgia fits me the most, coach (Dell) McGee is great people and I think he’s going to coach me and make me a better football player and a better person,” he said. “The playing time and the coaching staff really made it feel like home. My family loved the place too.”
Zamir has finished all of the necessary high school credits to graduate and has enrolled in classes and will begin his freshman year at Georgia in January. He is unsure of what he wants to major in, but is considering criminal justice. Being a DI athlete and a full-time student doesn’t worry Zamir, he says he’s prepared to juggle the two.
“I’ve been ready to get down there,” he said. “It’s going to be rough, I know that but it’s all a mental thing. If football doesn’t work out, I would want to be an FBI agent.”
Scotland’s feature tailback is recovering from ACL surgery, which he had done in Athens by the University of Georgia medical staff early in December. Zamir said the recovery is going well, but he’s sick of being on crutches. The typical recovery time from an ACL tear is nine months to a year — depending on the severity of the injury.
“I was tired of these crutches the first day I got them,” he said. “Recovery is going slow right now, but it’s fine. It’s mind over matter.”
Zamir will still be able to work out with the team during their spring training, but will likely be medically red-shirted this fall so he can fully recovery from surgery and maintain four years of eligibility to play for the Bulldogs.
Zamir said his family is incredibly proud of his accomplishments and are ready for him to begin the next stage in his life — some for selfish reasons.
“Zamora wants my room so that’s why she’s ready for me to leave,” he said.
To the community that watched him grow as a person and a player Zamir wanted to thank them for supporting him and coming out and packing Pate Stadium.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or email@example.com.