UNLV’s Ricky White Giving Mountain West Defenses Fits
LARAMIE -- Their body types are eerily similar.
So is their trademark break-neck speed and playmaking abilities.
The stats aren't far off, either.
Last Friday night, Wyoming's defense was tasked with limiting Tory Horton. Colorado State's senior wideout is one of the most dynamic players in the country, entering the 115th edition of the Border War with 70 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns.
Sore ribs, coupled with a lower-body injury, likely led to his pedestrian night inside War Memorial Stadium. To make matters even worse, Horton's left leg got caught in the turf and his knee got twisted underneath him as he was hammered near the sideline by Wyoming cornerback Tyrecus Davis.
Still the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior stayed in the game and eventually finished with a team-high seven grabs, but only accounted for 58 receiving yards in that 24-15 loss to the Cowboys.
Most importantly, he never once crossed the white stripe.
Ricky White, on the other hand, is fully healthy.
UNLV's top receiver is coming off a 165-yard outing last Saturday in Albuquerque. The junior did that damage on just eight catches. He also hauled in a pair of touchdowns in that 56-14 rout of the Lobos.
White, who now has 54 catches for 876 and six touchdowns on the season, was named the Mountain West's Offensive Player of the Week.
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Craig Bohl called White "excellent" during his weekly press conference Monday. Wyoming's head coach added, "he's a big-time receiver."
He also thinks the comparison between Horton and White is justified.
"I would say when Tory is healthy, they're very similar," Bohl said. "... This guy's got big-time speed, playmaking ability, he's got good length, goes up and catches the ball and separates from the defensive backs. I mean, like I said, you can make an argument that these guys are playing at the top of their game."
White initially signed with Michigan State out of Marietta High School in Georgia. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound three-star recruit spent two seasons in East Lansing, finally seeing the field for the first time during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. His breakout performance came in his second-career game. He hauled in eight passes for 196 yards against No. 13 Michigan. White also caught a 30-yard touchdown pass in a 27-24 upset of the Wolverines inside the Big House.
That was the most receiving yards for a freshman in MSU history. It was also the second-most ever against its biggest rival. That's saying something when you're talking about a program that has produced the likes of Andre Rison, Charles Rogers, Muhsin Muhammad and Plaxico Burress, among many others.
Though he was listed on the active roster, White never played during the 2021 campaign. Then head coach Mel Tucker said during fall camp White was not participating in team activities.
After entering the NCAA Transfer Portal that December, White eventually signed with UNLV, reuniting with his former high school teammate, four-star quarterback, Harrison Bailey.
Despite catching passes from three different signal callers -- including Bailey, who is now at Louisville -- White made an immediate impact in Sin City, leading the Rebels in receiving last season with 51 catches for 619 yards and four scores. In his first game in scarlet and gray, the then junior racked up 182 yards on eight grabs. He also caught two touchdown passes in a 52-21 rout of Idaho State.
That was his only 100-yard performance of the 2022 season. This year, through nine games, he already has four of those, three of which have come against Mountain West opponents. The other, Vanderbilt of the SEC.
Wyoming's secondary, like it did last week, has its work cut out.
Wyoming (6-3, 3-2) and UNLV (7-2, 4-1) will meet Friday night inside Allegiant Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be televised on FS1.