One of the many bright spots from Michigan State’s 10-3 season in 2017 was true freshman wide receiver Cody White, who emerged as a rising star as the season went on and as a result, faces lofty expectations in 2018.

Spartan Nation spoke with #5 Michigan State‘s wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel this spring about White’s impressive 2017 campaign and the improvements he’s made in the offseason.

What stood out about White most to Samuel was his willingness to learn, even before officially joining the team, and was impressed with the way he went about his business throughout his freshman season.

“One thing with Cody, Cody was asking me questions before he got here,” he said. “I mean he was third degreeing me, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a guy that was questioning me so much about the offense. He was trying to internalize it, he was trying to understand the subtle nuances from the conversation. He had the knowledge when he got here, then it was based off of experiences on the field and seeing leverages and seeing all of these things and once that started to get comfortable, it was like (woosh). That doesn’t happen very often, that’s an exceptional situation, he’s an exceptional individual with the way he attacked it. You have to give kudos to him for how he did it.”

White recorded 35 catches for 490 yards and four touchdowns last season. His 35 catches is the second most for a true freshman in program history, behind Sedrick Irvin’s 40 receptions in 1996.

Samuel noted that he feels that the fact that White spent so much time around the game of football at a high level with his father, Sheldon White, who is a former NFL defensive back and front office executive with the Detroit Lions and currently the Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting for Michigan State, helped Cody better prepare for the college level.

“His experiences, probably being in the NFL, with his dad and seeing Calvin Johnson and all of these guys and how they did things, his personality is kind of ‘This is just what we do, this is how you do it’,” he said. “That comes off so genuine to people and he’s not one of those guys you fear or you’re intimidated to talk to. He laughs, he jokes – he tells the worst jokes I’ve ever heard in my life – but he’s just one of those personality kids that you enjoy being around. Everybody likes being around him.”

With the 2018 season right around the corner and with high expectations for both White and the Spartans, Samuel said that he’s seen an increased level of confidence with his sophomore receiver and continues to see rapid improvement in his all-around game.

“Some part of this is he thinks he knows everything, so let me make sure I understand and express that he’s learning, he knows a great deal but coach still knows more,” he laughed. “There’s a lot of swagger in this young man and he’s playing well, but there’s still more experiences in this old guy to give him. He’s just coming along, technique-wise, he’s getting better.”

Stay tuned to Spartan Nation for all of the latest news on White and the Spartans!

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