MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Ka’Raun and Kyzir White are adding to the family legacy started by their older brother at No. 23 West Virginia.
Kevin White stamped his place in Mountaineer lore after a senior season in 2014 that earned him second-team all-America honors with 1,447 receiving yards, the second most in school history.
Ka’Raun and Kyzir White followed Kevin from Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna Junior College to West Virginia and have boosted their own name recognition this season.
With the injured Chicago Bears’ wide receiver in attendance at homecoming, his siblings made big contributions in the Mountaineers’ 46-35 win over Texas Tech on Saturday.
Ka’Raun White caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as part of West Virginia’s comeback from an 18-point deficit, including a leaping grab of a 32-yard pass that prompted teammate Gary Jennings to flatten White afterward with a celebratory chest bump.
Kyzir White sealed the win in the final two minutes with his team-leading third interception of the season. He also tied for the team high with nine tackles and also forced a fumble.
Ka’Raun White will take a streak of two straight 100-yard receiving games on the road Saturday night when West Virginia (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) plays at Baylor (0-6, 0-3).
Both Ka’Raun and Kyzir White sat out last year’s regular-season finale against the Bears with injuries. Ka’Raun White was unable to work on the timing of his routes with quarterback Will Grier until this summer after recuperating from a broken bone in his right leg.
The inevitable comparisons to Kevin White had already started before the 2017 season. At 6-foot-1, Ka’Raun White is two inches shorter than his older brother, yet he’s on pace to match Kevin’s 10 TDs from 2014.
”I’m just going to come play every week and hopefully everything will turn out pretty good,” Ka’Raun White said. ”I’ll keep working in practice, keep working on that connection with Will to make things happen.”
Coach Dana Holgorsen said White had been great in practice the past two weeks and had a statement game against the Red Raiders – his eight catches and two TD receptions were season highs. He’s matched last year’s TD catch total of five and is averaging five receptions per game.
”Keep in mind, he missed all spring,” Holgorsen said. ”So the relationship and timing with him and Will has taken a little bit longer. There was some times in camp where Will was frustrated that that timing didn’t exist. It’s just taken a little bit longer than we would have liked it. It looks pretty good now.”
Unlike his brothers, Kyzir White said he ended up playing on defense because ”I just like to hit people.”
A second-year starter at the spur position, a safety-linebacker hybrid, Kyzir White is second to linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton in tackles with 32 and is easily on pace to surpass last season’s total of 58.
”We’ll all just have to play our part, do our job,” Kyzir White said. ”Just play hard, try to create turnovers. Everything else will take care of itself.”
West Virginia safeties coach Matt Caponi calls Kyzir White ”the mold that holds us together and a guy that brings us energy – just always shows up, hustles, makes plays. He has stood out.”
And has kept the family name prominent in Morgantown.
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