By Matthew Asher
Sharod “Roddy” Lamar White, WR #84
Hometown: James Island, South Carolina
Experience: 8 years
While Julio Jones may be getting most of the press as Matt Ryan’s favorite deep threat, Roddy White has been, and still remains, one of the best offensive weapons for the Falcons.
Growing up in James Island South Carolina, White was a four-sport letterman in football, wrestling, baseball and soccer. For White, success seemed to always come in twos. In wrestling, he was a two-time state champion, typically pinning his opponents with a move dubbed the “Shanaz.” In football, White was a two-time All-Low Country honoree, a two-time All-State honoree and ranked by Rivals.com as one of the top high school receivers.
Roddy attended the University of Auburn at Birmingham (UAB) and finished his career with the second-most receiving yards in UAB history. In 2004, he helped UAB go to its first, and to date only, bowl game. In the 2004 Hawaii Bowl, White caught six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown en route to a 59-40 defeat of the Blazers by the Hawaii Warriors. He was selected as a member of the first-team All-Conference USA in 2004.
Roddy was selected 27th overall by the Falcons in the 2005 NFL Draft. While he suffered a high ankle sprain and was limited in preseason action, he did play all 16 regular-season games. He was inconsistent throughout his rookie campaign.
While White made some amazing catches, including one over three New Orleans Saints for a 54-yard touchdown, he also dropped his share of catches, including a would-be touchdown catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the Tampa Bay game, White finished with 108 yards receiving, which was the second-highest receiving total for a rookie wide receiver that year. Roddy finished his rookie season with 29 catches, 446 yards and 3 touchdowns.
As far as statistics go, Roddy showed slight improvement in his sophomore year. He finished with 30 receptions for 506 yards. The trouble with the slight improvement in yardage was the lack of touchdowns. White had none in 2006.
2007 was White’s breakout year. He caught 83 passes amassing 1,203 yards (tied for 8th best in the league) and more importantly, six of those catches were for touchdowns. This was the first time since 1999 that a Falcon recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
White was also involved in a controversial and questionable play in 2007. After scoring a touchdown against the Saints, White pulled up his jersey to reveal a t-shirt that said “Free Mike Vick.” Earlier that day, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in jail following his conviction of dogfighting charges. The NFL fined White $10,000 for his actions.
Roddy continued to improve in the 2008 season. He caught 88 passes for a then franchise-record 1,382 yards averaging a career-high 15.7 yards per reception. He also recorded seven touchdown passes. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl that year.
White’s offensive production continues to grow each season. In 2009, he set a new franchise single-game record with 210 receiving yards and was selected to his second straight Pro Bowl.
Currently, Roddy holds six Falcons records including most career receiving yards (7,374) and most seasons with 1,000+ yards receiving. From 2007-2011, Roddy has amassed more yards (5,158) than any other receiver in the league.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.