COLUMBIA — Parker White's scholarship status now reflects his playing status.
A two-year starting kicker at South Carolina who was still a walk-on, White was placed on scholarship during halftime of Saturday’s Garnet and Black Spring Game. White lined up to kick a field goal and punched it through.
Then his family and teammates surrounded him on the field as the video board at Williams-Brice Stadium announced he wouldn't be paying for school anymore. White thought it might be coming, but the relieved sag of his shoulders about not having to fill out any more student loan paperwork was as pronounced as if he’d already accepted forever walk-on status.
“I had a suspicion,” said White, a Wando High School graduate. “Going out there for that last one-minute kick, I had a feeling.”
The plan had been in place for a while. USC coach Will Muschamp, a former walk-on at Georgia who never forgot the feeling when coach Ray Goff told him he was going on scholarship, wanted to reward White.
“He’s won two games for us going out there to kick the final kick of the game,” said Muschamp, who also credited White’s quest to get better through a roller coaster first season. “He had a fantastic year for us last year. This young man earned a scholarship.”
The only problem was White began the spring game with a 40-yard miss. He connected from 32, then missed another 40-yarder.
“I told him at halftime, I about pulled the scholarship,” Muschamp said jokingly.
White, who attended USC in 2016 but didn’t play football, joined the team in January 2017 and was the kickoff specialist in the season opener. He won the place-kicking job by the fourth game of the season, when the first make of his career came with four seconds left to clinch a win over Louisiana Tech.
White is 27 of 41 on field goals for his career but 21 of 23 from 40 yards or closer. He has only missed one of 72 PATs and added two other game-winning fourth quarter field goals to his resume since 2017, against Tennessee and Missouri in 2018.
Follow David Cloninger on Twitter @DCPandC.