The University of Memphis football team won its first-ever American Athletic Conference championship on Saturday and former Hart High School quarterback Brady White was at the helm.
In the come-from-behind, 29-24 win over Cincinnati, White completed 18-of-39 passes for 253 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown.
His passing touchdown came with 1:14 left in the game. With the Tigers trailing 24-23, White threw a 6-yard pass to Antonio Gibson for the game-winning strike.
“We were excited that it was our turn to get the ball,” White said in a press conference after the game. “It wasn’t perfect tonight. There were a lot of miscues, things we could have done a lot better, but that last drive we knew without a doubt that we were going to execute the way we knew how to, own the football, and we did.”
Memphis was in the AAC championship game in 2018 as well, but the Tigers lost 56-41 to UCF in Orlando. White was the starting quarterback in that game as well, but threw 17-of-29 for 178 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
“Personally, it just means a whole lot to have what happened last year and to be able to have this group of guys go through so much throughout the year and training and all of that,” White said.
“The preparation, the sacrifice, not just the players and the coaches, but the support staff, everything we put into this team, to get back to this platform and this opportunity and to finish on the right side of it means the world.”
White is currently a redshirt-junior for the Tigers and transferred into the program from Arizona State after the 2017 season. While at Arizona, White played for then-Arizona assistant coach and current Memphis head coach Mike Norvell.
“He means a whole lot to me. Being recruited as a … kid by a man that believes in you, going through adversity early in my career, having multiple coaches, to have someone that still believes in you, give me the opportunity to come here,” White said. “No matter what, we’ve had each other’s backs. To be champions now, it’s a blessing.”
He played in three games for the Sun Devils in 2016 before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the season as well as the 2017 season.
White got a fresh start with the Tigers and was named starting quarterback in his first season with the program in 2018. Currently, he ranks eighth in program history in career passing yards and is tied for eighth in career touchdown passes.
In his three seasons with Hart varsity football, he threw for a total of 10,835 yards and 109 touchdowns with 44 interceptions. In his junior year in 2013, the Indians beat Valencia 28-21 in the Northern Division championship.
Memphis next plays No. 10 Penn State in the Cotton Bowl Classic in Arlington, Texas at 11 a.m. on Dec. 28. The game is set to be broadcasted on ESPN.