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Full speed ahead

The number - 348 - still stuns Navy slotback Shun White.

"Now that it's over, I realize that's a lot of yards for the same guy to rush for in a game," White said Sunday night, one day after setting the school's single-game rushing record in a 41-13 season-opening win against Towson.

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"I can remember when I was back in high school and LaDainian Tomlinson played for TCU and he rushed for over 400 yards, and I was thinking, 'That's crazy. How did he do that?' But records are meant to be broken."

White, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound senior from Memphis, Tenn., knows that he will go into Friday's nationally televised game at Ball State with more than just a jersey on his back. But he is looking forward to having that proverbial target.

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"The way our offense is set up, if you stop one, you have to stop three or four other people," White said. "It's not a selfish offense.

"I'm not a selfish guy or a selfish player. I don't care if I don't get the ball the whole game as long as I do my job to help my team win. That's all that matters."

White's performance, on just 19 carries against the Tigers, helped him earn several national Player of the Week honors. It didn't come as a surprise to Reggie Campbell, whose role White inherited as Navy's most dangerous offensive threat.

"Everybody was kind of saying, 'Who's going to replace me and Zerb [Singleton]?' That's not really the question. It's basically, 'Who's next?' " Campbell said. "It's going to happen. I'm just glad he had a chance to go out and showcase Shun White. He's a great, dynamic player."

White credits Campbell and Singleton with helping him develop.

"I looked up to both of them ever since I was a freshman, and the work ethic they had has rubbed off on me," White said. "Now that I'm a senior, I want to keep that tradition and rub it off on our younger guys."

White came to Navy because the other Football Bowl Subdivision schools that recruited him, including Wake Forest and Mississippi, wanted to convert him into a cornerback.

Former Navy coach Paul Johnson offered him a chance to play in the triple option.

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"I never played defense in high school and I hadn't planned on playing it in college, and I didn't want to play it in college," White said. "I wanted to come to a place that would give me a chance to run the ball."

Some of White's friends in Memphis still do not understand why he went to a service academy.

"A lot of my friends ask me, 'What are you doing going there?' " White said. "But a lot of people who don't go here don't understand that it's bigger than just you, you're fighting for a bigger purpose.

"That's kind of how our football team is. It's bigger than just us."

White acknowledges that it took him awhile to understand that.

"Coming out of high school, I was kind of young, acting childish a lot," White recalled. "As I went into my sophomore year and got older, I realized how important it was. Now that I'm a senior, I'm ready to do my job," he said, referring to his service commitment after graduation.

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As is usually the case with Navy slotbacks, White had to wait his turn. He barely played as a freshman until the Poinsettia Bowl against Colorado State, then had a pair of 100-yard-plus games in each of the past two seasons while gaining a combined 1,219 yards on 129 carries his first three years.

"If you look back the past couple of years, Shun always led in yards per carry. He always found a seam and hit it," said Campbell, who was on the sideline Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium working for the school's sports information office.

At times, White made the Tigers look as if they were playing in slow motion. His three touchdown runs went for 87, 33 and 78 yards, the last coming after he briefly left the game because of cramps in the fourth quarter. With quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada out with a hamstring injury, Towson was concentrating on containing fullback Eric Kettani, last year's leading rusher.

"After I got the first carry, I realized that it was going to be a good day," White said.

It resulted in the kind of national attention that only a handful of Navy players have received in recent years. It doesn't seen to faze White, who will certainly be the focal point of Ball State's preparation with Kaheaku-Enhada sitting out this week as well.

"I've seen all the hype out on ESPN, all the player of the week stuff, but it's over," White said after practice Sunday night. "Got to get ready for Ball State. That's where my focus is. Try to make plays for my team and help us win."

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Next for Navy: @Ball State, Friday, 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 1090 AM

Line: Ball State by 8


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