EL PASO, Texas — John White IV is ready and raring to run the ball again. More than a month has passed since Utah's star running back was sidelined with an ankle injury in the regular-season finale against Colorado.
The junior, who is the Pac-12's second-leading rusher with 117 yards per game, has declared himself 100 percent healthy.
"I'm good," White said while noting he's not even wearing a brace this week. "No complaints. I'm fine."
Good news for the Utes as they prepare for Saturday's Sun Bowl game against Georgia Tech.
"It's going to be fun. I'm enjoying it out here in El Paso," White said. "I'm just ready for what else has to come."
After running for 1,404 yards and earning second-team all-conference recognition, White is back to his pursuit of the school's single-season rushing record. He needs 104 yards to eclipse Carl Monroe's 1982 mark.
"It's been on my mind a little bit, but winning the game would be better. If I get 50 yards and we win the game I'll be the happiest person in the world," White said. "It's all about the win. It's all about these guys, the seniors, winning their last game."
White has been an absolute gauge of success for Utah this season. The Utes are 7-0 when the junior college transfer tops 100 yards rushing and 0-5 when he doesn't.
"He has been absolutely instrumental to our success this year as an offense," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who noted that breaking the team rushing record would be a big deal for White, the offensive line and the offense in general.
"He's got a chance," Whittingham acknowledged.
Especially, he added, with his recent performances in practice. White has shown no signs of the injury and has been going full speed.
Despite some ups and downs in his first season since transferring from junior college, the "Wolfman" is having a good time. He's carried the ball 290 times and scored 16 touchdowns (14 rushing).
Coming up big, though, isn't unusual for the 5-foot-8, 186-pounder from Torrance, Calif.
He expects it.
"It's a great accomplishment to be able to play at this high level and show the fans what I have to offer," White said. "It's been a ride. It's been great. I'm just ready to play."
Next season, White may not have to carry such a big load. Utah is adding highly touted Fullerton Community College running back Kelvin York to the mix. It could give the Utes a powerful one-two punch in the backfield.
"Any time we've got a chance to make our team better we're going to do it and we think we've definitely made our team better signing Kelvin," Whittingham said.
UTES ON THE AIR
Utah (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (8-4)
Saturday, noon MT
El Paso, Texas
TV: CBS Radio: 700 AMKey to success
As John White IV's rushing totals go, so go the Utes this season.
Opponent Yards Outcome
Oregon State 205 Won, 27-8
Washington St.185Won, 30-27 OT
BYU 174 Won, 54-10
Pittsburgh 171 Won, 26-14
UCLA 167 Won, 31-6
Montana State 150 Won, 27-10
Arizona 109 Won, 34-21
Arizona State 85 Lost, 35-14
USC 56 Lost, 23-14
California 39 Lost, 34-10
Washington 35 Lost, 31-14
Colorado 28 Lost, 17-14
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company