Like many of his South Carolina teammates, Parker White will graduate school well before his football eligibility expires.
A redshirt-junior athletically, the kicker — who was mentioned by Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp on Thursday as one of the team’s leaders — has senior academic standing and will graduate from the university, if all goes to plan, in May of 2020.
Until then, the plan is simple: Win as many games as possible and make every kick he attempts.
“I know that kind of sounds like a cliché, but in all honesty, it just feels so good to win,” White told Spurs & Feathers on Thursday. “That’s probably my biggest goal right now, along with making every kick. There’s no excuse to miss a kick, really.
“I want to make every single kick and I want to win games.”
Though White missed 11 field goals in 2017, the Mount Pleasant native bounced back last season and made 13 of 16 along with 45 of 46 extra points.
White’s résumé also includes three fourth-quarter game-winning field goals, including two, against Louisiana Tech in 2017 and Missouri in 2018, that came in the game’s final seconds.
“Parker has always been a very calm and cool individual,” said Muschamp, who blamed himself for White’s “shaky” 2017 season. “ … I don’t blink at all if he’s lining up to take a game winner.”
White worked this past summer with a few coaches on refining his kicks from the outside hashmarks from 50-plus yards. He’s working on keeping his head down, placing his plant foot a few inches further downfield and overall staying level-headed.
“Whether it’s a 35-yarder against Missouri in the fourth quarter, down two, or a 35-yarder on the first drive in the opening game to make it 3-0, it’s the same kick,” White said. “It doesn’t really matter what the situation is.
“At the end of the day, I’m just hitting a ball. I just have to make myself believe that. And that helps me be ready for a quote unquote pressure kick.”
White has worked hours on end with Matt Oliveira, a senior transfer from Maryland who will be the Gamecocks’ snapper this season.
“I’m really looking forward to spending a lot of time together in camp,” said White, who added it normally takes a couple hundred repetitions with a new snapper to get on the same page.
In June, White and his uncle drove to Nashville, where White worked for about an hour and a half with Tennessee Titans kicker and Gamecock alumnus (2005-08) Ryan Succop. They spent time kicking together and also analyzed video.
“Sometimes I have a bad habit of planting too shallow, where I need to have it further down field,” White said. “But it’s just a matter of inches. It’s a super small thing, but getting my plant foot further downfield is going to help me be more consistent.
“And I have to keep my head down.”
White, an Atlanta Falcons fan, has also paid close attention to Matt Bryant, who kicked for the Falcons from 2009-18.
“His personality always seemed so monotone,” White said. “Whether or not he made a kick, it was always the same face, same emotion.
“[Like him], I just want to stay in the middle.”
Spoken like a true kicker.