When Josh Sarratt and Zin White were excelling on the football field, Wednesday’s National Signing Day wasn’t what they imagined.
Colonial Forge’s Sarratt is a three-time all-state safety at the highest level in Virginia, Class 6.
He was named Free Lance-Star player of the year after a junior season in which he racked up 1,908 all-purpose yards, made 47 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He received a scholarship offer from the University of North Carolina and a handful of FCS programs after his junior campaign.
White bulled and sprinted his way to a combined 3,555 rushing yards and 43 touchdowns for Courtland the past two seasons, earning first-team All-Area recognition each time.
Sarratt will sign a national letter of intent with Virginia Military Institute today at Colonial Forge. White, a Courtland senior, won’t ink his name anywhere and is pondering a future without football.
While Sarratt expressed a bit of regret for not initially jumping on the UNC offer, White said he’s content to walk away from the sport if the right opportunity never materializes.
“Once I got to the end, I sat back and thought about what could’ve been if I would’ve just committed [to UNC],” Sarratt said. “But now I look at it as God did it for a bigger purpose than I know, so I’m trusting in it.”
Sarratt (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) held scholarship offers from the Tar Heels, Navy, William & Mary, Towson (Md.) and Howard. But when he recently orally committed to VMI, the Keydets’ offer was the only one on the table.
Sarratt said the UNC coaching staff told him he’d likely get other Atlantic Coast Conference offers, so he wanted to wait out the process. Those offers never came.
Coaching changes at the other schools that were recruiting Sarratt left him in limbo. He said despite the disappointment of seeing the “committable” offers vanish, he’s looking forward to VMI.
“It’s a blessing,” Sarratt said. “It may not be the ideal school that I imagined when I started the recruiting process, but at the end of the day I’m playing football for free and getting a great education. I know a lot of people would die to be in my position. So I’m blessed and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Coaching changes also left White in flux. He was being recruited by James Madison, Massachusetts and William & Mary. Each school will have a new head coach next season.
White (5-foot-11, 190 pounds) said he’s not in despair. While he’s open to a walk-on possibility at a school of his choice, he has a 4.0 grade-point average and is willing to go to college and concentrate strictly on academics.
James Madison and Old Dominion are both potential walk-on opportunities.
“That might not be what God has for me,” White said. “But luckily, I did work hard enough in the classroom that I don’t need to run a football to be able to go to school … At the end of the day I could do an internship and that could be just as beneficial. So it’s good to have options. It’s good to work hard in the classroom and on the field. That way, you’re not stuck when no one wants you to come play football.”
White acknowledges that not showing much versatility throughout his career at Courtland may have hindered him in the recruiting process. He strictly played fullback in the Cougars’ Wing-T offense the past two years. A shoulder injury prevented him from playing defense early in his career and concerns about work load left him solely as a ball carrier in 2018.
“I needed to carry the ball 25 times a game for our team,” White said.
Sarratt has worked diligently on improving his speed the past few years, but may not have been quite fast enough to secure the scholarship offers he envisioned.
He said he’s determined to make his mark at VMI.
“To be honest, right now I’m probably the hungriest I’ve ever been in my whole sports career just because I feel disrespected,” Sarratt said. “I feel some type of say about how my recruitment went. So once I step out on the football field I’m going to have a whole lot of stuff to prove to myself more than anybody else.”