KC Native, Rachaad White always had big dreams of becoming a professional football player. With hard work and the support of his family and Big Brother, John, Rachaad’s dreams officially became reality on April 29, 2022 – Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Rachaad was selected in the third round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to Bucs Wire, the Bucs went into this year’s draft looking for a pass-catching specialist at running back, and they got just that with Rachaad.
Getting to this milestone was years in the making, and he had his Big Brother John by his side the whole way. John and Rachaad were Matched in the spring of 2007. John was in his mid-twenties and Rachaad was 8 years old. Rachaad’s mother, Rochelle, was a single mom raising four sons and putting herself through college and graduate school. She wanted her sons to have a positive male role model that could offer them some extra support. Rachaad was the youngest, with his older brothers all already having been Matched with a Big. He couldn’t wait to be Matched and the two hit it off immediately. According to an article written about the Match in The Athletic, Rochelle said she could tell that they would be “thick as thieves”.
That statement held true through the years. Rachaad appeared in the recent weeks on the Jim Rome Show, stating that kids just want somebody around to play with them and care about them, and as a parent, it can be tough even when they’re doing everything they can possible. “Having my Big Brother take me out for ice cream on a day I wasn’t feeling so hot would change my mood that day. It changed the way I thought about things and changed my perspective”. John said some of their favorite things to do together were tossing the football around at Loose Park or shooting hoops. They would frequently visit the library and go to Minskey’s Pizza. Even after about four years into their Match when John moved to Chicago, they made sure to stay close. Rachaad visited and they talked weekly as the years passed and Rachaad continued to excel as an athlete in school.
After Rachaad graduated from Center High School, he started at Nebraska- Kearney and redshirted his freshman year, then transferred to Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut California. After two seasons in California, he then was able to sign with Coach Herm Edwards and achieve his dream of playing at a Division One school, Arizona State.
According to The Athletic, “In four games, Rachaad rushed for 420 yards. He was the only running back in the country to average 10 yards per carry. In addition, he became the first Arizona State player since 1949 to lead the Sun Devils in both rushing and receiving yards”.
During these pivotal years, John was a sounding board for Rachaad, helping him and supporting the tough choices. Like whether or not to stay at Nebraska and play it safe or transfer halfway around the country on his own and see if he can grow his athletic career. John also developed a tradition of sending Rachaad sportsbooks with life lessons and advice in them. Little did John know, his advice was some of the most valuable to Rachaad. “John helped me get the right guidance and the right leadership I needed in my life. And we had a lot of fun! We went to the park to play ball. That’s part of the reason I can catch so well was playing catch with him every weekend”, said Rachaad. “Big Brothers Big Sisters really helped me. It gives kids a great mentor that guides them through life. Someone who can relate and give you the advice to make you the best possible version of yourself. Because that’s what life’s all about.”
When speaking with John now, fifteen years since being Matched, he states that “to this day, I still think about the first time I met Rachaad. We’ve been tight ever since. So much has changed for the two of us yet so much has stayed the same”. When they first met, being drafted by a professional football team seemed like a faraway dream from playing catch at Loose Park. But 15 years later, the day came. “To see his name called in the 2022 NFL draft was surreal and I’ll never forget it. He now gets to embark on his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL and I have a front-row seat. I’m forever grateful to Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City and to Rachaad and his family for giving me this life-changing opportunity”.
Rachaad on Draft Day with John and family
Rachaad and John at Loose Park