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Injury to UND linebacker Caden White to test Fighting Hawks' depth at inside linebacker

White has played in 37 career games and was UND's second-leading tackler this season.

CadenWhite.jpg
UND senior inside linebacker Caden White celebrates a play against North Dakota State during the 2021 season.
UND Athletics
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GRAND FORKS — The UND football team has been spared from extensive injuries throughout much of the season, but the Fighting Hawks were bit last Saturday against South Dakota State when linebacker Caden White was injured in the second half.

White, quietly a key piece of the Fighting Hawks' defense, had his arm placed in an air cast on the field and will miss the remainder of the season.

White, who has played in 37 career games for UND, was the team's second-leading tackler this year.

That means the Fighting Hawks will test their depth at inside linebacker Saturday against Abilene Christian at 3 p.m. at the Alerus Center.

"It's unfortunate for our team and for Caden, who was having a big year and playing really good football for us," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said.

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UND linebacker and senior captain Ted Mullin addressed White's injury at the team's weekly press conference. Mullin and White have been roommates throughout their careers.

"He's going to come back from this and be the teammate he was before," Mullin said. "He's going to continue to be that guy people can lean on and trust. Although he might not be on the field now, he's going to be in all of our corners.

"It hurts to see because of how much he's given to this game and how much he pours into other people. He's going to handle it well and attack it with the mindset he attacks everything else with."

UND has three healthy inside linebackers now that have played extensive minutes in Devon Krzanowski, Wyatt Pedigo and Kason Kelley.

Malachi McNeal, who has played special teams for UND this fall, would be the next in line for time at inside linebacker. McNeal, a redshirt freshman from Waukegan, Ill., is UND's highest-rated prospect out high school of all-time, according to 247sports.

For insurance, UND also moved true freshman inside linebacker Jack Baretz from the scout team.

Pedigo, a sophomore, has excelled in his first season of extensive action. Pedigo is third on the team in tackles and has two of the team's three interceptions.

"He's shown that since he's been here," Schweigert said. "When we recruited him, we thought he was athletic, and he's a playmaker. You saw that Saturday where there's maybe a play that's out of the gates but he finds a way to get to the ball. We're pleased with his progress, and he'll get better as he learns the system more and plays more football."

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Although a bit undersized at 6-foot, Pedigo, who was a standout wrestler and running back in high school in Hoisington, Kan., makes up for other measurables with an excellent feel for football.

"Being my third year in the program, I really honed in on the defense and can go out and play and have fun," Pedigo said. "It's more like high school now. I know the defense, so I don't have to think as much."

Related Topics: UND FOOTBALLUND SPORTS
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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