White was born in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from San Fernando High School in San Fernando, California, where as a track and field athlete he won the 330 yard low hurdles at the CIF California State Meet over future Olympic Gold medalist Andre Phillips. He was also a standout high school football player.
White was selected in the 1st round, 27th overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. After four disappointing seasons in Cleveland, where he rushed for a total of 942 yards and had a 3.4 yards per carry average, White was released before the start of the 1985 season. White later acknowledged that he struggled with cocaine addiction during this period.
After his release from the Browns in 1985, he reunited with his college coach, John Robinson, who was now coaching the Los Angeles Rams. White would play for the Rams for three seasons, 1985–1987. In 1987, he enjoyed his finest year as a pro, rushing for a league-leading 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns, which earned him a Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
White finished his NFL career with 3,075 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns, along with 114 receptions, 860 yards and one touchdown.
In its third and fourth seasons, American Gladiators held special "Pro Football Challenge of Champions" shows. White participated in both and won both, both times coming from behind in the "Eliminator" thanks to slip-ups by his opponents. He also competed in sixth season's USC vs. Notre Dame alumni special where he also won, giving him a 3/3 record on the show.
In 1993, White joined USC as running backs coach (1993–97) and today is a computer consultant. In his free time, he umpires for youth baseball in Chino Hills, California.