With national signing day now beyond us, NoleNation takes a closer look at the next crop of Seminoles.
Vitals: Cornerback Marquez White (Dothan, Ala./Northview), 6-foot-1, 170 pounds.
Committed: May 25, 2012.
ESPN.com grade: 83, four-star prospect.
ESPN.com rankings: No. 17 cornerback in the country, No. 74 player in the Southeast region, No. 7 prospect in the state of Alabama and the No. 158 player in the ESPN 300.
Picked Florida State over: Alabama, Auburn and Kentucky.
State of the position: Xavier Rhodes marks the Seminoles only real cornerback departure. Rhodes will certainly be missed, as he appears set to be drafted in the first couple rounds of the NFL Draft this spring. Ronald Darby and Nick Waisome return with some decent experience. But guys such as Keelin Smith, Lamarcus Brutus and Colin Blake have not played much. The group is definitely talented, but experience relative to the entire depth chart isn't ideal.
ESPN.com scouting report: White is a very tall, long perimeter player at this level, but we question whether he can remain there for the next level. He is rangy and high cut -- very good looking on the hoof -- but his build and transitional skills lead us to believe he'll become a safety in college. He makes a lot of plays around the football and finds it naturally in coverage. He soundly tracks the downfield pass in deep coverage, adjusts his body properly and shows good leaping and ball skills. He closes hard and with good burst underneath. He makes quick reads and breaks sharply out of his pedal with some explosion. He's better transitioning out of his pedal underneath than flipping his hips to run vertically in man-to-man. He does show sharp footwork and re-direction skills mirroring in off-man as well as good strength and aggressiveness as a press man defender. He's a solid run supporter and open-field tackler. He will come up and lay the wood and look to make the big hit on perimeter support. His underneath speed and range are very good and he takes direct angles to the ball. While we like the scheme versatility and overall athleticism White brings to the table, he is a bit of a 'tweener safety/corner and has some weaknesses that could be exploited at each position at the major college level. He flashes good recovery quickness and length to makeup separation, but he looks a bit rigid in his turns at times and not always real fluid changing direction. He's quick, but lacks great overall lateral movement skills as a projected corner. He needs to play lower. He will need to continue filling out his leaner frame to play safety and provide effective run support in the box. His speed is competitive, but his quick feet make him look faster than he actually is. White is an athletic, confident prospect and his size and frame development make him attractive for the BCS level.
Expected impact: Between Jalen Ramsey and White, there is definitely playing time there to be earned. Keelin Smith and Colin Blake are intriguing, and they have been in the defense for a year, but with a new scheme and defensive staff, everybody will be learning at the same time. It would probably be a surprise if White took a redshirt in 2013. He will probably play some on special teams and rotate in whenever possible to get some experience under his belt, barring an unforeseen injury, of course.