Florida State may have other prospects that are higher rated in their 2013 class than Northview (Dothan, Ala.) cornerback Marquez White, he might be one of the biggest pick-ups for the 'Noles when you breakdown his skill set for the next level as a cornerback.
Last Friday, White took to the field in a preseason game against Carroll High in Ozark, Ala. He just played one position - cornerback instead of playing other positions like kick returns and receiver. Kick-off returns are not allowed in preseason classics, so the coaches gave White a rare night off at receiver. However, the three-star prospect still put on a strong showing at cornerback, finishing with five tackles, two of which drew loud cheers from the crowd. The final score was 41-6. The junior varsity played the first half and the varsity team played the second half.
"It was a lot of emotion going into this game for me knowing this is my last jamboree," White explained. "The game went well and I felt I did good making some solid tackles and I didn't give up any passes. I love hitting."
Although he loves the physical part of the game, that wasn't always the case. Last year was his first year playing the cornerback position. His previous position was receiver and kick returner. So over the past year, he spent a lot of time in the weight room to get stronger. That dedication transformed him into a different player - a more furious one.
"I spent a lot of time in the weight room building up my strength. When I took the field this year, I had a different confidence, now I love to hit," White said. "It comes down to having consistency. It's about seeing the mistakes and getting better in practice."
The harshest critic for White might be himself when breaking down film or improving as a cornerback. However, Northview head coach Labrian Stewart says White's attitude is just one of many special qualities.
"Marquez's athleticism is so special. We can do a lot of things with him on our team like punt returns, and kick returns, but for what we need the most - corner is his best position," Stewart said. "He has over a 40 inch vertical and a long strider with a lot of quickness. He's such a great leader for all the other kids more than anything."
White played receiver and kick returner before moving over to cornerback last year. Stewart says White's potential at his current position is unlimited.
"One thing that stands out about Marquez at corner is his cover skills, especially in zone when he break on the pass so quickly. His basketball background also helps him in man coverage with that big time speed and physical ability," he said. "By the time Marquez gets to FSU, he would have two years of experience at the corner position and with that athleticism, he's going to be really special."
Since taking over the cornerback position, many opponents have not challenged White because of his ability to break on the ball. So his toughest challenge is staying focused for when his number is called.
"We practice at a very fast pace, so that's how we continue to build that consistency with Marquez and all of our defensive guys. Marquez is a very coachable kid because he soaks in everything," Stewart said. "We want to see Marquez continue to get even stronger in adding 10-15 pounds. He's already a strong hitter, but this would make him even more complete as a corner."
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