Florida linebacker Drew White became the 8th commitment in the 2017 Notre Dame football class today when he announced for the Irish, which also makes him the fourth commitment from the recently-concluded junior day weekend. (QB Avery Davis, LB David Adams, and DT Kurt Hinish were the others.) White is listed at 6'1" and 225 pounds. The 247 Composite has him [criminally underrated] as the #915 prospect overall, #33 inside linebacker, and #136 player in Florida.
White, out of powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, has built a very good relationship with Autry Denson. #23 has been absolutely killing it on the recruiting trail since day one of his second act in South Bend; White joins Dillan Gibbons as 2017 Notre Dame Floridians, after the Irish signed a whopping seven Florida prospects in the 2016 cycle. Folks, Notre Dame is back in the Sunshine State, and back in a big way.
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 2 star (5.3 rating), NR overall, NR position, NR in Florida (this line is not a typo)
247 - 3 star (89 rating), #294 overall, #10 position, #42 in Florida
ESPN - 0 star (no rating), NR overall, NR position, NR in Florida
Scout - 3 star, NR overall, #59 position (OLB), #98 in Florida
247 Composite - 3 star (0.8374 rating), #915 overall, #33 position, #136 in Florida
Obviously reasonable minds can differ, but two stars from Rivals and zero stars from ESPN are just absurd. And as you'll see in a moment, not even remotely in line with his offer list.
In addition to Notre Dame, White holds offers from Arkansas, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others, and has drawn interest from Florida, Stanford and Vanderbilt.
This was a fun tape. White is deceptively strong - he looks like he has a relatively slight build, but there are times where he basically rag-dolls a guy to the ground. He moves very well laterally, which helps him break down as he gets to the ball carrier and makes him good in traffic. He's a big hitter, with I don't know how many lay-out hits on here, but he's also a fundamentally sound and sure tackler. He gets downhill in a hurry and shows some nice acceleration. Maybe what I like the most, though, is that he blocks three punts on this reel; punt-blocking shows a level of fearlessness and team commitment that's hard to teach. He has it.
One thing I did notice to improve on is that, in these highlights at least, he'll often cheat run, leaning towards the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. If he does that at the next level he'll be eaten alive by any decent quarterback, so definitely something to work on. Also, as usual with high school linebackers, there's not a whole lot of tape here of him in coverage, so it's hard to judge anything about his skills there.
White will very likely get a chance to sit, lift, and learn in 2017. His greatest instant impact will probably be in bonding with his fellow 2017 linebackers and contributing to the chemistry of the position group.
Long Term / Career
Similar to recent commit David Adams, White will sit early but won't have to wait much longer to get a chance to play, likely pushing for the two-deep in 2018 behind Barajas and Bilal. He has the physical tools and instincts to push for a starting role beyond that, but a lot will depend on the development of 2016 signee Jonathan Jones and Adams as well.
Welcome to the family, Drew!