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Better Know a Freshman: Josh White

Speedy linebacker is built along the lines of Debo Jones

Football is becoming a more spread out, wide open game. Offenses are running wild thanks in large part to the rules becoming more favorable to offenses.

Because of this, defenses are having to adapt and linebackers have the burden of having to cover running backs or tight ends. LSU has had success in recent years with having great athletes playing linebacker, like Debo Jones, Devin White and Patrick Queen. Could Josh White be next in line?

The Story

White is from Houston, which is basically LSU’s backyard. Houston has the largest non-Louisiana alumni base in the nation and has been kind to LSU when it comes to recruiting football players like White.

But it was Oklahoma State who got White to commit first. White was offered by the Cowboys in September of his junior year and he committed a month later. White was firmly in Oklahoma State’s camp until Dennis Johnson and Dave Aranda came around with an offer in January of 2019, right after LSU’s win over Central Floria in the Fiesta Bowl.

White got his offer January 12, visited Baton Rouge on the 26th and three days later he decommitted from Oklahoma State. White didn’t immediately pledge to LSU’s class though, and he would get offers from other SEC schools. Arkansas, Auburn and South Carolina were all competing for White as were the home state Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners.

It took one more visit to Baton Rouge for White to shut everything down. White went back to Baton Rouge unofficially in March and committed in April. Per his recruiting timeline on 247 he didn’t visit any other schools after pledging to LSU. White took his official visit to campus in December and signed a week later.

The Numbers

Five-stars (98-110 rating): The top 32 players in the country to mirror the 32 first round picks in the NFL Draft. These are 32 players that we believe are the most likely to be drafted in the first round from each recruiting class. The full list of 32 with five-star ratings typically isn’t complete until the final ranking. Any player with a rating of more than 100 is considered a “franchise player” and one that does not come around in every recruiting class.

Four-stars (90-97 rating): These are players that we believe are the most likely to produce college careers that get them drafted. By National Signing Day, this number is typically in the range of 350 prospects, roughly the top 10 percent of prospects in a given class.

Three-stars (80-89 rating): This is where the bulk of college football prospects are found and it incorporates a large range of ability levels, all of whom we consider as possible NFL players long term.

Two-stars (70-79 rating): These are prospects that we consider to be FBS-level players with very limited NFL potential.

247 Composite Ranking: ****
247 Composite Rating: .9362

The Film

Traditional off-the-line linebacker prospect who lacks ideal size but compensates with athleticism and production. Not overly tall or long and will need to add bulk in college on a somewhat limited frame. However, a potentially position-versatile linebacker who could play multiple schemes thanks to athleticism and instincts. Shows impressive downhill pursuit ability and a penchant for tracking plays to the perimeter with his speed. Diagnoses plays quickly and hunts the ball. Effective in the gap or pursuing to the perimeter. Often beats second-level blockers with athleticism and proper angles. Flashes consistent tackling technique and power. Arrives at the ball with a purpose. Can provide the big hit. Closing speed suggests intriguing potential as a blitzer. Accelerates and decelerates with relative ease. Plays too high at times and can improve pad level consistency. Usually a sound tackler but occasionally tackles at the shoulders. Athleticism and high motor can get him out of position occasionally, so he will need to harness his physical skills and aggressiveness. Needs more experience matching up with tight ends and backs in coverage, but owns the requisite athleticism to succeed there. Definite high-major talent who could be a multi-year power conference starter and perhaps own long-term NFL Draft ceiling thanks to athleticism and versatility.

Evaluation by 247’s Gabe Brooks

The Future

White’s one of my favorites of the class, and there’s a chance we could see him on the field in a serious capacity soon. Marcel Brooks is gone and while he may not have been a starting linebacker under Bo Pelini, he would have been on the field frequently and often; that role’s now up for grabs and White’s got a chance to seize that job. And even if doesn’t happen this year, remember Jabril Cox is a graduate transfer and Damone Clark is draft-eligible. If Clark lives up to Coach O’s lofty expectations then the door is open for White to start alongside classmate Antoine Sampah for the next two to three years.

High End: Two-year starter at the SAM linebacker spot, All-Conference selection and Day Two draft pick

Low End: Runs into similar problems as Marcel Brooks with regards to his weight and ends up as a tweener. White’s listed on LSU’s website at 215 pounds, which is heavier than Brooks ever weighed while he was in Baton Rouge. Still, White will need to tack on another 15 or 20 pounds to be an adequate size to play in the SEC.

Realistic: I really think this is a future starting linebacker for LSU. I’m excited about him and Sampah being classmates and pushing each other to be the best they can be.