Markus White burst onto the scene last year at Butler County Junior College after he had a nation-leading 24.5 sacks. His dominating performance helped lead Butler to the championship, and it landed White the honor of being the Player of the Year on the JUCO level. After failing to qualify out of high school, White opened up his recruitment last fall before eventually committing to Florida State. For Markus, having to go the unconvenontial route has given him an extra motivation to succeed when he comes to FSU in a month.
"I'm ready. I am feeling really anxious and I cannot wait to get there (to Florida State). I am so excited, man. I get a little break when I go home. I leave here Saturday and then I will be home for about a month. I wish I could get there now, but I'm just taking it day by day. I wanted to come for the 1st summer session, but I am still here. I really wanted to come for the spring, but I had things I had to take care of here. I don't need that much time at home, but I'll just be staying on the grind."
"I am really motivated to get there because I want to show out for FSU and help bring them back. I sat here last season seeing some of the guys I used to play against doing what I wanted (playing Division 1), but they took care of business in high school. I compare myself to those people and I'm just focused on getting better every day. I had to go through all this and now it gives me motivation. While I wasn't highly recruited in high school, going this route provided me with the dream scenario of going to THE dream school. I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason."
With the suspensions and lack of quality depth at the defensive end position, Markus is looking to come in and contribute right away. He doesn't expect to redshirt, as the coaches have told him they expect him to come in ready to go. That shot is what White wanted, and he says the coaches have stayed on him since he signed to make sure he makes it to FSU in June.
"I haven't spoken to Coach Allen in a bit, but now I talk to Bob LaCavita once a week now. He just has been checking up on me making sure I am taking care of business. School is taken care of now, and now he is telling me what I have to look forward to when I get there in June. With how hard they recruited me I know they need me to come in and help them right away. With the suspensions I know they need me to be ready for those three games, but I am looking at it as though they are going help me get better. I am going to make a statement and prove this is where I should be. I want to come in and lock in a starting defensive end spot. I am coming to play."
One aspect many JUCO players face is the transitions with the level of play on the Division 1 level. Being a JUCO star doesn't always mean these players do well at the next level, but there is nothing showing that White won't be one of those who fail.
"I think I can do it. I've been working everyday since the season ended. I work my tail off in the gym, and now that I haven't had football that is where I spend a lot of time. I want it. I am expecting that the level of play is going to be better. I know the linemen are going to be bigger, stronger and faster. That is what I am trying to do, too. Once I get into the strength and conditioning program at FSU, I think I will get to where I need to be. I too will get bigger, stronger and faster. My strength is what I have been really working on. I am up to 255 pounds now and I am in the best shape of my life. I am ready for the challenge and I am going to battle through it."
"I know both Toddrick and Paul have been injured some, but when they've been on the field they have done well. They were here before me and I knew about them from my coaches. My position coach loves Paul and I got a chance to meet them on my official. They are doing what I want to be doing."
"Coming in I expect to learn. You have guys like Everette Brown who I can learn from there. He looked really good last year and I think he can show me some things, whereas I think I can show him some things. I think we will be able to help each other out. You have guys like Neefy (Moffett) who can really go when he wants. I don't think there are going to be any problems and I think I am going to fit in well there. If I come in and have half the sacks I had last year I think it'll be a good year. I want to be the best I can be and do as good as I can."
Markus is very happy to be coming back to Florida to play his college ball. Growing up he wanted to play at FSU, and it is something he and his family are eagerly anticipating. While football has gotten him there, Markus is just as focused on his academics as he is football.
"I get asked all the time if I am going to be a guy who plays one year at FSU then goes pro. If one year there can make me that good, then maybe I will think about it. But I have a lot of improving to do to even think about getting to that level. Also, I really want to earn my degree and I am looking at education as much as football. I want to finish this thing off and work hard and put the work in. I will be at FSU at least a few years."
"My dad is my biggest fan and he is going to follow me wherever I go. He inspired me to go the JUCO route and helped me pick up my head after I didn't initially qualify. He's got my back and I really appreciate that. My mom doesn't really know as much about the sport like my dad does, but they are a motivating force for me and I am doing this for them. I have to ball out for FSU and my family."
Florida State needs Markus to come in and be the pass rusher they have been lacking for some time. With White and Brown on opposite sides of each other, the Seminoles will have the best tandem of ends they've had since the dynasty era. The impact White could bring is huge, and he is ready to come in and help FSU get back to the elite of college football. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Markus and the rest of the 2008 signees.