Those are track numbers. Here are the pertinent football numbers: 46 catches, 1,126 yards and 16 touchdowns. That’s a road runner-ish 24.5 yards per catch for a slot receiver.
The 247Sports Composite rating lists him as the nation’s No. 68 WR and the No. 528 overall recruit in the land. Yet there’s some definite Ladd McConkey, Jackson Meeks and AD Mitchell vibes to his game.
Auburn wanted him. White felt that wasn’t a great fit. Alabama was only going to take one slot receiver this cycle. That staff went back for thirds and fourths of All-American wideouts in the 2021 cycle.
White will note his height and weight at 5 feet, 10 inches and 160 pounds. That’s basically about an inch shorter and a green bean of a step ahead of what McConkey looked like in high school.
The Bulldogs hosted him on an official this past weekend for the Charleston Southern game. It was his second game day visit. White was also in town for the Arkansas game.
White told DawgNation he has taken officials to three other schools but is down to Georgia and Tennessee. That decision, he said, is currently “50-50″ between those schools. He had taken his other officials to Louisville, Virginia Tech and Tennessee.
As of now, he will not need to take any more visits.
White knows he has a decision to make up ahead, but will not make it until after his senior season. His Clay-Chalkville Cougars are alive in the semifinals of the Alabama High School Association Class 6A state playoffs this week.
He will look to graduate early in December and enroll at the school of his choice in January.
It is a storyteller’s delight to rattle off all the football helpings, track trimmings and the recruiting stuffing of this story and then realize the following: Folks are going to have a hard time remembering any of that stuff first when it comes to White.
His nickname is “Squirrel” and everyone calls him that. Coaches. Peers. Teachers. Teammates.
“For the longest time, I didn’t know his name was Marquarius,” Gilmer said. “I thought his name was really ‘Squirrel’ because that’s all anyone ever calls him. His Mom works at the Home Depot down by my house. I see his Mom all the time. She calls him ‘Squirrel’ all the time. I thought that was his name for a long time.”
What’s even better than that? That “Squirrel” nickname has nothing to do with his speed.
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Marquarius White: Where does “Squirrel” come from?
The genesis of that nickname is a good one.
“It comes from my great-grandma actually,” White said. “When I was a little baby, she was holding me. She just named me that.”
Nobody else in his family has a nickname that belongs in the next Disney movie about football.
“She had seen a squirrel out in her garden,” White said. “When the squirrel moved, she said I moved at the same time. Or my head would move.”
Is that serious?
“Yeah, man,” he said. “That’s for real.”
Clay-Chalkville actually has had a play called “Squirrel” in its playbook. It was a reverse.
When White links up with a sweet NIL deal, he can thank his great-grandmother Annie Mitchell for that.
“Squirrel” will be the first member of his family to play college football. He said his mother, Shatonja Mitchell, is his inspiration.
“I do all of this for her,” he said. “I want to make her life better than it is now.”
She does get called “Squirrel’s Mom” from time to time around her community. It looks like the Bulldogs have already made some inroads with the family, including his younger sister Makayiah Love
“My little sister is already actually a big Georgia fan,” he said. “My Mom likes Georgia already a lot, too.”
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Marquarius "Squirrel" White is a speedy 3-star WR in the class of 2022. He is currently committed to Tennessee.
How does “Squirrel” White feel about Georgia?
White had a great time in Athens. The Bulldogs have clearly sparked his interest. He was hosted by native Alabamians Jackson Meeks and George Pickens on his official visit to UGA.
“I feel good about Georgia,” he said. “I really liked the visit. I really loved the game. I love how coach Smart coaches. I love him as a person, too. I love Coach [Cortez] Hankton, too.”
What is he hearing from Georgia now?
“They say I definitely have a spot,” White said. “They say they need me and they want me.”
What does that mean to his recruitment?
“I’m not sure yet,” he said. “I am going to have to see after the season.”
Will this be a tough decision?
“I don’t know if it is going to be tough or not,” he said.
Hankton offered him back on April 22. When did things get really started with Georgia?
“They have been recruiting me for a long time,” White said. “I finally got to go up there to check them out and stuff. I fell in love with their offense, too. They run a Pro-Style offense that NFL teams run.”
What does he like best about the Bulldogs?
“The coaching staff really,” he said. “They are cool. The players there are, too.”
“Squirrel” said Todd Monken gave him a player parallel.
“Their O.C. coach said he was comparing me to DeSean Jackson,” he said. “He said I could come there and be just like that in his offense.”
White said he can’t really break down the pros and cons of each school.
“I feel like they really can’t be compared to me in my mind,” White said. “I guess. I just know I really like Georgia a lot.”
He initially chose the Vols over Louisville. What keeps him committed to the Vols at this time?
“I really just like them rebuilding and I like their offense a lot,” he said. “I like their coaching staff and the players that are already committed there.”
The Vols have the nation’s No. 27 recruiting class at this time. That’s ninth overall in the SEC. They currently have a pair of 4-star recruits and three players ranked among the nation’s top 400 recruits.
The Bulldogs have 18 players in their class rated among the nation’s top 400 prospects. It will include 17 recruits with a 4 or 5-star rating.
Those coaches in Knoxville are aware of his interest in UGA.
“They have been blowing my phone up,” White said.
Marquarius "Squirrel" White said he is now down to Georgia and Tennessee and the race is "50-50" at this time. (Instagram)
Squirrel White: How can he help Georgia?
The Bulldogs like his playmaking ability.
“They just like him for how they can move him all over their offense,” Gilmer said. “He’s a mismatch in the slot on any safety. He’s what you are looking for with these offenses. You have to have guys who can stretch the field vertically. And you also want that guy where you don’t have to do everything right to create a big play. Just get him the ball in space and he can make you look really good.”
White doesn’t drop passes. He can change his direction and be back to full speed within two steps. When “Squirrel” gets loose, nobody can catch him. Not even a hungry Ben Cleveland.
It is a contrast. White came into high school as the skinniest of ninth graders.
“I was thinking I hope nobody kills him at practice,” Gilmer said. “Because if somebody hits him real hard, he might disintegrate.”
But he started to gather up a play here and there. Like, um, he was storing them away in his coach’s mind. He has always caught the ball naturally. When he was a rising sophomore, he showed a little more.
White flashed the speed but was always fighting his body. He was growing but was always dealing with a nagging injury like his hamstring.
“Then we go into his junior year and we are like ‘Where did this kid come from?’ because he got so much better so fast,” Gilmer said. “We knew he was fast, but we did not know he was that special and that elite. Real elite. You watch him in tenth grade, if you blew at him hard enough you might knock him over. But then we get to his junior year, we’d throw him a perimeter screen, he breaks three of four tackles and is gone. We were like ‘Where did all this power come from?’ with that kid.”
There was a ball he caught in his junior year in a one-score ballgame.
“We throw a little RPO slant to him over the middle,” Gilmer said. “Our QB sailed it a little high on him. Man, he runs that freaking slant and it is like a deer leaping over the fence. He leaps up, snatches it out of the air and when he hit the ground I swear he was back to full speed within his first step. He took it like 70 for the score. You were like there is nobody else in this state that can do this or what he just did.”
Check out that play below.
From that point on, he had a significant confidence boost. He became the DUDE on the Clay-Chalkville team. He was that guy who could score from anywhere on the field at any given time.
“He does return kicks for us,” Gilmer said. “Well, I say that, but he returned kicks for us until they kicked it to him a couple of times and he took those back for touchdowns. They don’t do that to him anymore.”
Gilmer thought back to the last three times anyone kicked off to him. Those all went back for scores, he said.
Here’s his junior film.
White also has a midseason highlight film for his senior year.
Gilmer said he is a quiet and a good kid. He described him as the type of kid that kids want to gravitate around.
White rips off every single route in practice at full speed. Nobody has ever had to tell him that.
“Phenomenal effort player,” Gilmer said. “He’s also willing to be coached very hard. He can take it, makes the adjustment and is better for it and he moves on. He makes our team better just by the example he sets and not all the plays he makes. He shows everybody the right way to do it.”
But that nickname might not best describe his style of play.
“His game is more of a deer or a cheetah than it is a squirrel,” Gilmer said. “He’s not going to be a Jalen Waddle-type guy in the fact of he’s not going to make a thousand cuts and then go. He’s going to make one or two cuts and then he is gone. That, to me, is what is dangerous about him. He can make a little subtle movement but to the defender, it is such a big movement with the speed it is executed at. He can give you a head nod and guys will fall down. Because of the speed of the way he can do it and the way he attacks them.”
Catch the ball. Get vertical. Go. That’s the way “Squirrel” goes beserk for Clay-Chalkville High School in Alabama.
There is another decision coming here. It will either be an affirmation. Or a reversal.
“I’m probably going to make a decision after my season ends,” he said. “I’m going to be thinking about it over the next few weeks and this week.”
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