2018 NFL Draft Sleeper: Mike White
The 2018 NFL combine kicks off from Indianapolis on February 27th. Ahead of that event, I’ll profile a few prospects that we haven’t touched on yet at RotoViz. Whether that’s due to injury, small school status, or a deep position group, it’s time to learn more about these prospects and their potential impact on NFL teams moving forward. First up is Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White.
White had to wait his turn to play QB at the University School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. With two future college QBs ahead of him, White didn’t get his shot until his senior year of high school but he certainly made the most of it. He passed for 2,201 yards and 22 touchdowns and led University School to a 13-0 season and a Florida 3A state championship. White was named first-team All-Boward County by the Miami Herald, the Boward County Player of the Year, and Florida 3A State Player of the Year. White was rated a three-star prospect by 247 Sports as a pro-style quarterback. He received offers from Florida A&M, Eastern Kentucky, and Marshall, before signing with the University of South Florida.
White got his feet wet early at South Florida, playing in six games and starting five as a true freshman in 2013. The team won only two games that year and the offense was anemic, averaging only 13.8 points per game. White’s three TD passes led the team, and he had only one receiver with over 500 receiving yards. Despite coach Willie Taggert being known for his offense, White could only manage a 53.1 completion percentage and an abysmal 4.2 adjusted yards per attempt (AYA).
2014 wasn’t much better for White as he started 10 games and increased his AYA to 6.1, but his completion percentage dropped to 50.4 percent. The Bulls managed four wins in 2014, and the offense crested 17 points per game but lacked big-play ability. Ahead of the 2015 season, Taggert informed White he was behind Quinton Flowers in the QB competition and would be allowed to transfer. White took the opportunity and ultimately decided on Western Kentucky.
White sat out the 2015 season per NCAA transfer rules. With incumbent QB Brandon Doughty graduating, White had a clean slate and won the QB competition. Under head coach Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky led the nation in scoring at 45.5 points per game and White flourished. His 4,363 passing yards were more than his entire tenure at USF, and his 37 TDs were eighth best in the NCAA, tied with Davis Webb. An AYA of 11.5 combined with a 67.3 percent completion percentage shows just how good White’s year was in 2016. However, Brohm left Western Kentucky for Purdue and Mike Sanford took over.
Without Brohm calling the shots and with leading receivers Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris lost to the NFL and graduation, White’s 2017 production suffered. Despite attempting almost 150 more passes, White’s TDs dropped to 26 and his AYA plummeted to 7.7. That’s still solid, but 2016 is the notable outlier when viewing his career. White did eclipse 4,000 yards again and kept his completion percentage up, only dropping slightly from 67 to 66 percent.
White caught the attention of area scouts and received an invite to the Senior Bowl. He measured 6-foot-4 and weighed 221 pounds with a hand size of nine and seven-eighths inches. He started the game for the South team and completed eight of 11 passes for 128 yards and a score. NFL Draft Scout currently ranks White as the No. 7 QB with a projected draft range of the second or third round. NFL.com’s Mike Mayock also has White outside his top-five QBs.
Next up for White is the NFL combine where he will once again be measured. I wouldn’t expect any major changes, and he already has the height and weight most traditional evaluators want in a QB prospect. We will get velocity data for White at the combine, which is an important factor for QB evaluation when using RotoDoc’s QB model. White was an All-American pitcher in high school with a fastball in the 90 mph range, so it would be surprising if he struggles in that area.
Combined with his final year AYA of 7.7, White has a nice foundation for success in the model though we are missing two big inputs currently, draft position and film grade. Despite NFL Draft Scout’s Round 2 or 3 projection, other mock drafts have White going on Day 3. If he throws well in Indianapolis, his stock could easily rise in this deep QB class.