MOBILE, Ala. — Mike White’s favorite quarterback is Tom Brady.
But we can forgive White for the moment, and yes, even if he ends up as a draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, because the Dolphins are his team as a native of Pembroke Pines and former star at University School in Fort Lauderdale.
“I want to play for the Dolphins,” White clarified, during a break at the Senior Bowl last week.
The Dolphins need to add a young quarterbacks to their stable, whether it’s a first-rounder like Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen, or a projected mid-rounder like White.
White had an excellent week of Senior Bowl practice and and excellent Senior Bowl game, and in a very, very deep quarterback draft class, he’s the kind of quarterback coach Adam Gase could view as an excellent developmental player.
Now, this is where it could get a bit awkward, if that actually happens.
White began his college career at USF, but transferred to Western Kentucky, at the recommendation of friend Brandon Doughty. Yes, the Doughty who plays quarterback now for the Dolphins and was a former 7th-round pick out of Western Kentucky.
Doughty and White are two of the greatest quarterbacks in Hilltoppers history and White succeeded Doughty after sitting out behind him following the transfer. So would it be difficult if he ended up competing with Doughty for say, a Dolphins roster spot?
“It would be different,” White said. “But first and foremost I would be shell-shocked. Because growing up a Miami Dolphins fan and being able to put those colors would be awesome. I know my grandfather would be at every single open practice. At the end of the day we’re both professionals. By no means would it be anything besides just competing. And pushing each other to get better. At the end of the day we’re winners and we want to win whether that’s Brandon or myself or Ryan Tannehill. We just want to win and I’m sure that would be the priority between us.”
White is now a resident of Boca Raton, training in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s a bit of a sleeper, but has all the physical attributes required and thus the sleeper tag has sort of been wearing off the more NFL teams closely study him.
White is 6-feet-4, 221 pounds, and as important, he posted 63 touchdowns, 15 interceptions with 66.4 percent completions and a passer rating of 158.1 at Western Kentucky.
“My strength is just throwing the ball,” White said. “Everything that comes with being a passer. Accuracy. Arm strength. Decision making. Being able to sit in the pocket and stare down the barrel of a gun and still deliver a ball. Whether that’s taking a couple of shots or making some subtle movements.”
White’s arm strength can be traced to his days as a dominant pitcher at University. White was a high-school All-American with a 90 mile-per-hour fastball, a 9-2 record and 0.43 earned run average. Many felt his future was in baseball.
One of the most intriguing things about White is his late-bloomer status.
“I played baseball since I was 2 years old, all the way through high school and never really got into football seriously as a quarterback until high school,” White said. “And I didn’t get to play until my senior year. So I had one year of film, really. I didn’t have any junior film. So it was hard to get recruited because nobody had any film to base it off of.”
After two seasons at USF, former coach Willie Taggert went to a spread-option offense and so he transferred to Western after discussing the matter with Doughty.
“We had known each other, worked with the same QB coach (Ken Mastrole), from the same area,” White said. “And he reached out to me and said we might have an opening. It was perfect timing because I had to sit out during his last year. So when he left I kind of got the chance to step in and play for two years. And it turned out to be one of the better decisions I’ve made.”
According to a scouting report on NFL.com, White has “arm talent” and “accuracy” and “throws a catchable ball.” On the downside, the report indicates White can have a tendency to drop his eyes under pressure and was responsible for some sacks.
White says he’s continued to work on his footwork. Though he’s played in three different offensive schemes in four seasons, he views that as a strength.
“I was happy to be able to put so many offenses in my tool belt and kind of use that to help me at the next level,” White said.
White said many of his high school-aged friends are playing minor league baseball. But he is fully committed to football.
“Baseball is dead to me right now,” White said. “I’m living the dream with football. All my guys that are in the minors text me about the bus rides and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I’m like, ‘Well I’m hanging out in Mobile, Alabama, eating shrimp and grits and pork tenderloins. Just kind of hanging with the NFL guys.’ So they can have the bus rides and I’m going to ride this football thing out.”