Before the start of each college football season, The Athletic's Bruce Feldman releases his "College Football Freak List," this year, he has a player that you wouldn't expect based on measurements alone — Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Squirrel White.
Named Marquarius Malik White at birth, he's listed at 5-foot-10 and just 165 pounds and is easily the lightest player on Feldman's list. He's also the only Tennessee representative on the list. He makes up for his size with his incredible speed in Josh Heupel's offense.
"Love the name," Feldman said. "Love the wheels. The 5-10, 165-pound sophomore, one of the fastest wide receivers in college football, is being counted on to fill former Vol blazer Jalin Hyatt's role of lethal slot man. White has been clocked at 23.4 miles per hour velocity on the Catapult system and also has vertical-jumped 40.6 inches."
As a freshman last season, White caught 30 passes for 481 yards (16 yards per reception) and two touchdowns across 12 games. In the Orange Bowl, he caught nine passes for 108 yards from Joe Milton after Hendon Hooker was lost for the season.
His best game yardage-wise came against Tennessee-Martin, where he caught five passes for 122 yards.
He was a four-star prospect ranked No. 150 overall per On3's rankings.
A Pinson, Alabama native, White chose Tennessee over offers from Georgia, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and more.
The Reason Behind Squirrel's Name
"When Hyatt opted out of the Orange Bowl, White had a season-high nine catches for 108 yards and one touchdown in the win over Clemson," Feldman continued. "And, no, Squirrel isn't his given name. It's Marquarius, but his great-grandmother called him 'Squirrel' as an infant after he moved simultaneously with a squirrel in her garden."
White is in a perfect position to excel this season with fellow wide receivers Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman now in the NFL. He'll compete with Dont'e Thompson for a role in the slot.
"Squirrel is a vibrant light on and off the field," Tennessee receivers coach Kelsey Pope told the Daily Beacon. "When he's around the guys, everybody lights up. When he's on the field, it's contagious. Everybody's willing to play hard. Seeing that personality, (him) showing the room has been awesome, man. Really good."
Pope also said White is "a little bit of a comedian."
Ending the season strong with Milton, White is off to a good start, with him headed into the season, too.
"He and Joe Milton were a new duo this summer," Pope said. "That was new to me but seeing him open up and be more talkative and his personality come out, that's only better for the rest of the room."
Everybody watch out for one of the best names in college football, Squirrel White.
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