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January 22, 2008When he landed at Butler County (Kan.) Community College after a short stint at Rutgers, Markus White didn't know what to expect.
He figured he'd have a tough time transitioning to life in Kansas and life playing on the junior college level. That transition turned out to be relatively easy, as White ravaged opposing offenses this season on his way to being named the NJCAA defensive player of the year.
White set a Butler school record and led the NJCAA with 26 quarterback sacks and also led the nation with six forced fumbles. He recorded 97 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss. For his efforts, White was also selected the Region VI defensive player of the year and earned first-team All-American, all-Jayhawk Conference and all-Region VI post-season honors.
He's also the newest and only junior college player in the updated Rivals.com Junior College Top 100 to move up from four stars to five stars.
"It's been a true blessing to land here at Butler," said White, 6-foot-4, 245-pound weakside defensive end that's blessed with 4.55-second speed and a 30-inch vertical leap.
"I came in here and didn't know what hard work was all about. But these coaches helped me learn how to work hard and keep pushing for my goals and dreams. I always knew I had the potential to be a great football player, but by coming here and playing here, I reached that potential."
White also credits his transformation to defensive line coach Steve Braet, who has three former players on NFL rosters and has coached 24 All-Americans.
"Markus is one of the best defensive players we've ever had here at Butler and was a main player in the best defense we've ever had here," Butler coach Troy Morrell said. "His ability to play the run and rush the quarterback is outstanding. He could take over and dominate a game at any point."
One opposing conference coach called White "the most dominating defensive players the Jayhawk Conference has seen in the past 10 years." That means a lot because the conference has seen some good ones like Reggie Nelson, who was taken last year in the first round of the NFL Draft after playing at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
White moves into the No. 3 spot overall just behind the nation's No. 1 player, defensive end Simi Kuli, and receiver Carl Moore at No. 2.
Another player making a nice move in the rankings was Jocques Crawford of Cicso (Texas) Community College. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound all-purpose back recently committed to Kansas, turning down offers from Ole Miss, New Mexico State, TCU, Tulsa, Arizona and others. He was named the NJCAA's offensive player of the year after rushing for 1,935 yards in only 10 games and is now ranked as the No. 16 player overall.
The overall ranking extends from the top 50 that was compiled earlier in the season. Much more film was gathered on players from California, Mississippi, Texas and Kansas, feedback was gathered from Rivals.com junior college recruiting analyst Brad Hoiseth and 50 more players were ranked in order by Rivals.com.