For the first time in over a decade, a JUCO player signed with Georgia Tech in this class. Kenderius Whitehead committed to play on the Flats February 2, 2014, very late in the recruiting period, only a few days before National Signing Day. The 6'5", 225 pound defensive end hails from Martin Luther King High School in Lithonia, GA, by NC State University, by Georgia Military College. Yes, this is Whitehead's third college after starting with NC State and transferring to GMC. After redshirting his freshman year in Raleigh, he decided to transfer to the Junior College in Milledgeville, GA to earn his associate's degree. With that degree being completed this spring, he wanted to transfer, and Georgia Tech was able to accept his transfer largely based on his pending degree. The defensive end was a highly-ranked player in the state of Georgia as a senior in high school, when he signed with NC State over uga and Clemson. Now, he signs with Georgia Tech over West Virginia and Marshall.
Whitehead's film shows that he's big, he's fast and he's vicious. Or, at least, he was as a junior in high school. No, I could not find any highlights of him that I could embed here. However, I did find highlights from his season at Georgia Military College, found on Hudl here. If you watch them, they'll confirm that he's still very fast. Whitehead is oftentimes able to run down guys that, at his size compared to theirs, he has no business catching. He's very much an edge rusher, using his speed to get around tackles more often than he tries to plow through them. Even with his speed though, he's in control, demonstrating the awareness needed to shift gears and bring down a ball carrier on a running play. His long arms really work in his favor too, where he does a nice job of latching on to ball carriers and taking them down by himself.
By some miracle of loopholes in the rule book, even with two seasons at two different colleges in two different divisions, Whitehead comes to Georgia Tech classified as a redshirt sophomore, with three seasons of eligibility. (Actually, after redshirting as a true freshman at NCSU, he transferred down in divisions to a JUCO, making him eligible to play immediately as a redshirt freshman. Upon receiving a degree, he'll then be eligible to transfer again and play immediately. It's a pretty unique situation if you ask me.) Whitehead stands to compete for the starting WDE job (vacated by Jeremiah Attaochu's graduation) right off the bat, and whether he wins it or not he should see playing time immediately. Not having a redshirt opportunity changes his playing time situation somewhat, but so does his experience of playing at the college level and two years of development over the other defensive ends in the class. Expect Whitehead to be a package guy at the very least this fall, and don't be surprised if he's starting when toe meets leather. It should also be mentioned that this diagnosis goes for the rest of his time at Georgia Tech. It's very possible that he could be a three-year starter at DE.
Whitehead is rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals (5.7 in high school, 5.5 out of GMC) and the 247Sports Composite (.8322).
Is Whitehead the best DE in this class? A guy you want starting right away? How does his potential compare to the other DE signees in your book?