Coaches: Levonte Whitfield an impact guy


Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield (Orlando, Fla./Jones) had plenty of big-name offers before choosing Florida State on Monday morning.

The scrutiny and attention of being a four-star prospect inside the ESPN 150 often gets to most, but the 5-foot-9, 176-pound athlete handled it in stride as best he could. And when he needed someone to turn to, his high school head coach, Kenard Lang, was there to help him.

"He might ask me a few questions here and there, but he has handled it real well," Lang said. "I just tried to give him my input and my advice and what I went through, my advice and those kind of things. I think he handled everything real well."

Now that his prized playmaker has his recruitment out of the way, Lang is excited to have Whitfield's full attention on his team, understandably. Not many players have the track speed that he does.

One big play, Lang says, is enough to energize any team. Even at Florida State when he takes the field as a Seminole.

"He brings a lot of energy," Lang said. "He can just energize your whole team when he explodes for a big play. Everything everybody knows about him is that he is fast. He has great hips, good vision and he loves a challenge.

"His vision, he has real good vision. He makes cutbacks and makes things happen."

Those kind of attributes were on display in July at Brice Ramsey's favorite targets, consistently exploited space in opponents' defenses en route to a tournament championship. He broke off long touchdown plays against other top prospects alluding to the possibility of having the same success at the college level.

"When Levonte Whitfield made that triple-pump slant and took it 80 yards, that was pretty freaky because Kendall Fuller was right on his heels and he can motor," said Chris Gizzi, a former star linebacker for Air Force and the Green Bay Packers. "It was crazy."

Because of his size, Whitfield is limited, sure. He'd probably say as much.

His value doesn't lie in catching fades inside the red zone of delivering punishing blocks on the perimeter. Coaches have to find ways to use him.

That responsibility will fall to Florida State head coach and play caller Jimbo Fisher.

"The way you get the most out of players is putting them in the best position to succeed," Lang explained. "They will need to put him in the best position to succeed. It would be good to put him in a position to get him one-on-one with a defender.

"He reminds me of the same mold of a Chris Rainey, Percy Harvin or Onterio McCalebb at Auburn."

Whitfield joins 2012 signees Marvin Bracy and Ronald Darby as two-sport athletes that will also run track at Florida State.