Los Angeles Preps: Torian White
The saga of Crenshaw High's De'Anthony Thomas stole most of the headlines on signing day Wednesday, but the recruitment of Lakewood offensive lineman Torian White was a fascinating story to follow in its own right.
In a nutshell, White went from being a strong UCLA commit, to shocking everyone by picking USC during a made-for-TV event, to ultimately signing with UCLA by day's end.
But it was hardly that simple. And the agony and emotional pain White endured began long before the whirlwind of events that took place Tuesday and Wednesday.
As a junior, White had a sports hernia and sat out the season. In the world of recruiting, that’s usually a death sentence. The way recruiting has been sped up the last five years, players are offered scholarships almost solely on junior-season performance as well as summer camps. What a player does as a senior has completely been minimized with players jumping on early scholarship offers and coaches just not having time to evaluate players who are not already on their radar.
White attended UCLA’s lineman camp last summer and so impressed that he was immediately offered a scholarship and accepted. He then went out and had a dominant senior year and other schools soon took notice. One of those schools was USC and the Trojans made White a priority.
“[USC coach] Lane Kiffin called me during the season and said he watched Torian’s first five games and he was the best lineman he had seen in the state this year,” Lakewood coach Thadd MacNeal said. “I’ve known Lane forever, so I know he wasn’t just B.S.-ing me. Coach O [Ed Orgeron] called me too and said, ‘Thadd, we got to have this kid, he needs to be a Trojan.’
“I talked to the family and they said they were solid with UCLA but were open to being recruited by other schools. Torian wanted to take his visits and make sure he was doing the right thing. He committed so early that he wanted to make sure he was doing the right thing and making the right choice for himself.”
ATH Marqise Lee (Gardena, Calif./Serra) -- USC, Oregon, Miami, Cal, UCLA
Lee has been a strong lean to USC for weeks now and that's where the smart money should be. Oregon and Miami are still pushing hard, Cal hasn't given up and Lee took an unofficial visit to UCLA on Sunday and reportedly clicked very well with new OC and WR coach Mike Johnson. Lee will announce at noon PT on Fox Sports West.
WR Devin Lucien (Encino, Calif./Crespi) -- Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, Utah, Miami
Lucien could go several different directions and the only surprise would be if he picked Utah, since he has never visited the campus. UCLA was thought to be the early favorite but ASU and Colorado are right there at the top as well. Lucien is looking to play early and the depth chart at Colorado is wide open. The coaches at ASU have been relentless and his visit to Miami might have been his favorite. Lucien will announce at 3 p.m. PT.
DB Ryan Henderson (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) -- Utah, USC
Henderson committed early to Utah but took an official visit to USC a few weeks ago and was blown away by the Trojans. USC was Henderson's dream school growing up, it's close to home and it's where his family wants him. The corner enjoyed his visit to Utah but look for him to sign with the Trojans.