Brady White once played football with his hand in the dirt, spending an entire season dishing out blocks. There's no record of how many pancakes he served up while manning the offensive front, but it was his first home on the football field.
"The coaches put me on the line, and I did what I was told," White said.
His career as an offensive lineman came to a screeching halt at the age of 6 when he transitioned to quarterback. Unfortunately for a long list of Southern California defenders, White has remained at the position for more than a decade.
"Quarterback is exactly where I wanted to be from the beginning," he said. "I wanted to be the guy who leads the offense and has a big impact on the game. I was blessed with the ability to sling the ball at a young age, and I've worked to get better year after year. I take pride in that."
White, a 17-year-old rising senior at Hart High School in Los Angeles County, is among the most coveted quarterback recruits in the country. He's also one of several standout passers in his home state, setting the stage for budding rivalries now and in the future.
"People will probably measure us up against each other for a long time," White said.
They already are.
White is rated third nationally among pro-style passers, behind only Josh Rosen (Bellflower, California) and Ricky Town (Ventura, California), respectively. The 4-star prospect is a consensus top 100 overall player in the 2015 recruiting class.
"I've always had confidence in my abilities and thought I could become a national recruit," White said. "I just didn't realize I'd be rated so high."
He earned attention after taking over the Indians' starting job as a sophomore.
White led Hart to the quarterfinals of the Southern California sectional playoffs, completing 67 percent of his pass attempts for 2,575 yards and 23 touchdowns. Thrust into a pivotal position for a playoff contender, he quickly learned what it would take to be a successful leader.
"I've always felt like I've been ahead of the curve mentally, but the 2012 season really kicked me into gear," White recalled. "I realized you've got to bust your butt every week, every day."
The journey toward stardom started long before White took his first snap as a varsity athlete.
He began training with renowned quarterback guru Steve Clarkson in middle school. The former Woodrow Wilson High School (Los Angeles) and San Jose State star has tutored a long list of successful collegiate passers, including Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow and Gino Torretta.
Clarkson shared an assessment of White's skill set on his website.
One look at Brady White and there is no doubt that he reminds you of what the great quarterbacks of the past were made of. Brady brings a perfect hybrid of old school flare with modern day play making ability. Brady was born to impress...with a release like Joe Namath, and pocket presence like Aaron Rodgers, you will be hearing his name for years to come.
College recruiters began hearing his name during the breakout sophomore campaign. He received his first piece of mail from Oregon State and reacted how most 15-year-old kids would.
"I was pumped, took a picture of it and shared it online with all my buddies," White said. "Knowing what I know now, I look back and realize it wasn't a huge deal. At the time I was like a kid in a candy shop."
Letters from schools quickly became commonplace as interest mounted. He began to see the writing on the wall—playing quarterback at the next level was a legitimate possibility.
"Colleges started coming by to see me," White said. "Hand-written letters from coaches also began arriving and those are the most meaningful pieces of mail."
Despite the growing sense of a looming scholarship offer, he arrived at summer break 2013 empty-handed. Meanwhile, California quarterback contemporaries Town and Rosen were already racking up offers.
"Things moved a little slower than I expected," White admitted.
So he set out to change the course of his recruitment by doing what White describes as "all the self-promotion stuff." He attended camps and went on an expansive tour of college campuses.
His first offer finally arrived that summer. San Jose State pulled the trigger during a passing tournament.
"I was ecstatic," White said. "I thought, 'Ok, there's the first one. Now the ball is going to start rolling.' But I didn't think there was going to be a ton more."
Several schools followed suit during the course of his junior season. From the start of his second campaign as a starting quarterback, it was apparent White belonged among America's best recruits.
He outdueled fellow 4-star prospect Blake Barnett in the 2013 opener against Santiago High School. White was 35-of-46 for 471 yards and three touchdowns while adding two more scores on the ground in a 56-49 victory.
Barnett, who spent seven months committed to Notre Dame before backing out of the verbal pact in June, also impressed with six touchdowns. The two square off again Sept. 26 in a rematch that should attract plenty of attention.
"Reporters are definitely going to make a big deal about the matchup and compare everything we do," White said. "They'll try to make it out to be me versus Blake. I can't worry about that stuff. At the end of the day, you judge a quarterback by the win column."
White torched opponents for at least 300 yards passing in half of the team's 12 games last fall. He finished the year with 4,535 passing yards and 50 total touchdowns. Offers began to arrive in bunches.
By mid-spring, teams from across the country were clamoring for his commitment. Tennessee, Oregon, Kentucky, Penn State, Illinois and Louisville were just a few of the programs that threw their hat into the ring.
Just as things were really heating up, White decided it was time to focus on finding the right fit.
Following an early April visit to Arizona State, he moved the Sun Devils to the top of his short list of favorites. Fellow Pac-12 members Cal and Oregon were also in the mix, along with Penn State.
UCLA and USC—nearby squads searching for a quarterback in the 2015 class—never truly entered the equation.
"UCLA pretty much disrespected me," White said. "They offered a lot of quarterbacks in the class and didn't pay much attention to me so that wasn't a place I really looked at."
The Bruins landed Rosen in late March.
White established a rapport with Steve Sarkisian and his staff at Washington, so when USC hired the head coach he thought the Trojans could come calling.
"It would have been awesome to have USC offer when the new coaching staff came in, but they weren't showing me much love," he said.
Sarkisian secured a commitment from Town in January, flipping the 5-star quarterback from his original pledge to Alabama.
By the time May rolled around, White decided he'd done enough research to make his decision. After another visit to Arizona State, the Sun Devils were the clear choice, and he went public on May 2.
"When I reviewed everything, ASU stood out in all aspects," White said. "The coaching staff is doing amazing things, I love the city of Tempe and I'm going to get a quality education. I can see myself enjoying school and life there even if things don't pan out with football."
There's also the matter of him leading the Sun Devils against a pair of his hometown teams. It's a safe bet White will be circling dates with UCLA and USC on his calendar.
"There's no doubt they will be meaningful games," he said. "I want to put up stats and points on them but it's not to make them jealous. It's all about getting a win for the Sun Devils."
White understands comparisons with Rosen and Town won't end in high school. He expects the hype will be in full force whenever they meet in college.
"When we play each other, the media will make it out to be a quarterback battle and try to build up a rivalry part of it," White said. "But Rosen and Town will be playing the Sun Devils defense, I'll be facing the Bruins and Trojans defense. Sure, there's going to be talk about a rivalry but my only concern is trying to get our team a win."
He hopes to get a head start toward those victories by leaning toward early enrollment. Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly has started 27 games and departs after his senior season, opening the door for a group inexperienced passers to replace him.
"It's crucial for me to enroll early if I want to potentially be the starter," White said. "The competition is going to be fun. We're each going to get after it. I'm going in there swinging, and hopefully I'll earn the respect of my teammates. Starting as a freshman would be a dream come true."
Continued physical maturation will build a stronger case for his ability to weather the storm as a starting quarterback in Tempe. White, who was 6'1", 170 pounds at the end of his sophomore season, is now 6'2" and approaching 190 pounds.
Less than a year after he was waiting for the recruitment to really get rolling, White has reached a different phase of the process. He is fully committed to Arizona State, though other programs haven't completely called off their pursuit.
"It's cooled down, but schools still stop by and reach out to make sure I know they're still interested," White said. "They tell me to keep in touch. But I'm a Sun Devil now and couldn't be happier about that."
Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R college football recruiting columnist Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.
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