BYU Eyes Hard-hitting Hunter

The Mountain West Champion BYU Cougars are giving a southern California defensive back another look with just over two months to go until signing day. Hunter White used an outstanding senior campaign to remind Division I coaches around the west that he can still play and that he is good enough to come into a program and contribute.

Yesterday, Edison High School three-sport athlete and two-way football starter Hunter White received a call from BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi. To his pleasant surprise, the Cougars have refocused their attention on him. White was named to the Register's All-Orange County football team as a junior and is following up his junior season performance with another All-Orange County performance.

"I talked to Coach Kaufusi," said White. "He said they were kind of looking at corners and I'm not really a corner, but he saw my film and really liked it and gave me a call. He told me he was going to talk to the head coach and see what he can do, because he told me that I could definitely play for them, and I really like BYU so that would be pretty awesome.

"We were talking a lot awhile ago, but we haven't really touched bases for awhile, and when Coach Kaufusi called me it really got me fired up. I told him that I've already been offered trips to Colorado State, Boise State and a couple of other schools. He kind of jumped up and said that he wanted to get back to me and to be sure to hold a date. He didn't set up a date for me but he did sound like he wanted me to trip."

White is being recruited by many schools within the Mountain West Conference, WAC, and Pac-10.

"I'm being recruited by Colorado State, Boise State, Nevada, Arizona, Washington State," said White. "Utah was one of those schools that were recruiting me hard, but I haven't really touched bases with them in awhile. Colorado State told me they would offer me when I go up on my trip. Utah State has already offered me and so did Idaho State, but their coaches just got fired so I don't know what's going to happen with that. Boise State hasn't offered me yet but I go up on a trip there on January 12th."

With White's senior season stats, it is no wonder D-I schools including BYU have taken notice once again.

"I'm 5-11 and 205 pounds," said White. "I had 58 catches on offense for 1,003 yards (17.29 yards per catch and 83.6 yards per game average). I had 10 touchdowns receiving. I also have two rushing touchdowns on offense."

On the defensive side of the ball, White put up some impressive numbers as well.

"On defense I have five sacks, two picks for touchdowns, two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, and I think I have 88 total tackles," White said.

His four scores on defense bring his touchdown total to16 total. White also posted a 300 max bench and squatted 400 pounds. He posted a 28-inch vertical leap with a 4.1 second shuttle. His SPARQ rating was 71.3 at a previous camp he did attend.

"Last year I was second team all-state as a multi-purpose athlete," White said. "I was first team all-county as a linebacker. I was also the defensive player of the year in the Sunset League as a junior. During my sophomore year I was second team all-state."

The state and local honors for California athletes come out next week, so White does not know if he will receive any accolades a senior. Given his stats, however, he is sure to receive some recognition for football, which is just one sport he plays at Edison.

"I also play basketball – I play guard – and I play baseball," White said. "Basketball is kind of my third sport and baseball is probably my second best sport. I was on varsity since my sophomore year. Last year I got hurt at the end of football season so I wasn't fortunate enough to play basketball last year, but I did come back in time for baseball."

Last summer, White came down to BYU's summer camp but was not able to participate due to a groin injury he suffered prior to the camp. Despite the injury, something completely unexpected happened to White that really endeared the Cougar coaching staff to him.

"I pulled my groin and was devastated about that," said White. "I really wanted to show what I got for the coaches. Coach Kaufusi is just awesome and while I was on my summer trip he took me and showed me around, and then Coach Mendenhall actually took time away from his camp and walked me up to his office and talked to me one on one for about fifteen minutes."

BYU coaches made White feel comfortable and important while visiting their campus, even though he could not prove his skill on the field..

"He ran me through the locker room, showed me a bunch of stuff and I was shocked by that. I wasn't expecting that. I was injured and couldn't participate in the camp but they still took the time out for me and that was just really awesome."

Along with his overall experience and feeling the environment and expectations of BYU fit his character, White also has taken an additional interest in BYU because his best friend, BYU defensive tackle Romney Fuga, currently plays on the team.

"It would be great because I'm really good friends with Romney, and we played together in high school," said White. ""I just really like BYU because, like I said, I went up on a trip to a camp there over the summer and visited the school. I just fell in love with the place and the area is awesome. It a really prestigious school, and I think I would really fit in well there. I'm not LDS but I think I would fit in well there because I'm a good character kid and everything. The campus is second to none and the facilities are just awesome. It's so clean and new and I just thought everything about the campus was awesome."

White has already shown that he is the kind of unique character athlete that BYU typically looks for to represent its program both on and off the field. After being named to the All-Orange County first team as a junior, White sent an email to the Register thanking them for the honor, an act that rarely, if ever, happens from among high school athletes.

Currently playing in league finals, White plays on a team that has been soundly beating league powerhouses on its way to a 10-2 record.

"We play in the Sunset League," White said. "It's one of the toughest leagues in California. We have Esperanza, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley, Mater Dei and Newport Harbor along with other tough schools."

Other tough schools Edison High School has faced also included Crespi High School (35-13) where former BYU recruit Sione Fua played, and Servite High School (28-21)where current USC commit Chris Galippo plays.

During the Servite game, White's hard hitting disposition showed as he went head up and all out against Galippo. White hit the future Trojan was so hard that he knocked Galippo senseless and took himself out of the game foran ambulance ride to hospital after collapsing on the Edison sideline for nearly 10 minutes.

"Most of the schools that are recruiting me see me as a defensive player, which I'm fine with," said White. "I love offense but I see myself as a defensive player at the next level. I love to hit and I love to be hit. We're actually still playing and we're in the semifinals this week. We play Santa Margarita and the game will actually be on TV on Fox Sports Net on Friday night."


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