Had Brandon White not suffered a groin injury that knocked him out for the majority of his junior season, we might be talking about him in a much different light–one where he’s loading up on offers from powerhouse programs.
Instead, White is one of many high school prospects that didn’t experience a normal recruiting cycle last year. Not only could he not play due to his injury, but the global pandemic made it even less likely that he would get recognized by top schools from across the country. It wasn’t until White returned to full health earlier this year that he’s been able to put himself on a bigger radar.
And he’s off to a hot start.
White is a class of 2022 5-foot-9, 165-pound wide receiver from right up the road in Cincinnati, Ohio, suiting up for Archbishop Moeller High School where he’s teammates with current Kentucky class of 2022 commit Josh Kattus. White, a low-level three-star recruit, isn’t ranked as highly as Kattus, but his resume is improving quickly. Offers from West Virginia (June 22) and Kentucky along with serious interest from Maryland, Tennessee, and Michigan during the month of June have put him on notice.
Kentucky offered White on June 14, directly after he thrived in camp drills and toured the facilities for an unofficial visit. Prior to picking up an offer from UK, he had only held scholarships from Akron, Bowling Green, and Marshall. White said hearing from Kentucky was a whole different level of excitement, though.
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“It was exciting. I got a couple of offers, but now that I got that offer from UK and Coach Marrow told me the news, it felt a lot different. It felt like it was my first offer,” White told KSR on Wednesday. “Because it’s Power 5 and Kentucky. Growing up, a lot of these players from Cincinnati, a lot of my friends commit to UK. It was kinda a shock–not a shock, I don’t want to say a shock. Like a relief. It was crazy and deserving.”
White kept close to associate head coach Vince Marrow as much as he could during the trip, soaking up information from the Big Dog and everyone who came up to interact with him (“he’s the big guy on campus,” White said about Marrow). White was able to talk with freshman Dekel Crowdus and Nebraska transfer Wan’Dale Robinson to briefly pick their brains.
Coach Marrow put White through the wringer in drills, having him go first and doing so against the best defensive back prospects that the coaching staff could bring in. White had little issue knocking those out of the park, impressing Marrow and company to the point that a decision regarding whether or not he should get an offer was a no-brainer.
“It was one of those things where they were expecting to see me,” White said about his visit. “They always had their eyes on me. It was good to see them in person. Getting there, it was an all eyes on me type situation. I’m not going to say it was hard but it was more work put into it to get the offer. Everything was critiqued, so it was best of the best every time.”
White is known for his outstanding speed, which he put on full display in the camp setting. He recently recorded a 10.46-second 100-meter time. And despite being listed around 5-foot-8, 5-foot-9, he has a knack for wanting to go up and snag jump balls. He didn’t know his official vertical off the top of his head but added that he can dunk on a 10-foot basketball goal.
With those types of intangibles, he’s right: All eyes were on him during camp drills.
“It was fun though because I’m a competitive type person,” White added. “I like that. The one-on-ones, Coach Marrow, the wide receiver coach, the offensive coordinator, they were all telling me what to do. I was being real coachable with them and they wanted me to go against the best of the best. They were calling out the best DBs every time, giving us a whole bunch of reps.”
Coach Marrow had a sense of how good White was coming into the camp, but he needed to see it with his own two eyes, especially after the groin injury and lengthy recruiting dead period. White received the scholarship offer before he could even get off of UK’s campus.
“That offer came after the camp, literally right after the camp,” White said. “Got on the golf cart, did an unofficial visit, after that we went and got into Coach Marrow’s office, Coach (Liam) Coen is there, all the coaches, I met all the coaches and they broke me the news.”
Marrow also added that, had White not have gotten injured, he might not have been able to get his hands on White at all.
“He was telling me that he saw me my sophomore year and he said the type of player I am and saw on film, he said if I had never got injured, he probably would have never got a hand on me,” White recalled of his conversation with Marrow. “He said I would have had other offers from Oregon or other big schools. He said it would have been a hard-to-get-you-type thing. It was a good experience, Coach Marrow, he’s a person and a coach that I like for sure because he keeps it real with you.”
Kentucky has a leg up compared to its competition for White. Playing for Moeller High School, White has a couple of friends already on the Kentucky roster: Brenden Bates and Carrington Valentine, the latter of which he considers to be a very good friend of his. Valentine and White communicate on a regular basis, with White adding that Valentine does sneak in some light recruiting for Kentucky.
White is also good friends with his Moeller teammate, Josh Kattus, along with Lakota West product and another UK commit, Alex Afari, who lives about 15 minutes down the road from White.
It’s been the relationships he’s forged with former teammates at Moeller and the current coaching staff at Kentucky that has the Wildcats in good shape to potentially land White of his pass-catching services. Growing up so close to Lexington, White is quite familiar with the University of Kentucky. He added that he already wants to come back to campus for an official visit later this summer.
“The relationships. Believing in me in the beginning,” White told KSR about what he values in Kentucky. “Growing up, always seeing Kentucky whether it be basketball or football, and then just being there and feeling so much love. Me and Coach Marrow were laughing about it, he said ‘if you think that was something, wait until you come back for your official visit,’ so I’m definitely going to be coming back for an official visit at the end of July. The love shown, the family vibes, the relationship, the realness.”
It also helps that new offensive coordinator Liam Coen plans to sling the ball around more than Kentucky fans have seen over the last several seasons.
“They’re going to be throwing it a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot. That’s all he (Coen) kept an emphasis on,” White added.
Even if he does blow up in the national recruiting scene during his senior season this fall, White takes extra stock in the people that connected with him first. White would prefer to get his recruitment over with before his farewell high school season begins.
“I’m the type of guy where I value the guy that believes in me from the beginning,” White said. “I plan on making a decision before the season, hopefully, and then whatever happens happens. But I don’t plan on weighing it out throughout the season and making a decision. But I’m pretty sure there will be more schools reaching out.”