Predictions were being made as far back as the seventh and eighth grade, comparing Sean White to some of the best quarterback prospects this area has ever produced.
While names such as Larry Rentz, Danny McManus, Rohan Davey, Jacory Harris, Danny Kannell, Geno Smith and Teddy Bridgewater have long been the standard for quarterbacks in South Florida, it was time that this region of the country — known more for producing dynamic receivers and defensive backs — started to produce passers.
Two weeks ago, those predictions started to come true when White not only was invited to the West Coast Elite 11 quarterback competition, but came away as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country. It was an honor that the soft-spoken White took in stride.
“It’s a huge honor to be chosen for a competition like that,” White said. “But to win the event is something that I really cannot put into words.”
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The Elite 11 experience went beyond impressing evaluators and proven players such as Trent Dilfer. It gave the country — and his peers — an opportunity to see what years of hard work and dedication can do.
You could tell from the first time you watched White throw the ball as part of the Pembroke Pines Optimist squad that he was special. He was going to be one of those Matt Barkleys that we seldom see in this region. Someone who really had a grasp on what the position was all about.
The fact that White sought out the competition of Miami-Dade and Broward to travel from his Boca Raton home to take part in youth football was certainly enough for some to agree that this was a hungry and very talented football prospect who would elevate the bar.
His father, Don, had long believed that if his son was willing to make the sacrifices, he would do whatever was needed to give his son the tools to compete against the nation’s elite.
From his first varsity game, it was evident he was going to be more than just a good prospect. He was 17 of 17 in his first varsity appearance. That set the tone for his future.
Even quarterback Jerard Randall, who White sat under as a freshmen, had a good idea that his successor was indeed going to be very special.
Now at LSU, Randall called White “one of the most-promising players in that talented class of 2014.”
One of the most important parts of White’s maturity and success was being one of the first students of Ken Mastrole’s Passing Academy. It was at weekly workouts that the transformation began to take place.
“I look back at when Sean started with us, and to tell you the truth he was one of those young men that you felt would have success,” Mastrole said. “Everything you taught him, he would apply almost immediately.”
Even winning the Elite 11 event and having dozens of colleges calling him, the 6-1, 200-pound White has found a way to continue to attend as many events as possible.
This summer, besides his trip to Oregon for the Elite 11, the University School senior has stayed in shape by playing for the nationally rated South Florida Express 7-on-7 team, and continues to attend the weekend passing events.
“You see what Coach Mastrole has done with E.J. Manuel, elevating him to the first round of the draft,” White said. “That shows you that if you continue working and doing things the right way, everything will work out.”
It also helps to know that someone like Dilfer, who has been known to favor West Coast quarterback prospects, came away believing in White.
“His accurate isn’t just accurate. It’s exact. It’s an NFL-type of ball. I’m stealing this from Steve Young, but he has an artistic ball. He paints a picture with his ball,” Dilfer said after the event.
While White is picking up much of the summer accolades, South Florida’s class of 2014 representation at quarterback could be legendary.
Recent FSU commitment Treon Harris (Booker T. Washington), Winky Flowers (Miami Jackson), Washington State commitment Peyton Bender (Cardinal Gibbons), University of Miami commitment Trayon Gray, Nicodem Pierre (Coral Reef), University of Miami commitment Alin Edouard (Hialeah) and University of Pittsburgh commitment Wade Freebeck have also made quite an impression.
“This class of quarterbacks is really impressive,” Mastrole said. “I know we saw this coming last year, but with the maturity of so many prospects, this is really very special.”