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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Oronde Crenshaw said his scholarship to Arizona State was revoked; the school later said it didn't offer him one.

Crenshaw's recruiting story denied by Arizona State

STAFF WRITER

Oronde Crenshaw, a standout football player at Costa Mesa High, said one week before National Signing Day his scholarship offer to Arizona State had been revoked.

In the cut-throat world of recruiting, that happens. A player can lose out in a numbers game because there are only so many scholarships to be granted.

And it could have been easy to see Crenshaw as a victim of the system.

Only Arizona State said there never was a scholarship offer to be revoked. The Sun Devils even said they never pursued Crenshaw.

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“We never did actively recruit him and he was never in our system,” said Thomas Lenneberg, an assistant media relations director at Arizona State.

“He's never applied for admission. … (A coach) did reach out to him at some point. There was a point of contact in the spring (of 2013). After that, there was nothing.”

A first-team, All-County selection at linebacker this season who also started at running back for Costa Mesa, Crenshaw said he had committed to Arizona State to play strong safety in December. Various media outlets, including the Register, reported the commitment based on what he said.

Crenshaw told a Register reporter in December he had a scholarship offer from the school pending grade requirements, then said Wednesday via text message and in a phone conversation that Arizona State “pulled” his scholarship offer.

He also said no other Division I schools had expressed interest in him.

On Thursday, Crenshaw and his mother, Lilia Mora, said in a phone interview he had never said he had received a scholarship offer.

“ASU never offered a scholarship,” Crenshaw said. “I verbally committed because that's where I wanted to go.”

When Crenshaw was asked about saying this week that his offer was pulled, he turned the phone over to his mother.

“I think it was more a choice of his words,” Crenshaw's mother added.

“You guys were speaking to a 17-year-old kid. I remember reading (the article). His words weren't put properly. That's where he was leaning and wanted to go.”

Mora went on to say an Arizona State assistant coach contacted her during the football season and into January, when, she says, he told her the Sun Devils weren't interested in Crenshaw any longer.

Mora said she communicated with him on the phone, through text messages and in emails, but declined to share the conversations with the Register.

The coach could not be reached Friday.

Costa Mesa coach Wally Grant said a coach visited Costa Mesa in the spring but did not contact Grant after that point and Arizona State did not attend any games to scout Crenshaw this season.

“I don't know if they ever offered him a scholarship, but that's one thing that does go through a coach,” Grant said.

Crenshaw also didn't have a profile on the popular recruiting site Rivals.com and didn't have any scholarship offers or official visits in his profile on another recruiting site, Scout.com.

“I heard about him, and when I read about (his commitment), I do remember asking our ASU publisher if they heard about him,” said Greg Biggins, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com.

“He responded a day later and said he must be a walk-on because the coaches aren't even sure who he is.”

Staff writer Brantley Watson contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: jbalan@ocregister.com


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