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Garrett White adds to family legacy at Edison
HUNTINGTON BEACH – A smile gleams from Garrett White as he remembers growing up with two older brothers who included him in their roughhousing play.
From being tossed into the family couch during WWE-style wrestling to a basketball game that would have generated a few flagrant fouls, he excitedly races through his formative memories with his half-brothers, Matt and Hunter.
“One time they both got together after a game of basketball and they put me in the trash can and shut the lid, and the only time they opened the lid was to take a picture,” the Edison senior recalled this week with a hint of laughter.
“They definitely toughened me up.”
Buena Park (1-0) vs. Edison (0-1)
At Huntington Beach High, 7 p.m.
The experiences eventually helped Garrett follow his brothers’ and father’s footsteps onto the football field for Edison, where the White family has built one of Orange County’s most enduring legacies.
Garrett enters Friday’s game against Buena Park (1-0) at Huntington Beach High as one of the county’s top receivers and perhaps the final family protege of Dave White, Edison’s longtime coach.
Matt and Hunter were All-County players at Edison under their father, who is in his 30th season and an alumnus of the school. Matt finished with 125 career receptions for the Chargers, and Hunter went on to play four years at Boise State (2008-11).
Garrett (6-3, 210) also is headed to the college ranks. He committed to Yale during the summer, but his roots run deep at Edison.
“I saw him when he was born,” longtime Chargers assistant coach Harry Schmidt said.
Garrett became a ball boy at age 8, cheered for his brothers and was a fixture by his father’s side at Edison football activities during his junior high years.
“Football ran in the family,” Garrett said. “Every summer I can remember, I was out here (at school) during two-a-days, catching balls from quarterbacks, running around in my sandals or bare feet. (Playing for Edison) was always in the back of my mind.”
Garrett also enjoyed others sports growing up. He participated in flag football but didn’t play tackle football until his freshman year at Edison.
Garrett caught the family’s football bug, but he developed a personality that combines qualities from his brothers.
“He’s really halfway between (his brothers),” Dave White said. “Matt was totally quiet, introvert. … Hunter was an emotional kid, inspirational, intense.”
Dave White and his first wife, Sue, had Matt and Hunter. Matt, now 29, is married and coaching high school football in Idaho. Hunter, 26, is working for Xerox and coaching at Edison. The coach had Garrett, 18, with his current wife, Lytie.
Garrett said playing for his father hasn’t always been easy, but he learned that the high standards came from a loving spot.
“He wants the best for me,” said Garrett, who also plays basketball and volleyball. “We have always told him our goals growing up and he’s held us to those goals. Hunter always told him that he wanted to be a Division 1 player. … and he was really hard on him because he knew what it took to be a Division 1 football player.”
Garrett’s focus has been on the Ivy League. He said the recruitment of Edison’s 2012 CIF championship-winning quarterback, Alek Torgersen, now the starter at Penn, sparked his interest.
“I’ve always been really focused on academics,” said Garrett, who is taking two AP classes. “I think (the Ivy League) is just a good fit for my combination of football and academics.”
Garrett holds a 4.0 grade-point average and is interested in majoring in economics at Yale. His academic success, however, hasn’t come easy. He took the SAT multiple times in his pursuit of Yale. But his drive traces back to genetics and some of those early competitions with his brothers.
“They’ve been awesome with me,” Garrett said. “To me, (academics are) like sports. I want to be the best. I do every single homework assignment and study twice as hard.”
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