If Aurora safety Evan White signs with Colorado on Wednesday, as he's expected to do, he'll be the first football player from Cherokee Trail High School to become a Buff.

White's high school coach, Monte Thelen, spoke with BuffZone regarding his standout senior defender who was named to the Denver Post's All-Colorado team as a junior and senior.

"Evan is a big, physical player who can run. And he's athletic, explosive. Evan's a good football player," Thelen said.

"He had a very strong senior year just like we hoped he did. He's a physical player who can make plays in the secondary."

Cherokee Trail went 10-3 in 2013, with the Cougars' final loss coming in the 5A semifinals against eventual champion Valor Christian. Thelen said White's best performance was against the state's stiffest competition.

Cherokee Trail head coach Monte Thelen
Cherokee Trail head coach Monte Thelen

"That's two years in a row for us," Thelen said of the 42-23 playoff loss against Valor on Nov. 23.

"But Evan played great. To give you an idea about Evan, he had two picks in the game this year against Valor and played great a year ago. That's the type of player he is, he plays well in the big games, you like to see that in him."

Thelen said White improved in his senior campaign and he thinks the three-star recruit will hit the ground running in Boulder.

"He improved on his play in the secondary. He's a physical kid who wants to come up and hit yah," Thelen said. "You could play-action him as a junior, definitely, and that's what people tried to do. He got better in terms of reading his keys and being in position to make plays farther away from the line of scrimmage."


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Thelen wasn't sure on what position White will end up playing in college, but there's a good chance the defender could become a linebacker.

"The game is faster, Evan's gonna have to adapt to that. There's every chance in the world though that Evan could end up becoming a linebacker at the next level. He's 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds right now, he's just going to get bigger and stronger. We'll just have to see how other people see him as a player when he gets on campus. He's a hitter, there's no doubt about that," Thelen said.

"Safeties become linebackers a lot of times when they go to college. Corners that kind of prove maybe they're not as fast because the game is faster, they become safeties. Linebackers become defensive ends, a lot of times that's a natural progression. I'm not saying that's going to happen to Evan, he's a big safety, there's no doubt about it," he continued.

That's not to say White doesn't have the necessary speed to be a Pac-12 safety.

"Evan's an accomplished track athlete," Thelen said. "He has 200 times that rank in the top six or eight or so in the state. He was an important member of our state championship track team."

Thelen spoke highly of Colorado's staff, but admitted he didn't get a chance to get to know former CU coach Jon Embree's recruiters. He said the new CU staff has had multiple coaches on Cherokee Trail's campus on multiple occasions.

"I don't know if I see a change, they're trying to make themselves very prominent, that's for sure," Thelen said. "Their coaches are on our campus at a fairly regular pace. That's because we had Evan and a couple of other players. They're definitely making a hard-earned effort to get out there."

With one Cougar Boulder bound, Thelen hopes to send more players to the Buffs. Another Cherokee Trail player with Division-1 potential is sophomore offensive lineman Ashton Torres.

"Eventually, our left tackle, Ashton Torres, who is 6-5, about 270. He started all year for us as a sophomore. He has the size to project to be like that (Division-1). That's something that's gonna to happen down the road, but Ashton's working hard. When you start for us as a sophomore that's a pretty good indication there's gonna be opportunities for you down the road."

Maybe two years from now, Torres will be getting ready to sign a letter of intent to CU and join his former Cherokee Trail teammate with the Buffs.