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High School Sports

La Habra’s Mason West waited for the scholarship offer he wanted and got it

La Habra High tight end Mason West during a drill.
La Habra tight end Mason West runs through a drill during USC’s elite camp on June 21.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Many high school football prospects talk about being patient during the recruiting process. They don’t want to make a rash decision to commit and then change their mind.

It’s easier to show patience as a top prospect that has top schools competing for you. That wasn’t exactly the case for La Habra High tight end Mason West.

La Habra came on strong last season, winning six straight before losing in the second round of the playoffs. West caught 22 passes for 375 yards and five touchdowns in eight games.

West had scholarship offers from Boise State, Nevada Las Vegas, New Mexico and Oregon State. Three Ivy League schools and a pair of Football Championship Subdivision schools also extended offers.

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West intended to wait before making a decision and let the process play out during his senior year. The Highlanders are primed for a big year, and West should be one of their featured weapons. With a strong senior season, the three-star tight end, per 247Sports composite rankings, should attract more attention and interest.

However, some of the schools that had offered wanted an answer.

“A lot of schools want you to be a little bit greedy. They want you to commit as soon as possible,” West said. “I was feeling the pressure from Boise State. Oregon State was really kind of pushing [saying], ‘We want you to commit and if you don’t soon, then your spot is going to get taken out.’”

It was a stressful situation for West, but he was determined to wait for one particular offer.

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Washington had been recruiting him hard since the beginning of the year. The Huskies hadn’t offered but told him, “We’re going to make this thing happen. Just trust us. Be patient. It’ll happen,” West said.

He was willing to hold out to see if their words held true, especially after he took an official visit in April. He loved the trip, the campus, the facilities and the coaching staff.

But the week before his trip, Washington picked up a commitment from the top tight end in California, Mark Redman of Newport Beach Corona Del Mar High.

Recruiting classes don’t often feature multiple tight ends, given that the position has been used less in college football with the adaptation of more spread and Air Raid offenses.

“They were still like, ‘Hey, it’s gonna happen,’” West said. “But I didn’t have the offer yet. I had to put my trust into them and definitely felt the pressure. Didn’t know if it was actually going to happen.”

It took a couple more months, but the offer West patiently waited for arrived on June 29.

He announced his commitment to Washington three days later.

Finding a role

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West is excited to find a role with the Huskies when he arrives next year.

Washington is one of the few teams that still relies heavily on formations with multiple tight ends, so West is not concerned that the Huskies have two tight end commits and may try to add a third.

“I don’t think it’s anything to fear because of the way they use their tight ends,” he said. “It’s not like they use one guy. Using the tight ends is pretty important to their offense.”

Washington has four tight ends on the roster heading into this season. Hunter Bryant, a junior, is candidate to enter the draft early. There could be plenty of early opportunities for the tight ends signed in this class.

“I know there’s gonna be a few of us. I think they’ll use me more as a pass catcher, maybe blocking on the edge,” West said. “I think my speed and the way I can catch passes in traffic helps me a lot as a tight end.”


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