May 23, 2008

Torrance star decided to stay close to home

Torrance (Calif.) West three-star Brian Baucham wasn't 100 percent sure exactly what he wanted during the recruiting process.

First a visit to Utah State had the running back/corner back thinking he'd be an Aggie. Than, an official visit to Washing St. had him thinking he'd be traveling north.

Ultimately, though, an offer from Pete Carroll and the Trojan staff proved too good to pass on, as Baucham committed and then signed to play for the team he grew up rooting for.

"I'm really a family guy, and I got a chance to stay close to them," Baucham said. "My mom and dad have always been there for me. I'm really close to them, and I want to have them at my games."

For a while, though, it looked like Baucham wouldn't get that chance.

Despite an impressive junior season, interest trickled in slowly.

"Yeah, I was a late bloomer," Baucham said. "I was working a lot with my coaches and they kept me up. They told me just to be patient, and that more scouts would be coming around. It kept me focused and kept me working hard at football.

"I knew they'd come if I finished strong my senior year, and after that, the scholarship offers started rolling in."

Now, Baucham has been able to spend his last few months in high school enjoying the present while working towards his future at USC.

"I've been working out for football, lifting weights and focusing on track, trying to come through strong," he said. "I've been doing really well."

Less than a week ago, Baucham's 38.0-second mark in the 300m hurdles gave him the seventh-fast time in the state this year.

"Track keeps me in football shape year round, and helps with my leg motion. In football, people try and tackle me at my legs, and working on hurdles can help with my escapability"

As a Trojan, Baucham will begin at cornerback. However, thanks to his running style, it isn't much of a switch.

"It starts with me as a running back. They saw how I run, where I go forward and then back, and then they put me at cornerback," he said. "The transition wasn't that hard."

Baucham said he'll be on campus on June 26, in time for the second summer session.

"Football is my life," he said. "I don't mind having my summer be football practice.

"I'm really excited to start practicing with the team and working with the coaches. They have terrific coaches."

Baucham said he will have to make adjustments to compete as a freshman.

"Everyone is going to be as fast as me," Baucham said. "The thing I'm going to focus most on is technique to go along with speed."

Baucham will wear No. 30 for the Trojans this season, and he said any number is as good as another.

"The player makes the number," he said. "The number doesn't make the player. That's a motto I go by."

It's that kind of attitude that has helped Baucham go from an unknown junior to a soon-to-be Trojan.

"To me, hard work pays off," he said. "I've just worked hard, 24-7 to show I belong out there and want to be out there.

"That's how it is for me."

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