Camren Torneden made an unofficial visit to Texas Christian University last year, and loved it.
“Everything there was great,” Torneden said. “I liked it all.”
Whether Torneden, who quarterbacked Free State High to 17 football victories during the last two autumns and is the J-W Area Player of the Year, is invited to make an official recruiting trip to TCU remains to be seen, however.
At 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, Torneden’s size makes him a marginal candidate for a major-college scholarship.
“I’d love to play D-I,” he said, “but I want to go where I can play.”
Where that will be isn’t the only unknown. There is also the question of what position he will play in college. Although Torneden passed for 2,318 yards and ran for 2,302 more during his two seasons as the All-Sunflower League first-team quarterback, he isn’t emphasizing QB on his résumé.
“I probably can play there,” Torneden said, “but I don’t think that’s how I should sell myself.”
In putting together a recruiting tape, Torneden may have difficulty fitting all the highlights within a manageable time frame. On Free State High’s career chart, Torneden stands second in total offense (behind Ryan Murphy), third in rushing and third in passing.
In addition to his numerous TD passes and long TD runs, Torneden can include all three of the punts he returned for scores this fall. And there are the two interceptions he made while playing cornerback, not to mention the four passes he broke up.
Torneden was such an offensive force that his defense was overlooked. Yet he finished fourth on the Firebirds in defensive points.
Then there are the intangibles. College coaches look for physical skills first, but recruiters also want to know about a prospect’s overall makeup.
How, for instance, does Torneden fit into the team concept?
“He did a great job leadership-wise,” Free State coach Bob Lisher said. “It all started in the summer. He never missed a workout.”
And it’s also worth noting that Torneden never missed a game. His durability may have been suspect because of his size, but he rarely came out of a game because of an injury, and he played all season with a couple of separated ribs.
“I just blocked it out of my mind when it hurt,” Torneden said of that lingering rib woe, “but most of the time I didn’t have pain with it.”
Lisher knew Torneden had the rib problem, and he emphasized he encouraged his quarterback to try to avoid taking a hard hit, but that was like trying to tell a bird not to fly.
“I told him to run out of bounds when he could, but he never ran out of bounds,” Lisher said. “He’s such a competitor, a tough kid. He didn’t ever want to come out of the game.”
Torneden doesn’t want his high school athletics career to be over, either. He was on the Firebirds’ baseball roster last spring, but now says he plans to switch to track and take a shot at the sprint races.
“I haven’t run track since the ninth grade,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”