Missouri & Kansas
••••• Blake Bell 6-6, 220, 4.7 Wichita Bishop Carroll, KS
At this early state in the recruiting season, Blake ranks as one of the top 10 prospects in the country.
On Film–He is a tall, athletic QB with a physical and mental presence and he has a great understanding of the game. He is a leader who can fit into a pro-style, spread or veer offense. In fact, on his film 25% of his plays came out of the spread but he certainly has the arm strength, poise, and confidence to become a difference maker in a pro-style offense. He is an expert at reading defenses, going through progressions, and he surprises you with his escapeability out of the pocket. He can use his feet to buy time for receivers to get open and he throws the ball well while on the run. He really came into his own during the '08 season. As a sophomore he played wide receiver and caught 40 passes for 600 yards and 10 TDs so you can see his potential as a QB is unlimited. He is one of the better athletes if not the best athlete in the state of Kansas. He stands tall in the pocket, throws the deep out with authority, and possesses all the tools for future stardom. He should be a Heisman candidate within three years. He reminds me of a young Ben Roethlisberger.
Stats–He completed 255 of 401 passes for 3,240 yds and 37 TDs and was picked off 10 times. He carried the balls 91 times for 336 yds and 12 scores. He broke several state passing records including yards, touchdowns, completions, and attempts. His father and uncle both played several years in the NFL.
Other Sports–He averages 18 pts and 10 rebounds a game as an FW in basketball. He is considered one of the top basketball players in the state of Kansas.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0.
Favorite Schools–Committed to OKLAHOMA.
•••• Tyler Gabbert 6-0, 185, 4.68 Ballwin Parkway West, MO
He is the younger brother of Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert. He may not be as tall as his brother but, believe me, this guy can play the position.
On Film–I was really impressed with him down in San Antonio. He is cool under pressure with a live arm, has great feet, command, and pocket presence. He shows really good mobility and always seems to make great decisions. He is the perfect spread-offense type QB. He has an uncanny knack to put the ball on the money just about every time, even when he is throwing the ball on the run. He shows good escapeability and can create with his feet. Tyler handles pressure well and always seems to make something out of nothing. He is not the tallest QB around but one of the more athletic ones who rarely gets his passes batted down.
Stats–Last season he completed 155 of 280 passes for 1,850 yds and 18 TDs completing 55% and was picked off just 5 times.
Other Sports–He batted .370 as a 2nd baseman in baseball.
Grades–His GPA is 3.7.
Favorite Schools–Committed to NEBRASKA.
••• Patrick Ivy 6-4, 195, 4.47 Cahokia, IL
The key word here is patience.
On Film–Patrick is just now developing into a good passer showing a live arm, excellent running skills, and the ability put the ball on the money just about every time while throwing the ball on the run. He is not yet a dominating QB but he really took major steps in that direction as a junior. In fact, the first game on the film shows his team down by six with 23 seconds left and he drives the team 80 yards to go in for the winning score. If a college coach has patience, Mr. Ivy could pay big dividends. He certainly shows the skills to make the leap to the next level.
Stats–He completed 190 of 250 passes for 2,750 yds and 32 TDs and was picked off 11 times.
Other Sports–He has been timed in a 10.8 100 and a 22 flat 200 meters in track and averages 4 pts and 2 rebounds a game as guard in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 2.7. He benches 205 and has a 34" VJ.
Favorite Schools–IL, MO, KS, KS STATE, PURDUE, MN, WI, and MEMPHIS.
••• Stephen Kaiser 6-3½, 220, 4.8 St. Louis Desmet, MO
If you doubt Mr. Kaiser is a Division I player, I suggest checking out the CBC game last year in which he single handedly took over the game with his arm and running skills.
On Film–He shows a strong arm, good pocket presence, and awareness. He has quick feet, keeps his eyes down field, and can really drill the ball once he sets his feet. He is tall, athletic signal caller and can throw the deep out with authority. He also shows a quick release.
Stats–He put in decent numbers in '08 but bigger things are expected of him in the '09 season especially since he was MVP at a couple of underclass combines.
Other Sports–He is a standout in baseball.
Grades–His GPA is over 3.0. Benches 310 and has a 30" VJ.
Favorite Schools–IA, NORTHWESTERN, NE, KS STATE, CO STATE, SMU, and MI STATE.
••• Kerry Gibson 6-2, 185, 4.5 Florissant Hazelwood Central, MO
If he doesn't make it as a QB he certainly can make it as a punter.
On Film–#16 shows exceptional skills at the QB position. In fact, I believe if given the chance he could excel at the next level but he needs to sign with a program that will build a program around his arm. On film he is a natural thrower and can throw the ball with velocity, even when he is off balance. He has that overall athletic ability that can keep a defense honest.
Stats–He completed 113 of 221 passes for 1,780 yds and 20 TDs. He was picked off 8 times. He also carried the ball 114 times for 700 yds and 12 TDs on his way to helping Hazelwood Central to a state title. He also punted for a 39.2 yard average and impressed people with his hang time.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5. Benches 240.
Favorite Schools–KS, PURDUE, IL, KS STATE, MN, MI STATE, VANDY, IA, and IA STATE.
Other Quarterbacks to Watch:
Jared Lanpher 6-2, 170, 4.6 Blue Springs, MO
Tanner Dutton 6-0, 175, 4.6 Olathe South, KS
Anthony Abenoja 6-3, 205, 4.7 Stilwell Blue Valley, KS
•••• Joseph Randle 6-0, 190, 4.4 Wichita Southeast, KS
He is the #1 RB prospect in the Kansas-Missouri area.
On Film–Joseph proves to be solid in all facets of the game. He runs low to the ground with great leg strength, super speed, vision, and balance. A tough guy to knock off his pins, he keeps his pads lows and makes defenders pay for the tackle. He is not a real big back but he can be considered a power back. He runs well between the tackles and gets significant yardage after initial contact. He also has home run type of speed.
Stats–He earned H-M All-State honors after averaging 9 yds per carry in '08.
Grades–His GPA is over 2.0. He has a 35" VJ.
Favorite Schools–MO, TX A&M, MIAMI, IOWA, BC, IL, AZ, STANFORD, and OLE MISS.
•••+ DeMarcus Robinson 5-9, 185, 4.4 Wichita Northwest, KS
People haven't seen a back come out of this area with this kind of size and speed since Barry Sanders.
On Film–DeMarcus may not be another Barry Sanders but he sure is a high school whirlwind. Scouts like him, opposing coaches like him and, after watching him on film, I'm sold on him too. This guy shows great vision, balance, and burst. He keeps his pads low, can read blocks, and react. He also runs with surprising power and sees the whole field. A few extra pounds could do him some good but believe me, he has what it takes to not only make it to Division I but to excel.
Stats–He averages over 8 yds per carry in '08 on his way to earning All-Area honors.
Grades–His GPA is over 2.5.
Favorite Schools–Committed to KANSAS STATE.
•••+ Brandon Bourbon 6-2, 205, 4.5 Potosi, MO
He came on strong this spring and now has a good number of schools chasing him.
On Film–Brandon doesn't do anything fancy, he's just a straight-line back with excellent speed, balance, and strength. He surprises a lot of people with his quickness and also shows good body control, accelerates quickly through the hole, and shows enough burst to keep a defense honest. He like to wear down defenders and he gets an awful lot of his yards after initial contact.
Grades–His GPA is over a 3.0. Benches 310.
Favorite Schools–MO, BYU, KS, KS STATE, STANFORD, and VANDY.
••• Griffin Lowry 6-0, 215, 4.59 St. Louis University, MO
He impressed us down in San Antonio at the combine.
On Film–He is a hard working back with excellent size, vision, and strength. More of a north/south runner, he fights for extra yards and is particularly effective in short yardage and red-zone situations. He's also a power back with Division I speed and balance. He has the strength to move the pile and the speed to take it outside. Last season he played TB, FB, WR, FS, SS, and LB.
Stats–He rushed for 450 yds and 6 TDs and also caught 30 passes for 685 yds and 5 TDs and totaled 30 tackles on defense.
Grades–His GPA is 3.8. He scored 1190 on the SAT. Benches 330.
Favorite Schools–TCU, VANDY, VA, CO STATE, WAKE FOREST, MO, KS, and PURDUE.
••• Braxton Baker 5-11, 180, 4.5 Webb City, MO
He is not the biggest back around but certainly one of the more productive ones.
On Film–Braxton is definitely a workhorse of a back showing excellent quickness, agility, and burst. He has the burst to get outside and cause damage but is also comfortable running between the tackles. He fights for yardage and gets a lot of yards after initial contact.
Stats–He had a breakout year in '08 carrying the ball 266 times for 2,002 yds and 23 TDs averaging 7.5 yds per carry on his way to earning conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Other Running Backs to Watch:
Deveon Dinwiddie 5-9, 175, 4.4 Hutchinson, KS
Derek Campbell 5-11, 185, 4.45 Manhattan, KS
Lennies McFerren 5-9, 185, 4.5 New Madrid County, MO
James Tillman 6-0, 180, 4.55 Kansas City O'Hare, MO
••••+ Matt Milton 6-6, 205, 4.5 Mascoutah, IL
I had Matt meet me in Iowa way back in January with Kyle Prater, who I had discovered the previous October in the Chicago area. They hit it off immediately and looked somewhat alike with Matt just being about a little over one inch taller.
On Film–#23 shows the size, strength, and ability to go and get the ball. He also shows the sure hands and the running ability to excel at the next level. His best game last season was for 8 catches for 248 yds and 1 TD while also rushing for two other scores. This got him a lot of fame in the southern Illinois area. He can leap out of the house and he gets a ton of yardage after the catch. Another thing about Matt is that he is exceptionally elusive for a 6-6, 205 pounder and shows the ability to break tackles. He is the most dominant player in southern Illinois. If he goes to the right program he should be an instant impact player as a true freshman.
Stats–He caught 40 passes for 797 yds and 6 TDs as a junior. He also carried the ball 5 times for 72 yds and 2 scores. On defense he played DE, LB, and CB, a testament to his versatility, totaling 43 tackles, 3 sacks, and broke up 7 passes. He also proves to be a hit as a kickoff returner.
Other Sports–He has been timed in a 11.1 100 and a 23.4 200 meters and long jumped 22' 2" in track. He averages 17 pts and 7 rebounds a game as an FSW in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 3.5. Benches 285 and has a 35" VJ.
Favorite Schools–His cousin, Greg Walker, played ball at Ole Miss and with the Green Bay Packers. His favorites are STANFORD, MO, KS, IL, IOWA, TN, and WI.
••••+ Justin McCay 6-4, 200, 4.53 Shawnee Mission Bishop Miege, KS
If you are looking for a receiver with great size, hands, explosiveness, and a great attitude look no further than J-Mac. For that matter, if you are looking for a good LB or FS look no further than J-Mac.
On Film–#19 proves to be an exceptionally tough receiver for the defense to defend. He can run with the best of them, shows great leaping ability, catches the ball at its highest point, explodes off the line, is an excellent downfield blocker, and can create after the catch. On defense, he is a hard-hitting LB with very good speed to the ball. I believe he is better suited to play WR at the next level. The opposing coaches call him the real deal and I call him an All-American. He is a potential game breaker who is also a top notch red-zone receiver. He is coached by Tim Gurnhard, who was on my 1986 All-Midwest Team. Tim went on to a career at Notre Dame and with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Stats–He caught 31 passes for 550 yds and 4 scores and also carried the ball 12 times for 195 yds and 3 scores. The coaches say he will be getting his hands on the ball many more times this year so look out.
Other Sports–He averages 13 pts and 10 rebounds a game as an FW in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0.
Favorite Schools–OK, NOTRE DAME, MO, KS, TEXAS A&M, GA, NC, FL, WI, FSU, and TN.
••••+ Marcus Lucas 6-5, 195, 4.5 Liberty, MO
He is already built like a college WR.
On Film–He shows marvelous hands, he's an acrobatic receiver, can jump out of a building, and has the speed to separate from defenders. He can also create in space and, to top everything off, he is constantly double and sometime tripled teamed. He plays in a league with some talented teams but Marcus is the most talented player. He scored in his first varsity game as a sophomore and hasn't stopped scoring since. You can see it is awfully tough to defend a 6' 5" wide receiver with a 38" vertical who can run a 4.5 40. He has a great attitude, runs precise routes, and works hard at improving his game.
Stats–He caught 56 passes for 1,200 yds and 18 TDs averaging over 20 yds per catch on his way to earning 1st Team All-State honors as a junior.
Other Sports–He has been timed in a 11.2 100 meters and has long jumped 22½' in track. He also plays basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 3.7 and he scored a 23 on the ACT. Benches 225.
Favorite Schools–MO, OK, STANFORD, FL, AL, IOWA, AR, IOWA STATE, and NE.
••••+ Keeston Terry 6-2½, 185, 4.5 Blue Springs, MO
I don't know if there is a better quartet of receivers in the country as there are with Milton, McCay, Lucas, and Terry.
On Film–#3 shows good size, burst, and strong hands. He catches the ball in stride, quickly turns up field, and has that burst and pure speed to outrun most defenders he goes up against. He has also proven to be a difficult tackle after the catch with his combination of moves, strength, and burst. He is very quick in and out of his routes and can get his head around quickly and find the ball. He also seems to have the innate ability to find the opening in a defense. Two of the games I watched, one against Raypec he totaled 225 yds and 3 TDs, and against Parkhill South he totaled 5 TDs. He is one of the more versatile receivers in the country.
Stats–He carried the ball 85 times for 600 yds and 7 TDs and also caught 49 passes for 900 yds and 10 scores. He picked off two passes at CB on defense. He proves to be a reliable punt returner.
Other Sports–He plays the outfield in baseball and long jumps 21' 8" in track.
Grades–His GPA is 3.7.
Favorite Schools–Committed to NEBRASKA.
•••• Marquise Hill 6-1, 175, 4.43 St. Louis Trinity Catholic, MO
He is the #1 wide receiver in St. Louis.
On Film–#5 is very good in the open field. He makes big plays showing excellent speed and body control. He certainly looks the part of the big-time receiver with long arms and big hands. He does a good job of catching the ball away from his body and turning up field quickly. He is one of the more versatile ball players in the state of Missouri playing WR, RB, and FS well enough to earn All-Area honors at all three positions. In fact, in one game he had 449 all-purpose yds to go with 7 TDs. He is a winner with a great attitude.
Stats–He caught 23 passes for 565 yds and 7 TDs. He also carried the ball 85 times for 795 yds and 10 scores. He totaled 64 tackles, 6 picks, and broke up 7 passes at FS.
Other Sports–He has been timed in a 10.9 100 and a 21.8 200 meters in track. He averages 18 pts and 5 rebounds a game as an FSW in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 2.6. Benches 205.
Favorite Schools–Committed to MISSOURI.
••• Joey Purze 6-0, 175, 4.6 Clayton, MO
He looked good down in San Antonio.
On Film–Joey is a workman-like receiver with deceptive speed, very strong hands, and good work ethic. He runs precise routes, knows how to get open, and catches everything within reach. He is also a standout CB on defense. Another positive is that he competes for the ball in traffic and can make things happen after the catch. He is a very solid and dependable receiver.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0. He has a 30" VJ.
Favorite Schools–MIAMI, DUKE, MO, IL, NORTHWESTERN, IA, and IA STATE.
••• Detchauz Wray 6-0, 180, 4.4 East. St. Louis, IL
Three stars may not be enough for Mr. Wray.
On Film–He is an outstanding ball handling QB with a pretty good arm and great running skills. In fact, he has been All-Metro each of the past two years at QB. However, he may make the switch to WR once he gets to college. He certainly has the jets, moves, and confidence to do just that.
Stats–He threw for 2,564 yds and 38 TDs and completing 58% of his passes and leading East St. Louis to a state championship.
••• Devonte Bell 5-11, 155, 4.5 Clayton, MO
He is a teammate of Joey Purze.
On Film–Devonte is a blazer. He does a good job of recognizing defenders, can catch the ball over his shoulder on deep routes, and can make things happen after the catch. He is a playmaker with big-time potential.
Stats–He caught 41 passes for 1,018 yds and 6 TDs averaging 24.8 yds per catch on his way to earning All-Metro honors.
••• Landon Head 6-3, 190, 4.55 Dodge City, KS
He is a ball player that I missed during my trips but his information was given to me by one of my local scouts. He is a tall and very active receiver. He is a go-to guy with deceptive speed, strong hands, and good body control.
Stats–Last season he earned All-Area and All-State honors after catching 77 passes for 1,050 yds and 12 TDs, both school records.
•••+ DeRon Flood 6-3, 230, 4.69 O'Fallon Township, IL
O'Fallon is the town right across the river from St. Louis and it has produced some big-time ball players over the years. Next in line is Mr. Flood.
On Film–This guy shows his versatility by playing TE, DE, DT, and LB. His coaches call him a team player who will do whatever it takes for the team to win. At tight end he shows very good quickness off the ball, he's quick in and out of his breaks, shows pretty good leaping ability, and super strong hands. He catches the ball away from his body and can do some damage after the catch. He is also a very good blocker who really improved the second part of last season in that aspect. He is a very motivated and hard working player who does a good job of escaping jams and finding the open seam.
Stats–He latched on to 21 passes for 360 yds and 1 TD at TE. He totaled 30 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 caused fumble on defense. He earned All-Conference, All-Area and All-Metro honors at TE.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5. Benches 315 and has a 30" VJ.
Favorite Schools–Committed to PURDUE.
•••+ Brad Hefley 6-5, 255, 4.9 Joplin, MO
A good sized TE who proves to be very athletic and very productive.
On Film–He has the frame to someday wind up playing either tackle or guard in college but right now he's a sure handed TE who can block. In fact, his blocking skills are similar to that of a tackle and he stays with his blocks until the whistle. Shows very good initial quickness.
Stats–Earned 1st Team All-District honors for his play at TE.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0. Has a 30" VJ.
Favorite Schools–Committed to ARKANSAS.
••• Pat Lewandowski 6-6, 220, 4.75 Stilwell Blue Valley, KS
Some consider him to be the top TE prospect in the state of Kansas.
On Film–He certainly shows the height, long arms, and blocking skills to be just that. He appears to be a little light right now but with a little extra strength and weight, Pat, because of his quick feet and speed, could develop into a go-to receiver. At the high school level he has a huge advantage with his height and leaping ability. He seems to win every jump ball and he impresses you with his speed after the catch.
Stats–He earned All-State mention for his play in '08.
••• Kony Ealy 6-6, 220, 4.75 New Madrid County, MO
He is a fascinating prospect.
On Film–He played WR in '08 despite his great size and played it well. He is a talent mismatch. He is a terrific end on defense and also a standout in basketball. Once he concentrates on football look out. He should develop into a go-to receive built along the lines of a Kellen Winslow. Not yet a dominating player but he certainly has that kind of ability. On defense he is quick off the ball, can bend off the edge, and shows a good closing burst. He is certainly someone to keep an eye on. He has what the college coach's call star potential.
Favorite Schools–IL, MO, GA TECH, and KS.
••• Heath Train 6-2½, 210, 4.7 Rose Hill, KS
He may not be the biggest TE around but he is certainly one of the more dedicated ones.
On Film–Heath really impresses you at both the TE and DE position. He goes at 100% on every play, works hard to get open, and is an outstanding blocker at TE. He also shows very good quickness, lateral speed, and the ability to redirect at DE.
Stats–He had 11 catches for 110 yds and 2 TDs on offense and totaled 43 tackles and 3 sacks on defense.
Other Sports–He is a standout first baseman in baseball.
Grades–His GPA is 3.5.
Favorite Schools–KS, KS STATE, MO, and OK STATE.
•••• Nick Demien 6-6, 300, 5.0 Wentzville Timberland, MO
In person Nick already looks like a college LT.
On Film–He is one of the more dominating OL prospects in the Midland region. A powerhouse of an LT, he is a strong, tough guy who dominates most games from start to finish. He shows excellent technique, footwork, and the aggressiveness rarely seen in 300 pounders, and he stays with his blocks until the whistle. He dominates with straight-ahead blocking, can come out of his stance quickly, make the high reach block, and effectively get out and block at the second level. He has the frame to weigh 320 in college and really works hard to improve his game. He shows good endurance and can move laterally very well for a 300 pounder.
Stats–He earned All-Conference, All-District, and some All-State honors for his play at LT.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0 and scored a 21 on the ACT. Benches 335.
Favorite Schools–MO, NE, AR, CO, OK, IOWA, FSU, UCLA, AL, and WI.
••• Thomas Clark-Kopp 6-5, 260, 5.2 Cedar Hill Northwest R-I, MO
He is not as well known as some of the other top OL prospects but, believe me, this young man can play.
On Film–Big-Country excels at both the OC and DE positions. He prefers to play DE at the next level but I believe he has All-American potential at OC. On offense, he shows remarkably quick feet and excellent body control. He can redirect and block out on the second level, he shows good awareness, and plays the game on his feet. He always seems to get good position and can mirror his man. On defense he shows very strong hands, quick feet, and the ability break through the line and chase down ball carriers.
Stats–He totaled 40 tackles, 3 sacks, and 17 tackles for losses at DE.
Other Sports–He has thrown the shot put over 40' and the discus 120' in track.
Grades–His GPA is 2.7. Benches 335 and has a 21" VJ.
Favorite Schools–IA, MO, TEXAS TECH, PENN STATE, and KS.
••• Taylor Wallace 6-4, 285, 4.95 Kansas City Schlagle, KS
Here is another dominating two-way ball player who actually does appear to have the balance, body control, and aggressiveness to play DE in college but I believe he is better suited to play RG at the next level.
On Film–I watched the Mill Valley game on tape and I was very impressed with Lil-Bits' play in that game. He dominated on both sides of the ball showing excellent speed and burst for a 285 pounder. He is very aggressive, smart, and powerful. He loves to mix it up, shows the ability to redirect, and has exceptionally quick hands. He dominates the point of attack on both sides of the ball. He really improved the last few games of the '08 season and big things are expected of him in '09. He has All-American potential.
Stats–He totaled 24 solo tackles, 6 QB sacks, and 13 tackles for losses at DE.
Other Sports–He averages 16 pts and 8 rebounds a game as a center in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 2.8.
Favorite Schools–NE, KS STATE, KS, and MO.
••• Jordan Rainey 6-5, 310, 5.3 Joplin, MO
A good sized OL with very good initial quickness.
On Film–Jordan gets into his pass sets quickly, can extend his arms, and rides rushers past the pocket. He seems to do everything effortlessly and with good strength. He dominated almost every game in '08.
Stats–Earned All-League honors for his play at OT.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0. Benches 385.
Favorite Schools–Committed to ARKANSAS.
••• Brian Carroll 6-4, 260, 5.1 O'Fallon Ft. Zumwalt West, MO
He is not as well known as some of the other linemen, but believe me this guy plays LT as well anybody in the state.
On Film–He is very athletic with great work habits, he does a great job of finishing his blocks, plays hard until the whistle, and he never lets up. You have to be impressed with his quick feet, body control, knee bend, and his ability to redirect. He had dominated at times at the LT position, and for proof just watch the Jefferson City game. He will add weight and strength over the next couple of years and could make an outstanding OG even though he plays LT in high school.
Stats–He earned 2nd Team All-State honors for his play at LT.
Grades–His GPA is 3.5. Benches 270.
Favorite Schools–MO, KS, KS STATE, IA, MI STATE, MN, and WI.
••• Kelvin Nelson 6-7, 300, 5.3 East St. Louis, IL
A big body with a long wing span and pretty good athletic ability.
On Film–Never discount anyone coming from East St. Louis. This town, per capita, may have more athletes than any other town in the country. This school may have produced Kellen Winslow and Jackie Joyner-Kersey, but there have been many others that have come through the halls of East St. Louis High that have gone onto stardom in the NFL, track, and basketball. You name the sport, they've excelled. Kelvin really came on strong in the playoffs and helped East St. Louis to a state championship. He is not yet a dominating ball player but certainly has the size and quick feet to become one. He can bend his knees, plays the game with a lot of desire, and stays with his blocks until the whistle and is really caught off his feet. He plays LT in high school and could play that position in college.
Grades–His GPA is over 2.0.
••• Joe Burgess 6-6, 290, 5.3 Florissant McCluer North, MO
There is not much more you can ask for than a big guy with pretty quick feet, good strength, and great production.
On Film–Joe plays LT and plays it well. He is a hard working tackle whose coach says he will be a good one, I believe he is already there. He plays the game with a lot of heart, intensity, and a great attitude. He dominated almost every DL he went up against in '08. He shows good natural power, gets good positioning, and is pretty consistent pulling and trapping but once he fires out, defenders have one heck of a time staying on their feet. He is as quick as they come for a 290 pounder and has the frame to weight 320 in college.
Stats–He earned All-Conference honors for the second year in a row.
Grades–His GPA is over 3.0.
Favorite Schools–NE, MO, VANDY, WI, IN, and KS STATE.
••• Drew Liddle 6-5, 305, 5.4 Grain Valley, MO
I don't believe I've ever heard of this town before, but if Mr. Liddle has his way, thousands of football fans will know of it in just a couple of years.
On Film–He proves to be one of the better OL prospects in Missouri. He is a big powerful tackle who could wind up playing guard or tackle in college. He redirects well, shows natural power, has a determined style of play, and goes hard until the whistle. He also keeps his feet moving at all times and plays an aggressive brand of football. He dominated every opponent he went up against last season averaging 10 pancake blocks a game.
Stats–He earned All-District and All-Area honors at tackle.
Grades–His GPA is over 3.5.
••• B.J. Finney 6-5, 280, 5.0 Andale, KS
He is not as well known as some of the area's other top OL prospects.
On Film– B.J. impresses you, you might say surprises you with his quickness off the ball and the way he dominates at the point of attack. He proves to be a very athletic 280 pounder. The coach calls him the best player on his team and I believe he may be the best player in his conference. He has exceptional body control, balance, and quickness.
Stats–He earned Class 4A All-State honors in '08.
Other Sports–He is a superb heavyweight wrestler.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0.
Other Offensive Linemen to Watch:
Drew Gerber 6-3, 280, 5.0 Blue Springs, MO
Skyler Hinton 6-3, 280, 5.1 Columbia Rock Bridge, MO
Kevin Redmond 6-5, 305, 5.3 Florissant McCluer North, MO
Jason Baker 6-4, 290, 5.1 Maryland Heights Pattonville, MO
Anthony Gatti 6-6, 270, 5.0 St. Louis Parkway North, MO
Aaron Arnold 6-3, 265, 4.9 Webster Groves, MO
••••+ Chase Rome 6-3, 280, 4.75 Columbia Rock Bridge, MO
This year I, once again, drove close to 60,000 miles through 47 states. For the life of me I did not find many ball players with the heart, strength, and quickness as Mr. Rome.
On Film–This guy certainly can play the game. He played DE in high school but could wind up as one of those brick-wall DT's in college. All you need to do is watch a couple minutes of his film and you will realize he has great potential. Super strong at the point of attack, he's got quick hands and even quicker feet. His quickness off the ball is uncanny but it is his technique and playmaking ability that impress me. He can redirect and is exceptional in pursuit. He appears to be having fun playing the game and with that kind of attitude he could go all the way to earning 1st Team All-American honors in college.
Stats–He recorded 77 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 caused fumbles on his way to earning All-District, All-Area Dream Team, and All-State honors in '08. He did not play any offense.
Grades–His GPA is 3.0 and he scored a 23 on the ACT. Benches 380 and has a 32" VJ.
Favorite Schools–Committed to OKLAHOMA STATE giving the Cowboys one of their best defensive line recruits in years.
•••+ Kenny McClendon 6-2, 225, 4.6 St. Louis Desmet, MO
If you meet Kenny in person you will understand why I am so high on him. He may not have great size but he has been blessed with exceptionally long arms, quick feet, and a defender's nose for the ball.
On Film–He has a great first step and is very competitive with all the physical tools needed to make the move to either DE or OLB in college. He has proven to be an exceptional pass rusher with big-time closing speed and runs as well as any defensive player in the state. The first game on his highlight film has him making 4 sacks, 7 tackles, and 6 QB hurries; that’s a season for some players.
Stats–He recorded 63 stops, 8 sacks, 12 tackles for losses, and 1 caused fumble in '08 on his way to earning All-Conference honors.
Grades–His GPA is 3.3. He benches 335 and has a 31" VJ.
Favorite Schools–MI STATE, MN, WI, AR, IN, MO, and DUKE.
•••+ Lucas Vincent 6-3, 270, 4.9 Olathe North, KS
There appears to be some pretty good ball players on the Kansas side of the Kansas City border this year.
On Film–He is a good combination of strength and speed. Offensive linemen have one heck of a time blocking him not only because of his strength, but because of his quick feet, balance, and ability to use his hands. He certainly has a defensive mentality and can be a disruptive force along the line. He is better suited to play DT but has played some DE. He shows the power the stand up blockers and find the ball. He plays at a high level at all times.
Stats–He earned All-League and some All-City mention for his play at DT.
Grades–His GPA is 3.2. Benches over 300.
Favorite Schools–Committed to MISSOURI.
•••+ Warren Herring 6-3, 230, 4.9 Belleville East, IL
During my first trip through St. Louis back in early December, area coaches mentioned Warren as a suspect. Two months later he was a full-fledged prospect with several Division I schools interested in him as either a TE or DE.
On Film–I love his ability to play off blocks, his relentless style of play, his quickness in redirecting, and his take-no-prisoners attitude. Just a natural athlete, he's perfectly suited for the DE position. He is very fluid for his size with good natural strength. He shows very good initial quickness, he can get into the gaps and disrupt, and is also very strong at the point of attack. He is a well-rounded two-way end.
Stats–He earned All-League and some All-Area honors for his play at DE. Averaged 14 yds per catch at TE.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5. He has a 28" VJ.
Favorite Schools–Committed to KANSAS STATE.
••• Travis Tuiloma 6-3, 285, 5.0 Topeka Washburn Rural, KS
He is not that heavily recruited at the moment but if he played in Chicago, believe me, he would have some offers.
On Film–He is a big, strong, and explosive 285 pounder who dominates his league from the DT position. He has a lot of upside to his potential. He is not yet a great player but, with his work ethic, size, and explosiveness, he could become one.
••• Neil Shortell 6-4, 240, 4.89 Shawnee Mission Bishop Miege, KS
College scouts have come to this school looking at Justin McCay and also coming away impressed with Mr. Shortell.
On Film–#58 impresses you at both the LG and DE positions. On offense, he certainly shows the kind of agility, balance, and quickness needed to play the position. He just needs to add 40-60 pounds. On defense, he is very good in pursuit, is rarely out of position, uses his hands well, and can run.
Stats–He totaled 70 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 caused fumbles at DE in '08. He dominates the DE position with his strength and smarts.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5. Benches 350.
Favorite Schools–OK, WI, IA, IN, KS STATE, IA STATE, NE, and MO.
••• Alex Bruns 6-3, 248, 4.8 St. Charles West, MO
His coach calls him a definite Division I prospect.
On Film–He is one of those guys who impressed you on both sides of the ball down in San Antonio. He is a hard working 248 pounder who has a chance to be a real good one. A smart and relentless type of player, he is able to move off the ball quickly and shows an aggressiveness and desire to make it at the next level. He has been dominating at times during the '08 season and big things are expected of him this year. He is a good athlete who looks every bit the part. A highly competitive ball player who rarely makes mistakes.
Stats–Earned some All-League mention for his play at tackle on both sides of the line.
Other Sports–He has thrown the shot put over 45' and the discus 135' in track. He also plays FW in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is a perfect 4.0 and he scored a 26 on the ACT.
Other Defensive Linemen to Watch:
Jordan Chrisman 6-4, 260, 5.0 Blue Springs, MO
Raleigh Neher 6-4, 270, 4.9 Jasper, MO
Bryan Dale 6-2, 235, 4.7 Kansas City Park Hill, MO
Mycole Pruitt 6-3, 220, 4.6 Kirkwood, MO
Anthony Williams 6-3, 220, 4.7 St. Louis Gateway Tech, MO
Corey Boehmer 6-4, 270, 5.0 St. Louis Lindbergh, MO
Geneo Grissom 6-4, 215, 4.6 Hutchinson, KS
Brad Hefley 6-4, 255, 4.8 Riverton, KS
Frank Smith 6-3, 280, 5.0 Kansas City Schlagle, KS
Chaquil Reed 6-3, 240, 4.7 Wichita East, KS
Matt Knott 6-4, 225, 4.7 Tecumseh Shawnee Heights, KS
•••+ Trey Millard 6-2, 230, 4.63 Columbia Rock Bridge, MO
He is a leader on the field and perfectly suited for the ILB position.
On Film–He shows tremendous athleticism, has great lateral range, a nose for the ball, good awareness, and excels in backside pursuit. He teamed up with Chase Rome to dominate league offenses in '08. He is a team leader with a bright future.
Stats–He totaled over 100 tackles in '08.
Grades–His GPA is over 2.5.
Favorite Schools–MO, OK, STANFORD, TN, AR, IOWA, and KS.
•••+ Lee Ward 6-1, 238, 4.6 Chesterfield Parkway Central, MO
One of the hardest hitting defensive players in the state of Missouri.
On Film–Lee proves to be an excellent run stuffer and has the quickness and body control to apply pressure on the QB. On offense, he is a power runner perfectly suited for the FB position. The first game on his film has him making 18 tackles, 1 sack on defense and rushing for 120 yds and a TD on offense. He is an excellent two-way player. He has Division I skills at both FB and LB. His defensive film shows a smart leader who moves well, keeps his balance, and does a good job of slipping blocks and finding the ball. He shows enough range to make plays from sideline to sideline. He is a dominating high school backer.
Stats–He carried the ball 110 times for 550 yds and 7 TDs. He recorded 137 stops, 1 sack, 25 tackles for losses, and 4 caused fumbles on his way to earning 1st Team All-State honors at LB.
Other Sports–He has been timed in a 11.2 100 meters and has thrown the shot put 49' and the discus 145' in track.
Grades–His GPA is perfect 4.0 and he scored a 30 on the ACT. Benches 405.
Favorite Schools–His father is a Notre Dame grad. His favorite schools are WI, MO, AR STATE, IA, CO STATE, KS, and NE.
•••+ Abayomi Alli 6-1½, 205, 4.6 Florissant Hazelwood Central, MO
Hazelwood Central took state last season and this year, once again, appear to be loaded.
On Film–#10 is perfectly suited for the MLB position. He is an aggressive downhill runner who makes plays from sideline to sideline. He shows great anticipation, can make tackles outside the box, and can also break down in space and make plays. He is a quick reader and can effortlessly drop back into the passing lanes. He needs to add weight but certainly has the skills to make it at the next level.
Stats–He recorded 161 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pick, and 3 caused fumbles for the '08 season. If you watch his film keep an eye on the Fox game in which Yomi had 12 tackles and 4 tackles for losses.
Grades–His GPA is 3.3. Benches 325 and has a 35" VJ.
Favorite Schools–MO, IA, IN, PURDUE, WI, CO STATE, and KS STATE.
•••+ Markus Golden 6-2, 220, 4.6 St. Louis Affton, MO
He is a two-way star whose game film looks like a highlight tape.
On Film–This guy is a hard-charging, quick-footed TB on offense and a hard-charging, quick-footed ILB on defense. He shows great athleticism, plays the game with a lot of passion, uses his hands well, and can make tackles down field. He does a good job of filling holes aggressively, he uses his hands to ward off blocks, and he is exceptionally quick to the ball. When you watch Markus on film he seems to make just about every tackle.
Stats–He earned All-Metro honors after rushing for 1,320 yds and 16 TDs and totaling 161 tackles and 14 sacks. He has what it takes to become an All-American at the next level.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5.
•••+ Trey Walker 6-4, 205, 4.6 Olathe North, KS
His coach sent along a letter of recommendation saying this kid is a player with a lot of tools. He was also recommended by other coaches in that conference.
On Film–This RB-LB certainly shows the range, speed to the ball, and hitting ability you like to see in an LB. He also shows the ability to break down in the open field and make plays. He can get to the perimeter in a hurry, he is fast, deceptively strong, and instinctive.
Stats– He averaged 10 tackles per game in '08 on his way to earning All-Conference honors. He is also a sure-handed receiver who averaged over 15 yds per catch.
Favorite Schools–Committed to KANSAS STATE.
••• Christian Kirksey 6-3, 190, 4.59 St. Louis Hazelwood East, MO
I list Christian as an OLB because that is the only position he has played in high school. However, some college scouts believe he could make an outstanding FS.
On Film–I watched the district game against McCluer and Chris dominated from the FB and the OLB positions. He shows exceptional range for a 190 pounder, is good in coverage, makes plays outside the box, and is devastating while on the run. He is also a very good lead blocker at FB.
Stats–He recorded 89 stops, 2 sacks, 1 pick, and 3 tackles for losses at OLB.
Other Sports–He has triple jumped 43' 8" in track.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5. Benches 280.
Favorite Schools–MI, MN, IA, WI, PURDUE, IN, NE, and MO.
Tom, are you going to write about this guy? You mentioned you were.
Trey Walker 6-4, 200, 4.6 Olathe North KS
Other Linebackers to Watch:
Josh Williams 6-2, 220, 4.7 Columbia Hickman, MO
Ben Eskelsen 6-2, 235, 4.65 Ballwin Parkway West, MO
Dillon Starzl 6-7, 220, 4.7 Kearney, MO
Ryan Mack 6-3, 220, 4.7 Webster Groves, MO
•••• Jimmie Hunt 6-1, 195, 4.46 Cahokia, IL
Another tremendous prospect from southern Illinois.
On Film–#8 has led the Comanches on both sides of the ball. On defense he is a leader from his SS position and he is a physically gifted SS displaying excellent quickness, range, and leadership skills. A very good open field tackler, he can turn his hips and change directions quickly. Perfectly suited for SS or FS at the next level. He is also a sure-handed receiver on offense who can take the ball the distance. He is strong enough to jam receivers at the line. He does a good job of knocking them off course and staying with them once they are at full speed. He also shows a smooth backpedal and good anticipation. He is almost always the best player on the field but what I really like most about watching him on film is his aggressiveness, work ethic, and believe me, he's a big-time hitter.
Stats–He recorded 93 tackles and 10 sacks in '08. He also caught 35 passes for 905 yds and 11 TDs.
Other Sports–He has been timed in 10.8 100 and a 22 flat 200 meters and has long jumped 22' in track.
Grades–His GPA is over 2.0.
Favorite Schools–Committed to MISSOURI.
•••+ Don Shumpert 6-3, 175, 4.5 St. Louis Hazelwood East, MO
Listed by some as an LB, but he played FS during the '08 season. At 175 pounds he is better suited to play that spot in college.
On Film–He does a real good job of anticipating throws, usually gets to the ball at its highest point, takes good angles when in pursuit, he can turn his hips, and is a physical 175 pounder. I watched the playoff against Waynesville and believe me, Don took the game over in the second half totaling 13 tackles. He can run and he shows very good instincts.
Stats–He recorded 59 stops, 4 sacks, and 3 picks at FS. He also caught 14 passes for 250 yds and 3 TDs. He earned All-Conference, All-Metro, and All-State honors on defense.
Other Sports–He averages 16 pts and 9 rebounds a game as an SFW in basketball.
Grades–His GPA is 3.4. Benches 225.
Favorite Schools–MN, IA, IL, OH STATE, WI, IN, PURDUE, and MO.
•••+ Brian Walker 5-10, 170, 4.5 Florrissant Hazelwood Central, MO
One word to describe B.J. is ball-hawk.
On Film–He shows great footwork and vision, has super quick hands, and excellent make-up speed. B.J. may not be the tallest DB around but he is certainly one of the more productive ones. He's a superior talent and is very difficult to beat in one-on-one situations. Very physical for his size, he plays the FS position like he is an LB. He is quick in transition, does a good job in pass defense, and seems to do everything effortlessly and smoothly. He just always seems to be where the action is.
Stats–He recorded 113 tackles and 8 picks on his way to earning All-Metro honors. He plays big in big games. In the Hazelwood East game he had 2 picks, 7 solo, and 3 assisted tackles.
Grades–His GPA is 2.5. Benches 275 and has a 36" VJ.
Favorite Schools–IA, MO, IL, PURDUE, IN, and IA STATE.
••• Jordon Jenkins 5-10, 178, 4.5 St. Louis Vashon, MO
He is a Division I prospect at either WR or FS.
On Film–#7 shows great hands on offense, runs precise routes, and knows how to get himself open. He is also very familiar with the end zone. He uses his speed to help spread a defense and once he gets a half step on the defender it's all over. On defense, he shows outstanding cover skills. He is not a real physical FS but he should wind up playing CB. He can turn his hips, is fluid in his movements, and once the ball is in the air, Jordon is always around it. His film shows him dominating the Hickman and Chaminade games from his FS position.
Stats–He caught 22 passes for 636 yds and 12 TDs averaging over 25 yds per catch. On defense he totaled 12 solo tackles but picked off 5 passes and broke up 12 others at FS.
Other Sports–He has been timed in an 11 flat 100 and a 23 flat 200 meters in track. He was 10 and 3 as a wrestler this winter.
Grades–His GPA is 2.7. Benches 285 and has a 31" VJ.
Favorite Schools–MO, IL, KS STATE, KS, and IA STATE.
Other Defensive Backs to Watch:
Devin Hedgepeth 6-1, 170, 4.5 Derby, KS
E.J. Gaines 5-10, 165, 4.5 Independence Ft. Osage, MO
Sal Belfonte 5-10, 190, 4.55 Kansas City Rockhurst, MO
Jordan Presberry 5-10, 170, 4.5 Maryland Heights Pattonville, MO
Mark Harrison 5-11, 180, 4.5 Raymore-Peculiar, MO
Jarred Williams 6-0, 205, 4.6 St. Louis Normandy, MO
Jylon Spraggins 5-11, 170, 4.5 East St. Louis, IL