Thursday, July 30, 2009

Top Sunflower League Prospects by Year

I did a little research into the prospect database to see the Sunflower League players that have been considered "Division-One Caliber" over the past decade. Unfortunately, did not start ranking prospects nationally until 2002, so the Division-One players from the early 2000s and before do not appear. Here is what I came up with on a year-by-year basis since the class of 2002. Another thing to keep in mind is that "Division-One Prospects" are not necessarily the best players in the Sunflower League. Rivals rankings are based on potential, and not always production.
*Players listed in bold received Division-One offers in high school.

Maurice Mack, Olathe North
Royal Whitaker, Olathe North
Jonathan Lamb, Olathe North
Whittaker Potts, SM East
Mack was ranked by as the 30th best cornerback in the nation, although he went on to play linebacker at Kansas State...Whitaker (right) had a Big Ten offer from Minnesota, but elected to play D1-AA football at Southern Illinois...John Lamb had a successful career as a safety and receiver at Kansas after he earned a spot as a walk on.

Jim Bouknight, Olathe North
Roy Loren, SM East
Andy Schumm, SM South
Derrick Newman, Lawrence
Adam Venegas, Olathe North
Brandon McAnderson, Lawrence
Beau Gadwood, SM Northwest

Venegas went on to have a dominant career on the offensive line at North Texas...McAnderson starred as a running back for Kansas, and helped the Jayhawks to win the 2007 Orange Bowl...despite rushing for 2,793 yards and winning the Simone Award as a senior, Bouknight did not go on to play Division-One football.

Ryan Torain, SM Northwest
Josh Lawrence, Lawrence
Todd Haselhorst, Olathe East
Mike Rivera, SM Northwest
Dain Dillingham, Lawrence Free State

Haselhorst was one of the most highly recruited offensive lineman in the Midwest as a senior, and he went on to play at Kansas...Rivera enjoyed a dominant career at SM Northwest before moving on to player linebacker at Kansas, and now the NFL, where he plays for the Chicago Bears...Dillingham had several offers for football, but elected to attend Drake University to player both football and basketball...Torain didn't receive an offer out of high school, but eventually made it to Arizona State after a couple JUCO seasons at Butler C.C...Torain is now in the NFL as a running back for the Denver Broncos.

Mack Brown, SM North
Connor McKay, SM South
Andre Jones, Olathe East
Adam Booth, Leavenworth
Ian Handshy, Lawrence

Brown attended Colorado for a year before head coach Gary Barnett was fired...Brown is now the starting quarterback at Baker University...Jones was probably one of the best players I have seen in the Sunflower League that didn't go Divison One...Handshy (right) eventually made the Kansas roster and has contributed sparingly over the past few seasons.

Tyler Lawrence, SM West
Derek Miller, Olathe East
Brady Croucher, Olathe South
Anthony Hill, SM South
Justin Pessetto, SM Northwest
Scott Penny, Lawrence
Nathan Hickey, Lawrence
Brandon Lassiter, Lawrence

Hickey and Lassiter both went on to play at the Air Force Academy...Lawrence backed up Todd Reesing at Kansas for three years before completing his degree a year early, and leaving the team as a junior...Hill missed out on his entire senior season due to a knee injury, but he now plays receiver for Oklahoma State...Miller has been a dominate safety for D1-AA Missouri State for several years now...Pessetto is an offensive lineman for Kansas after walking on several years ago.

Dee Bell, Olathe East
Brian Murphy, Lawrence Free State
Ryan Murphy, Lawrence Free State
Christian Ballard, Lawrence Free State
Mike Ruder, Lawrence Free State
Jervon Graves, Olathe South
Victor Butler, Leavenworth
Blake Lawrence, SM West
Dorian Williams, Olathe East
David Leonard, SM West

The class of 2007 was as loaded in terms of talent as any class over the decade...Ballard went on to play defensive end and Iowa, and was a starter there last season...Ryan Murphy (right) plays cornerback at Kansas, while his twin Brian Murphy transferred from Kansas to Emporia State to receive more playing time...Lawrence has received quite a bit of playing time at Nebraska and is penciled in to start in 2009...Leonard has been a focal wide receiver for Wyoming for several seasons now...Jervon Graves has started at defensive end at Utah State since his freshman season...Bell plays running back at Kansas State but still hasn't cracked the top of the depth chart...Ruder had an offer to Wyoming during his senior season before he tore his ACL in a pick up basketball game...Ruder now plays defense at D1-AA Missouri State.

Alex Carder, SM Northwest
Will Brown, Leavenworth
Travis Tannahill, Olathe East
Nick Williams, Olathe Northwest
Terrence Thomas, SM East
Aaron Sawyer, SM North
Jarard Milo, Olathe Northwest

Although deep in talent, the class of 2008 lacked alot of Division-One offers...Milo had an early offer to Minnesota, but he never ended up accepting it and he is now playing at Butler C.C...Tannahill is currently a tight end at Kansas State...Carder plays quarterback at Western Michigan.
Jake Byrd, Olathe South
Justin Scott, SM West
Kevin Young, Olathe North
Grahm Saunders, Lawrence Free State
Darron Harvey, SM West
Mark Fancher, SM Northwest

Fancher (right) received a late offer to play at Air Force where he will be a receiver this upcoming fall...Scott and Harvey both had offers from Army, but Scott elected to play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Harvey at Butler C.C...Kevin Young had offers from all over the nation and ultimately decided on Kansas after decomitting from Nebraska.
Michael Lisher, Lawrence Free State
Lucas Vincent, Olathe North
Tre Walker, Olathe North
Dallas Buck, SM North

So far, the class of 2010 only has four players listed as potential prospects, although that list is sure to grow during the season...Vincent committed to Missouri in April to play defensive line...Walker has committed to Kansas State.

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