Monday, August 13, 2012

Most Highly Recruited Sunflower League Players of the Last Decade

Braden Smith.  MaxPreps.
Braden Smith
School and Class: Olathe South, 2014
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height and Weight: 6-foot-6, 285 pounds
Offer List: Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia 

The Skinny: Smith has become the most highly recruited player from the Sunflower League of the last decade and beyond.  With a confirmed 15 FBS offers in hand, Smith is one of the nation's most highly-touted juniors and the offers should continue to roll in.  The scary part is that he's just a junior and he's only going to get bigger and stronger in the next year and a half  that remain of his high school football eligibility.

Lucas Vincent
School and Class: Olathe North, 2010
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height and Weight: 6-foot-3, 280 pounds
Offer List: Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, San Diego State, Wisconsin
College Choice: Missouri 
The Skinny: Despite a host of offers, Vincent decided to end his recruiting process early, committing to Missouri in April of his junior year.  He went on to lead Olathe North to a state title that fall, anchoring the Eagle's defensive line.  A torn pectoral muscle earlier this summer will probably keep him from seeing much playing time this fall at Mizzou.

Kevin Young
School and Class: Olathe North, 2009
Position: Defensive End
Height and Weight: 6-foot-5, 230 pounds
Offer List: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, SMU, UCLA, UNLV, Washington State
College Choice: Kansas

The Skinny: Young was a pariah at Olathe North and never received the attention you would expect a kid with 10 FBS offers to receive from the media.  He initially committed to Nebraska, but then changed his mind and committed to Kansas.  Besides a few remnants of his name is the Lawrence Journal World, he remains a pariah.

Christian Ballard.  LJ World.
Christian Ballard
School and Class: Lawrence Free State, 2007
Position: Athlete
Height and Weight: 6-foot-4, 280 pounds
Offer List: Arizona State, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Oklahoma, UCLA
College Choice: Iowa

The Skinny: Ballard's junior highlight film was okay, but it was the numbers he put up at a Nike combine the summer before his senior season which set off a firestorm on the recruiting trail.  He was the star of the combine, recording electronic times of 4.75 in the forty and 4.62 in the shuttle run.  Those marks, combined with his size, was enough for several of the top programs in the nation to offer.  He initially committed to Kansas, but then changed his mind, decommitted and ended up signing with Iowa.  He is now a member of the Minnesota Vikings after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Blake Lawrence
School and Class: SM West, 2007
Position: Outside Linebacker
Height and Weight: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds
Offer List: Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Texas Tech
College Choice: Nebraska

The Skinny: Unlike Ballard who earned most of his attention through combine numbers, it was Lawrence's junior highlight tape that earned college coaches' attention.  A series of bone-crushing sacks, tackles and hits earned him seven FBS offers.  But that wasn't all--Missouri even offered Lawrence the chance to play quarterback if he was interested.  In the end however, Lawrence narrowed his decision to either Kansas (where his older brother, Tyler, was a quarterback) or Nebraska, ultimately choosing the Huskers.

Todd Haselhorst
School and Class: Olathe East, 2004
Position: Offensive Guard
Height and Weight: 6-foot-5, 290 pounds
Offer List: Arizona, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Tulsa
College Choice: Kansas

The Skinny: Haselhorst narrowed his choices to local favorites Kansas and Kansas State, and ended up committing to Kansas in August of 2003, three weeks before the start of his senior season.  There was talk that had he held out on committing he could have picked up some bigger offers, but he was content getting his commitment out of the way and focusing on his senior season.

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