Kansas may not be fertile ground for NCAA Div. I-A football recruits this year, but the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro area is.
Chris Clevenger, a 6-7, 245-pound lineman from Wichita Collegiate, and Lyron Cobbins, a 6-2, 225-pound linebacker from Kansas City Wyandotte, are generally regarded as the only major college prospects in Kansas.
Clevenger narrowed his choices to KU and Notre Dame, then made a verbal committment to the Fighting Irish last week.
Cobbins told the Journal-World he would have considered Kansas, but that Glen Mason and his staff did not actively recruit him. However, according to sources, Kansas did pursue the state's Gatorade player of the year.
Cobbins said he has narrowed his choices to Notre Dame and Miami. The first day national letters of intent can be signed is Feb. 5.
THE KU recruit with the highest profile in the Kansas City area may be Rockhurst defensive back Tony Blevins.
The 6-1, 170-pound Blevins has scheduled a visit to KU on Jan. 22. His other visits will be to Stanford, Notre Dame, UCLA and Alabama. Blevins has been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
"He may be the most-recruited defensive back in the country right now," Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said. "It would be a real coup if they could get Tony. They've got as good a shot at him as Stanford or any of the other schools."
Brian Manning from Ruskin is another defensive back. A 5-11, 165-pounder, Manning has already visited Kansas, Stanford and Illinois. He says he has eliminated the Illini, but will visit Colorado later this month.
"They're one of my tops," Manning said of the Jayhawks.
Missouri's two-time state champion in the large-class triple jump, Manning also has a 3.5 GPA. He said academics would play a large part in his selection. Manning is reportedly leaning to Stanford.
KANSAS IS also in the running for lineman Chris Brown from Hogan. Brown, a 6-5, 250-pounder, has a 3.8 GPA and is class president.
"He went to KU's camp last summer and was really impressed with the staff," Hogan coach Greg Thomas said. "We're impressed with the way the program is structured."
Two other Missouri-side KC Metro players in the Kansas picture are Junior Silverio, a running back from Pius X, and Guy Hodson, a kicker from Blue Springs. Hodson, converted 15 of 17 field goal attempts this season, including a 48-yarder, will visit KU, Blue Springs coach Wayne McGinness said.
Silverio, who rushed for 1,013 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, also is planning to visit if he receives a qualifying score on the ACT. "He really wants to go to KU," said Pius X coach Dan Griggs. "He's put all his eggs in that basket."
KANSAS IS also going head-to-head with traditional powers in pursuit of out-of-state players.
Here's a partial list:
Derrick Chandler, an offensive lineman from Lynwood, Calif. Reportedly favors Kansas over Colorado, Washington, Cal and Oklahoma.
Viliami Maumau, a 6-2, 295-pound defensive lineman from Honolulu. Committed to Washington early, but plans to visit Colorado on Jan. 22 and Kansas on Jan. 29.
Matt Johner, a quarterback from Costa Mesa, Calif. Plans to visit KU on Jan. 15. Also considering Colorado State and San Diego State. Reportedly leaning toward Jayhawks.
Shino Prater, a 5-9, 165-pound defensive back from Arlington, Tex. Reportedly favors Washington, but will visit Kansas (Jan. 22) and Texas (Jan. 29).
Jason Verdugo, a quarterback from Tucson, Ariz. Committed to Arizona State, but plans to visit Kansas on Jan. 15.
Kevin Devine, a 5-11, 160-pound defensive back from LaPuente, Calif. Lists Cal, USC, BYU and Kansas as his finalists.
Leo Perez, a 6-3, 275-pound lineman from Buffalo Grove, Ill. His early list of finalists were Purdue, Kansas, Nebraska, Penn State and Indiana. Perez is not related to former KU offensive tackle Chris Perez.