Two college football recruiters were sitting around Lawrence High coach Dick Purdy's office, Dirk Wedd is saying, watching film and trying to identify possible recruits.
They lower their voices, Wedd says, so he and Purdy won't overhear.
"How many do you want," one says, and the other responds, "I want 12."
"Twelve?" the first says. "I want 13."
Wedd, an LHS assistant coach, laughs at the memory.
There may be 12 or 13 recruitable players from last year's 12-0 state championship team, but it appears none will be headed the major college route.
"Right now," Purdy said, "we haven't had any Division One schools show interest in any of our players, that have been here to see them."
That's not to say there hasn't been interest. Some major colleges have sent out feelers, but it appears, as the Feb. 5 signing date draws closer, most of the recruitable Lions will be headed to small or junior colleges.
"IT'S STILL early," Purdy said. "But in most instances, if a Division One schools would take one of our players, we would have heard from them by now."
Lawrence's top prospects include linemen Travis Green and Aaron Wilmes, running back-defensive back Steve Walker and end J. Paul Mosier. LHS also has several other players with small college potential.
Purdy said he thought he had some Division One prospects, but he wasn't suprised not to receive any offers.
"You're always hoping you'll have some kids become Division One candidates. But those schools pick who they want to pick," he said. "We believe they can play. I think we have some good recruits, but we're also partial to our own kids. We don't see it as realistically."
Evaluation from the recruiting standpoint has also become more difficult, Purdy said. For two years, he was the recruiting coordinator at Kansas University.
SINCE THEN, the process has changed dramatically, thanks to limits on scholarships, visits and the length of the recruiting period.
"Coaches can't go watch Friday night games," Purdy said. "It all has to be done by video tape, which is an inconvenience for the high school coach and the college coach. The span of recruiting time is so short, they can't spend time on the road. I don't envy them at all. They have a tough job. Every error they make hurts severely.
"Recruiting is a lot tougher now than it was. There are fewer scholarships to offer, and they don't have as much contact with players. They don't get to know them as well. A lot of times, a player is taken or rejected because the recruiter got to know his personality."
Much of the leg work is passed on to high school coaches.
"The NCAA in no way has helped the high school coach. It has increased our workload if we want to help our athletes," Purdy said. "I sent out more tapes this year than ever before. Before the football season is over, they have an awfully good idea, at least locally, who they want and don't want."
NEXT YEAR, Purdy expects to have plenty of local interest. He predicts he'll have five players Jason Thoren, Jason Stoffer, Tim Loper, Brad Romme and Charles Graham with major-college potential.
"I'm not partial, as long as we can win, whatever size or shape they take," Purdy said. "But I would think if you had 11 Division One players lined up, it would make your problems a lot easier."
LHS faces some of those troubles next year.
"We've got problems filling some other holes," Purdy said. "We'd better come up with some catchers, or we'll be dead meat."
Andrew Hartsock covers sports at Lawrence High. He can be reached by calling 832-7152.