The state's top high school football player will attend college close to home.
Ottawa High standout Caleb Blakesley (6-foot-5, 280 pounds) gave Kansas University coach Mark Mangino an oral commitment Saturday after attending the Jayhawks' preseason practice.
"I went to several camps this summer, and Caleb Blakesley was hands-down the best college prospect in the state of Kansas that I saw," said rivals.com recruiting analyst Jon Kirby, who confirmed the commitment Saturday night. "He is a big, strong, physical kid. He's so big and strong, it could be a toss-up whether he plays offensive tackle or defensive end."
Most interested schools wanted Blakesley as an offensive lineman --he helped Ottawa running backs Jason Houston and Dom Nation combine for more than 2,000 rushing yards last fall. But Blakesley's father, Greg, said his son would prefer to play defense in college, and KU recruited Caleb Blakesley as a defensive lineman.
Blakesley also had scholarship offers from Wyoming and Tulsa, and was receiving interest from Colorado State, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Northwestern, among others.
In addition to being close to home, Kansas was the first school to offer the lineman a scholarship after its spring game April 18.
"He'd been to their camps and knew the coaches well," Greg Blakesley said. "They had always shown interest. ... Kansas State told him at camp that they were going to offer him, but they never did after that. They kept in contact, but they hadn't made their offer yet."
Caleb Blakesley, who couldn't be reached for comment Saturday night, didn't want to wait much longer. The senior didn't want the distraction of recruiting after the Cyclones open the season Sept. 3 at Spring Hill.
"He's real excited," Greg Blakesley said. "I think he made up his mind that he would do it before the season and get it out of the way. We're real pleased with his choice."
Blakesley also is a track and field standout. He won the shot put at the Kansas Relays and the Class 5A state meet as a junior.
Blakesley is KU's third in-state commitment and fourth overall. The others are: La Puente, Calif., lineman Jose Rodriguez (6-6, 255), Kansas City Washington defensive back Darrell Stuckey (6-1, 180) and Newton lineman Adam Welty (6-6, 270).