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September 13, 2007

From the Road: Cross-town rivals

Rivals.com's staff of recruiting analysts offer thoughts on things they learned while on the road scouting some of the nations top prospects in this week's edition of From the Road. Here is a closer look at some of the sights, storylines and recruiting scoop from the big weekend in high school football.

From the Road Gallery

Jeremy Crabtree, Rivals.com Recruiting Editor
The Rock has another one: Every year college coaches flock to Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst for the top talent in the Kansas City metro area. It looks like the school will be a popular stop again in the 2009 class. Blue-chip junior athlete Nathan Scheelhaase is already racking up the scholarship offers, and after watching him dominate in the second half against rival Blue Springs it's clear the kid is a big-time gamer.

Scheelhaase scrambled for huge gains on fourth down, threw frozen ropes to his receivers and was great in the open field. Down eight points in the third quarter and facing a fourth and 2, Scheelhaase broke free for a 21-yard gain when he juked several would-be tacklers. Then he sprinted around the left end and went into the air to end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. By the time he was done it was crystal clear how special he is and he did enough to help his team rally to a 21-14 victory.

With offers from Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa and many more sure to come, there's whispers that Scheelhaase could be Rockhurst's most heavily recruited player in more than five years. And that's saying a lot because the school has sent some great players to the next level.

Reed impresses in front of coach: Kansas assistant coach Tim Beck was on hand Friday to watch Overland (Kan.) St. Thomas Aquinas three-star athlete Kyler Reed. And Reed did everything you expect from a heavily recruited player, racking up two touchdown receptions.

Reed's first score came on a 4-yard reception and then his second came on another goal-line situation from the 1-yard line. Reed's two scores helped Aquinas jump out to a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter against Raytown (Mo.) South. It was a lead the Saints would never look back from.

Reed, who has offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Northwestern and others, did have a few drops late in the second quarter, including one that would have been a sure touchdown. It's things like that which has several schools recruiting him as an athlete, but he did also made several other really nice grabs in traffic.

But still at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, it's easy to see why schools do like Reed.

Mike Farrell, Rivals.com Recruiting Analyst
Short night: Bethlehem (Pa.) Liberty linebacker Brendan Beal only played a quarter in his team's 55-0 drubbing of Allen on Friday and he took his first official visit of the recruiting season the following day to Boston College. Beal, who hails from New Jersey, was hosted by Garden State legend and former five-star recruit Brian Toal at BC.

The nation's No. 2 inside linebacker enjoyed his visit to BC and has delayed plans to commit this week. Beal will be at Florida this upcoming weekend and hopes to take official visits to Southern Cal and LSU before making his choice in mid-October.

Full weekend: Jeannette, Pa. quarterback Terrelle Pryor helped his team to a 52-12 win over Washington this weekend. The nation's No. 1 player completed 7 of 9 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns while running for 60 yards and two scores as well. Pryor also had a sack on defense and returned a punt 54 yards. He also had a 40-yard touchdown run called back because of a penalty.

The next day, Pryor took an unofficial visit to Penn State and also announced his interest in possibly taking an official visit to Texas. Pryor was contacted recently by Texas offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Greg Davis and liked what he heard about how he'd fit in the offense.

Barton Simmons, Recruiting Analyst
Shelby County showdown: Last Friday night two of Memphis' 5A favorites took the field when the White Station Spartans took on the Whitehaven Tigers. The game may have provided an early glimpse at two of the top public school teams in the Shelby County area.

There was talent on both sides of the ball on the night including Whitehaven wide receiver Marcus Rucker. Rucker is a smooth strider that can really extend a defense with his ability to get vertical. On Friday night he missed a couple of opportunities for deep balls but ended with 5 receptions for 81 yards, spending most of the night working the middle and the sideline for first down grabs. With size at 6-foot-3 and an explosiveness that was on display when he blew up at the Hoover Select 7-on-7 tournament, Rucker is an intriguing prospect. Currently ranked as a two-star, it will be interesting to see who else extends him an offer as his stock rises.

While Rucker was the go-to player in the air, Whitehaven's most productive player on the ground was a class of 2010 running back in Tony Jefferson. The 6-foot-1 back showed some impressive flashes in the first half against a stingy White Station defense but he couldn't outshine the back on the other side of the ball.

White Station's Derrion Sanders was the most active player on the field on Friday night and proved to be the difference in a close 17-14 win. The senior rushed for 178 yards on 29 carries with a touchdown. At only 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, Sanders is a bit undersized, but may be in line for a big senior season after rushing for over 1,600 yards as a junior.

Marcus Rucker highlights vs. White Station
Derrion Sanders highlights vs. Whitehaven

Wright out: Unfortunately, the most highly-recruited prospect on either team, Tenarius Wright of Whitehaven, sat out of the game with a broken ankle that he sustained during two-a-days. Rivals.com talked recruiting with the three-star linebacker who has offers from Ole Miss, Arkansas and Mississippi State among others.

"I would probably say that Ole Miss and Arkansas are my favorites right now," he said. "But LSU said they want to see me play my senior year and I might still get an offer from them. I would definitely like to see them offer me."

A different league: In other Memphis-area action, the state's top recruit was taking on Memphis Treadway on his home field at Evangelical Christian School. Four-star offensive tackle Barrett Jones was in a totally different league than the smaller and less skilled Memphis Treadway team. The halftime score was 41-0 and Jones played no more than one offensive and one defensive series in the second half.

Though it was tough to gauge Jones' physicality against such an overmatched opponent, it was clear that the state's top ranked player moves remarkably well for a kid his size. Fortunately, not all of his opponents will be at such a disadvantage. ECS will play the private school powers in the Memphis area in the regular season and if his team makes the playoffs, he will face some of the top teams in the state.

With plans to see all of his top five play games this fall, the Rivals100 OT has a busy schedule. Jones took an unofficial visit to see Vanderbilt play Alabama on Saturday and he will be following that up with a trip to Gainesville to see Florida play Tennessee this weekend. Jones also has plans to see North Carolina play South Carolina as well as UT-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee. Jones lists his top five as North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.

Means sighting: One notable assistant coach for Memphis Treadwell is a name that Alabama fans will recall. Albert Means, whose recruitment in 2000 landed the Crimson Tide on probation, is an assistant with Treadwell. The former high school all-American out of Memphis Trezevant played at Alabama before transferring to Memphis where he ended a lack-luster career.

Chad Simmons, Recruiting Analyst
Two-sport star: Toccoa (Ga.) Stephens County athlete Ethan Martin is committed to Clemson for baseball, but that is not the only sport he is good at. Martin is also the quarterback for the Indians and he could play football on the next level as well. Last Friday, he led Stephens County to victory over a tough Habersham Central team and displayed the ability to make all of the throws.

He showed touch on screens and swing passes, he showed touch on the deep ball, he threw the ball well on the run outside of the pocket and he could stick it in a tight area when needed in the middle of the field. He is getting attention from Clemson, Georgia Tech and a few others, but if schools were not afraid to compete with the major league baseball draft next June, then they should give Martin a long look. He is a very talented quarterback with leadership, savvy and he makes wise decisions.

Another Bowman to watch: Up in the hills of North Georgia is a talented receiver with a last name that most college football lovers around the country would recognize. Oklahoma State receiver Adarius Bowman is a national name and his younger brother Michael plays at Ridgeland High School in Rossville. He is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and he looks a lot like his older brother in pads. He is already getting attention from Oklahoma State, Georgia, Louisville and others.

Switching sports?: Tory Allen is another athletic defensive end in metro Atlanta. Steven Fowlkes emerged this summer after playing football for the first time last fall and Allen is a very similar player. He stands at 6 feet 4 and he is a thin 210 pounds, but he has the frame to grow. His first love is basketball and that is what he grew up thinking would take him to college, but now he plans to sign a football scholarship if offered.

Georgia and North Carolina have shown interest after he posted four sacks in the first two games. Expect more and more attention to come his way as we get deeper into the season. He is quick, long, tough and athletic, so he will appeal to schools that are looking for pass rushers off the edge with room to grow.

FSU still the school: "I don't care if they lose all their games, that is where I am going," said FSU commitment Terrance Parks of the status of his commitment to the Seminoles. "I grew up a Florida State fan and it is like a dream for me to go there."

Parks is back this fall and he is one hundred percent for the first time in almost two years. He says his ACL is completely healed and he feels good. He has led his Creekside team out to a 2-0 start. When healthy, Parks is one of the top defensive backs in Georgia.

One to watch: Julian Burnette is a 2009 linebacker in Macon, Ga. Last week, he had 18 tackles, multiple tackles for loss and he was all over the field in Westside Macon's big win over Peach County. He is a little undersized at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, but he has a nose for the football, good football speed and he loves to hit.

Schools have already started to show interest and he looks like he could play linebacker or safety on the next level.

From the Road Gallery

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