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March 29, 2004

Midlands stars highlight Junior Day

COLUMBIA, Mo. - More than 80 of the top players in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri attended the Rivals100.com Junior Day at the University of Missouri on Sunday.

There were plenty of Division I prospects on hand that should become household names on the recruiting front this upcoming fall.

Yet there were several recruits that definitely passed the eyeball test and stood out above the others.

For weeks, Rivals100.com has been touting the play-making ability of Blackburn (Mo.) Santa Fe defensive tackle Kurtis Gregory. With scholarship offers already on the table from Missouri and Kansas, Gregory had already established himself as one of the top 10 players in the state of Missouri.

He showed up Sunday and did nothing to disappoint from a physical standpoint.

Gregory measured in at an impressive 6-foot-6 and 287 pounds. Missouri is the clear leader to land the star lineman, however he said he has plans to attend camp at Kansas and Kansas State is also involved with him.

Out of St. Louis, one of the top newsmakers has been A.J. Jimmerson of Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central. Jimmerson reported to Rivals100.com that his height and weight heading into the event was 5-11 and 203 pounds, and he was dead on. Rivals100 measured him at 5-11 and 204 pounds.

Jimmerson already has offers from Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. He listed Missouri, Michigan, Purdue, UCLA, K-State and Kansas as his top teams at this point. Jimmerson rushed for 1,445 yards as a junior.

He'll be one of the top players to keep an eye on in St. Louis in the Class of 2005.

Yet, Jimmerson isn't the only star at Hazelwood Central.

His teammates, Kazeem Ali and Frank Burrell also impressed.

Burrell a 6-1, 198-pound athlete has offers already from Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois and lists Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan as his top teams. Ali, a tight end that measured in at 6-4 and 221 pounds, is getting early attention from Michigan, Wisconsin, UCLA, Notre Dame, Missouri and Illinois.

One player that hasn't been talked about a lot in the state of Missouri so far - but should - is Bonne Terre (Mo.) North County outside linebacker A.J. Haase.

Haase made an early oral commitment to Iowa State and from a physical standpoint he looks like he could step out on the field now for the Cyclones.

Haase measured in at 6-4 and 221 pounds. Haase said he remains committed to Iowa State, but is getting increasing attention from Notre Dame, Iowa, UCLA, Missouri and Kansas State.

He is a huge Dan McCarney fan, and that's why he committed to ISU early in the process, but that might not stop others from attempting to recruit this stud linebacker.

In suburban Kansas City, Blue Springs, Mo., offensive lineman James Stigall has already attracted heavy attention with scholarship offers from Kansas and Missouri. He lists MU as his leader over KU, Nebraska, K-State, Notre Dame and Iowa, and it's easy to see why he'll have plenty of options to choose from.

Stigall measured in at 6-4 and 300 pounds and didn't look a pound overweight. He should easily be able to add more muscle mass and improve his footwork as he heads to the next level.

-One of Kansas' fastest men was on hand at the event. Maize, Kan., defensive back/running back Bryce Perry, who ran an 11.03 in the 100 meters and a 22.76 in the 200 meters as a sophomore, measured in at 6-0 and 175 pounds. Perry earned honorable mention all-state honors last year and is getting plenty of attention from Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Vanderbilt.

-Ottawa, Kan., is home to standout offensive tackle Caleb Blakesley, and the all-area pick as a junior measured in at 6-5 and 270 pounds. He doesn't have any offers yet, but is sure to earn one with the type of attention that he's receiving. Kansas, K-State, Colorado State and Colorado are showing him the earliest attention.

-There was an amazing contingent from the state of Nebraska, with almost 10 players in attendance. Here are some notables measurements: Omaha Creighton Prep quarterback Dan Gorski, - 6-4, 202 pounds; Omaha Millard North fullback Jake Behren, s - 6-2, 221; Millard North offensive tackle Nate Feher, - 6-6, 255; Lincoln Southeast offensive tackle Tyler Peterson, - 6-6, 308; Creighton Prep offensive center Craig Parent, - 6-3, 285; Lincoln East inside linebacker Brent Gritton, - 6-2, 231; Creighton Prep inside linebacker Andy Keith, - 6-2, 216; and Millard North defensive tackle Grant Hajek, - 6-2 and 270 pounds.


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