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March 22, 2008

Missouri Academy brings out talent

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Many of the Midlands' best players, including 10 of the top 15 players from Missouri, were on hand Saturday for the Rivals.com Five-Star Academy at the University of Missouri.

The event was highlighted by two elite prospects including Rivals100 running back Ronnie Wingo Jr. from St. Louis University High.

Wingo, who is ranked as the nation's No. 52 player, measured in at 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds.

He looked even better physically than he did just recently at the U.S. Army All-American Combine and seemed to really enjoy his time in Columbia.

Wingo said he wasn't really in a position to list favorites quite yet, but he rattled off a list of impressive offers from teams like Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa.

Wingo said a school's academic prestige, campus lifestyle, coach experience, early playing time, girls and program stability will be the reasons why he picks a school.

Another four-star prospect that made it Saturday was Kansas City Rockhurst dual-threat quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

Scheelhaase, who won the Simone Award as Kansas City's top player last fall, is now officially up to 11 offers from Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Stanford, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Wake Forest, South Florida and Ole Miss.

The offers from the Rebels and Bulls are his latest, but when it came to name favorites, Scheelhaase listed Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Stanford, Missouri and Ole Miss as his top six.

Scheelhaase continues to get bigger and stronger, measuring in Saturday at 6-foot-3 and 184 pounds. He's grown an inch since last spring's NIKE Training Camp.

When he walked through the door, if you weren't paying attention you would have sworn that Darris Ford from Hazelwood East was already in college.

Ford passed the eyeball test - just like he did at the U.S. Army All-America Combine - like nobody at the event.

Measuring in at 6-foot-4 and 273 pounds, it was easy to see why Ford has already picked up scholarship offers from Mizzou, Minnesota and Kansas State.

Ford listed Missouri as his clear-cut leader with Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kansas State in his top six.

Ford, who earned first-team all-league honors as a junior, said he would like to commit early in the summer and it looks like the Tigers are going to be tough to beat.

Montee Ball of Wentzville Timberland is also shooting up the charts in Missouri, and the bulldozer back is racking up more and more offers.

Ball, who measured in at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, recently added a scholarship offer to Northwestern to go along with offers from Mizzou, Kansas and Iowa State.

Ball listed Mizzou, Kansas, Iowa State, Northwestern, Nebraska and Illinois as his top teams.

Two other impressive big-body prospects there were Tyler Evans of Stafford, Mo., and Jack Meiners of St. Louis Chaminade.

Evans, who earned all-state honors in Class 2A as a junior, looked great coming in at 6-6 and 299 pounds.

Evans already has a scholarship offer from Mizzou, but he listed Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas State, Nebraska and Kansas as his top teams. He plans to camp this summer at Oklahoma, Kansas State and Nebraska.

Meiners, who measured 6-6, 314 pounds, has offers from both Kansas and Missouri, listed the Tigers and Jayhawks as his leaders.

He also had K-State, Stanford and Notre Dame in his top five. He plans to camp at Missouri, Kansas and at the NIKE Camp this spring and summer.

One of the most impressive looking players on film in the state of Missouri is quarterback Jordan Webb from Union.

He reminds many of Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing because of his size (6-0 and 204) and his ability to create both with his arm and his legs.

And it's no surprise the Jayhawks jumped out of the gate early and offered Webb, who threw for more than 4,308 yards as a junior. Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and Stanford are his top six teams, and he listed academic prestige as the top factor in his college decision.

One of Missouri's early commitments was also on hand. Linebacker Andrew Wilson of Raymore (Mo.) Raymore-Peculiar measured 6-4 and 230 pounds. He committed to the Tigers early after earning first-team all-state, all-metro and all-conference honors in 2007.

Other talented top Missouri players that were there included defensive end Brooks Mosier (6-4, 236) of Lee's Summit West, receiver Keith Langtry (6-2) of Rockhurst, cornerback E.J. Clark (5-10, 191) of St. Louis DeSmet.

A few top out of state prospects were also there.

They included Scott Criss of Omaha (Neb.) Creighton Prep (6-4, 240), Colby Duranleau of Wichita (Kan.) Northwest (6-5, 280), Jake Morin of Overland Park (Kan.) St. Thomas Aquinas (6-5.5, 283), and Ian Knight of Wichita (Kan.) Heights (6-1, 241).

Knight was one of the bigger surprises of the event. Even though he wasn't near the originally listed 6-foot-4, he definitely passed the eyeball test, and with offers from Illinois, Iowa State and Tulsa it'll be interesting to see how he looks on film.


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