Recruiting: several Kansas athletes commit before season

Hays QB Alex Delton (5) has committed to Kansas State. (Photo: Everett Royer
By: Mark Schremmer for
Sep 23, 2014

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While it will never garner the attention of Texas, Florida or California, the state of Kansas is receiving its fair share of the college football recruiting spotlight.

A year after Olathe South’s Braden Smith (Auburn) and Hiawatha’s Peyton Newell (Nebraska) received an elaborate amount of NCAA Division I scholarship offers, a large number of Kansas athletes verbally committed with D-I schools before their senior prep seasons even started.

Here is a look at some of the Kansas high school seniors who have reportedly announced verbal commitments with college teams:

A.J. Harris, Blue Valley, OL, Missouri

Harris, a 6-foot-3, 297-pound offensive lineman, verbally committed to the Missouri Tigers in April. He is considered the No. 1 recruit in Kansas by and ESPN Recruiting Nation. Both organizations consider Harris a four-star recruit. touts him as the No. 19 offensive guard prospect in the country. ESPN gives Harris a scout grade of 80 and considers him the nation’s 272nd-best high school recruit overall and No. 22 at his position.

From ESPN: “Harris should have a long successful career as an offensive lineman at the BCS level of play. If a redshirt year isn’t deemed necessary, he could provide early depth while earning early playing time.”

Alex Delton, Hays, QB, Kansas State

Delton, a 6-0, 187-pound quarterback, committed to Kansas State in February. The Hays speedster is listed as the No. 4 recruit in the state by Rivals and No. 6 by ESPN. He entered his senior season with nearly 2,000 yards passing and more than 1,300 yards rushing in his career. Rivals considers Delton the No. 16 dual-threat quarterback in the nation.

From ESPN: “He makes a lot of plays for this offense and is a great fit for the spread offense that wants the quarterback to be a part of the running game.”

Josh Moore, Olathe North, TE, Ohio State

The 6-5, 250-pound tight end verbally committed with the Ohio State Buckeyes in July. Moore is listed as the No. 3 recruit in the state by ESPN and No. 5 by He offers the combination of size and athleticism that Division I colleges are looking for in a tight end. ESPN rates Moore as the No. 13 tight end in the nation.

From ESPN: “Moore is a prospect that could potentially contribute at several positions. Listed as a TE, he also plays on the D-line and could receive interest on that side of the ball and could also potentially develop at OT.”

Ryan Willis, Bishop Miege, QB, Kansas

Willis, a 6-4, 200-pound quarterback, verbally committed with the Kansas Jayhawks in May. He follows in the footsteps of Bishop Miege graduate Montel Cozart, who is now the quarterback at KU. Rivals touts Willis as the No. 3 recruit in Kansas and the No. 20 pro-style quarterback in the nation. Willis passed for 284 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win over Class 6A’s Blue Valley.

From ESPN: “Willis is your prototypical pocket passer that is still growing into his frame. Needs to be in an offensive scheme that the ball is delivered from within the pocket and on time to be at his finest.”

Evan Applegate, Mill Valley, OL, Kansas State

Applegate, a 6-6, 270-pound offensive lineman, verbally committed to the Kansas State Wildcats in August. ESPN and Rivals both rank him as the No. 7 recruit in Kansas.

From ESPN: “We feel that Applegate is a developmental size prospect with a bright future. He displays good athleticism and flexibility for a big man. Will need time and a redshirt year to grow physically while polishing technique.”

Scott Frantz, Lawrence Free State, OL, Kansas State

The 6-5, 285-pound lineman verbally committed with K-State in June. He is rated as the No. 5 recruit in Kansas by ESPN and at No. 6 by Rivals. Rivals also considers Frantz to be the No. 66 offensive tackle recruit in the nation.

From ESPN: “Frantz is a very physical run and pass blocker. If a redshirt year is not deemed necessary, he could provide depth at the tackle spot.”

Christian Gaylord, Baldwin, OL, Nebraska

Gaylord, a 6-7, 285-pound offensive lineman, committed to his childhood favorite Nebraska Cornhuskers in February. He is considered the No. 2 recruit in the state by Rivals and the No. 4 recruit by ESPN. Rivals lists him as the No. 41 offensive tackle in the country.

From ESPN: “We like his athleticism and toughness. We see a lineman with a bright future once a redshirt year is spent maturing physically and polishing technique.”

Blake Peterson, Washburn Rural, QB, Texas State

Peterson, a 6-3, 195-pound pro-style quarterback, verbally committed with Texas State in June. The three-sport standout passed for 775 yards while rushing for 476 yards as a junior. Texas State is coached by Kansas native Dennis Franchione. ESPN ranks Peterson as the No. 15 recruit in Kansas.

From ESPN: “Peterson is a solid mid-major prospect with his size and impressive accuracy.”

Denzel Goolsby, Bishop Carroll, RB, Kansas State

The 5-11, 190-pound running back verbally committed with the Wildcats in June as an athletic prospect. ESPN considers him the No. 9 recruit in the state. He has been clocked at less than 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Goolsby could play a variety of positions at K-State.

From ESPN: “Runs upright in traffic but doesn’t back away from contact. He is a good finisher, showing toughness from sideline to sideline.”

Marcel Spears, Olathe North, LB, Iowa State

Spears, a 6-2, 205-pound linebacker, verbally committed with the Cyclones in July. Spears recorded 122 tackles and 11 tackles for loss as a junior for Olathe North. He is ranked as the No. 10 recruit in the state by Rivals and No. 11 by ESPN.

From ESPN: “This guy is a tough competitor with an intense motor. Shows the ability to bring the arms and legs through when finishing to generate short space power.”

Other top recruits in Kansas who have yet to commit with a team include Pittsburg running back and defensive back Alex Barnes, Wichita Trinity running back Tyler Burns, Derby defensive back Darreon Jackson and Kansas City Piper linebacker Colton Beebe.


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