Midland Recruiting Notebook

Chase Mejia

The Midland Region is set for the Scout.com All-American Combine that will be held Monday (May 14) at the Kansas City Chiefs training facility. Many of the area's top talents will be working out against the very best, and the very best are coming out to try to cement a spot at the U.S. Army All-American Game. We preview the event and take a look at some "Hot News" in this week's notebook.

There are over 120 players set to make the trip to perform at the combine. Many players have made their mark in recruiting circles already, but the combines also provide an opportunity for many players to put their name out on the national level, and this will certainly be the case on May 14th.

Chase Mejia and Alex Carder from Shawnee Mission Northwest High came down to San Antonio in January and were very impressive, and they will be looking to come out and capture the same type of magic again.

Smithville tight end and Missouri commitment Andrew Jones was an All-Combine performer a year ago, and will be looking to take it a step farther this year by trying to nail down combine MVP honors.

Tanner Hawkinson and Spencer Ladner have caught fire lately, and they are going to be coming out to showcase their skills, and show people why they have been some of the hottest names in the region.

Nathan Stanley is on of the highest rated players in the "Sooner State," and he is all set to come out and spin the ball in front of all of the scouts. The quarterback position will definitely showcase some good arms. UTEP commitment Tim Curry is scheduled to be in attendance as well.

Kansas standouts Jarad Milo and Chris Harper are looking to make their mark as some of the state's top players. They have already begun to emerge as national level recruits.

Check back with ScoutCombines.com on Sunday for a complete preview on the players who are scheduled to attend.


Wes Kemp
Wes Kemp , a 6-foot-4, 220-pound wide receiver from De Smet High in St. Louis, Mo., has been offered a scholarship from Kansas State and is impressed with the Wildcats.

"K-State is a great football school and I was impressed with Coach Prince when I talked to him, said Kemp. He seems to be just a down to earth person, and I also like the offense they run and where the program is headed".

The Wildcats aren't the only school after this strong, talented receiver as Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, and Missouri are all hot on Kemp's trail.

"Missouri is a great school and both my Dad and Brother graduated from there," said Kemp. "My sister is going there now. I want to look at all of these schools and make my decision in June."

Kemp has an impressive vertical leap of 37 inches, and benches 325 lbs. while squatting 425 lbs. Kemp also sports a 3.1 GPA and recently scored a 19 on the ACT test.

"The strongest part my game is my yards after catch and following contact said Kemp. I can physically dominate corners because of my size and I can also block good for the running backs. I want to work on my speed in and out of breaks, and I want to get better on playing in man-on-man coverage so I can be ready at the next level."


Gary Pinkel
One of the most glaring positions of strength for the Missouri football program under head coach Gary Pinkel has been the tight end spot, where the Tigers will enter the 2007 season with a pair of possible All-America caliber talents in Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman.

The MU staff has no problem selling tight ends on the positives of playing in its offense, as evidence by the early verbal commitment of Smithville standout Andrew Jones. But the coaches haven't stopped there, as they continue to go after Pembroke Hill standout Spencer Ladner.

Ladner, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior with 4.65-second speed in the 40-yard dash, has about a dozen offers and is beginning to try and sort them out, Pembroke Hill School coach Sam Knopik told InsideMizzou.com.

"I think he needs to, before [narrowing down his selections], check out some of the schools and campuses," Knopik said. "I think [Mizzou] is right in the mix."

"He's going into the process with an open mind and is lining up all of the campuses in different categories."

Ladner had 620 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns last season, earning all-state honors. He also passed for a pair of scores. Missouri was among the first schools to offer him a scholarship, along with Kansas and Kansas State. He has been to MU a couple times, recently visited Wisconsin and will be traveling to Nebraska this month in addition to a trip to Oregon in June for a combine.

Ladner's brother Ben is a defensive tackle at Stanford. While Spencer is quite interested in academics, he's not looking at the Cardinal. Kansas, meantime, has an advantage in that both of his parents attended the school; his father Dale played basketball there. Illinois has also been putting on the full-court press lately. The one link he shares with MU is that Pembroke Hill alum Mark Allnut is the program's director of football operations.

His addition would potentially give MU another version of the Coffman-Rucker combo.

"I think that's big, the way they use tight ends similar to how we use them, and I think he sees that," Knopik said of Ladner, who is also a standout basketball player. "He's fast. I don't know if I'd classify him as a burner [but] he's pretty fast. His hands are exceptional and he really knows how to use his body in space."

Ladner is expected to make a decision some time near the end of the summer. Inside Mizzou will keep you posted on his recruitment.

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