Scout was on hand for three Missouri high school football games in the last week. Thursday pitted Lee's Summit North against Winnetonka, Friday saw Webb City clash with Rockhurst, and on Saturday Helias Catholic defeated Hannibal.
While seniors like Winnetonka athlete Marquise Doherty, Webb City offensive lineman Dalton Ford and athlete KiAnte Hardin, Rockhurst tight end Charlie Heck, and Helias Catholic tight end Hale Hentges stood out, a lot of the focus was on the next group of football prospects in the state.
The top underclassmen seen in action last week was actually a 2017 prospect in Kansas City (MO) Winnetonka safety Djimon Colbert. He wasn't overly productive on the night, as he plays cornerback for his high school squad and was rarely challenged. The one time he was challenged he came away with an interception.
What makes him a top prospect and an early four-star at this stage is his measurables. He's 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds already, an exceptional athlete, very good speed, and improving strength. He's very easy to pick out on the football field.
Rockhurst possesses two FBS caliber offensive linemen in the 2016 class in Brendan McConnell and Claudio Martin. They didn't have their best day last Friday against a Webb City defensive line that was quicker, hungrier, and more physical. McConnell is an offensive tackle that is still figuring out how to maneuver his body. He doesn't have the exceptional feet or length to be a left tackle, but could line up at right tackle or play on the interior. He'll have to continue to work on his strength and physicality.
Martin's game focuses on power and he has it in droves. He's better when running in the open field and attacking, but has to learn how to produce power and strength off the ball a little better. He's the son of a former NFL offensive lineman.
The top prospect for Rockhurst is 2016 athlete A.J. Taylor. He lines up on offense at running back and in the slot, and plays outside linebacker on defense. At only 5-foot-10, his future resides on the offensive side of the ball. He's a playmaker with the ball in his hands, has a lot of wiggle and elusiveness, pretty quick with good vision, but needs to continue to get stronger to take the beating and run between the tackles with regularity. Taylor is a natural pass-catcher and that could be where his future lies.
Hannibal has a duo of prospects in the 2016 class worthy of recruiting attention and it's already beginning for them. The budding star of the two is offensive lineman Dylan Powell. His natural instinct is to be a mauler and he isn't the picture perfect offensive tackle, so the interior of the offensive line is in his future. He may be able to play right tackle in a pinch.
As a run blocker he's a force, using his power and strength to immobilize defenders on a consistent basis. The only time he was beat on a run play the entire night against Helias Catholic was when he was matched up with future Alabama star Hale Hentges coming off the edge. Powell is a devastating run blocker but has some development to go through as a pass blocker, as it's something he has not been asked to do very often.
The second of the duo at Hannibal is defensive back Jerry McBride from the 2016 class. It is a bit striking how small McBride is still, but very athletic. He'll have to be a cornerback at the next level and has the hips for it. It'll all be about how McBride matures physically, as he has a lot of development left to look the part. The speed and athleticism make him a prospect of note, though.