Kyle Prater is a tall, lanky receiver who plays for former Illinois football player Famous Hulbert at Proviso West High School. He went to the Army All-America Combine in San Antonio last January and came away with the top player rating.
Suddenly, schools all over the country are contacting him, eager to add him to their stable of receivers. While he is enjoying the recruiting process, he isn't letting it go to his head or resting on his laurels. He attended the Scout 7 on 7 camp in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend to test his abilities against top defenders.
"The camp is real competitive," Kyle explained. "I came down just to compete with the fellas and have fun. I like it."
The humble Prater wasn't deterred by the talent on the field.
"That's gonna be true all the time. You've just got to fight to get open. I've just got to keep on working. But it's not about me being the best. It's a team effort."
Prater was the top receiver in the camp, grabbing one pass after another against tough guarding. If the quarterback throws it up high, Kyle can grab the ball over the top of any defender. Opponents knew it was coming but still couldn't stop him. He has great hands, long arms, good leaping ability, and excellent speed.
He likes his notoriety at this point and is in no hurry to select a college. His ambition is to be the best receiver, so he is putting in his time working on that goal.
"It's exciting. Last summer I put the work in, and it's really paying off now. I still have my senior year and another offseason to go, so I'm looking forward to it."
Part of that work has involved perfecting his quick cuts on pass routes, no easy task for most long-legged receivers.
"I worked in the off season a lot on making quick cuts. I thank God I was able to put the work in, and it has paid off."
He has also been building his body. A legitimate 6'-4", he towers over most players listed at that height. But he is still working on building up his slender frame.
"I've been in the weight room. I've been putting the work in. I'm up to 205."
Coach Hulbert drove him to an Illinois one-day camp last summer, and he blew away onlookers. What was especially amazing about his effort was what preceded his participation.
"Yeah, we had a morning practice (at Proviso West). Plus, we were on the road. I was scrambled up in the car. I was told I didn't need to run the 40, but I wanted to go ahead and do it. So I ran a 4.6 flat there without warming up. I just went down there with the mindset I wanted to be the best. Of course, I want that all the time."
Prater is also exceptional in that he doesn't play basketball instead of football. Most athletes his height would be on the basketball court day and night, but not Kyle.
"Everyone says, 'He's tall, he's gonna play basketball.' But Randy Moss made the same decision. So I feel I love football, but I like basketball. Those are two different things. I put the work in all the time in football."
Kyle Prater is an engaging personality who commands the respect of his fellow competitors. He will make someone an outstanding receiver. If he continues his progress, he may be a star in the NFL at some point.