Omaha Central Produces More D-I Talent

No matter what year it is, Omaha Central seems to produce at least one Division I prospect. Last season Brandon Gunn, an ISU signee, and Cortney Grixby made headlines. In 2004 there appears to be at least two more players prepared to play at the next level.

One of those prospects is 6-foot-5, 265-pound tight end Nate Prader, who is already garnering scholarship offers from big-time programs. The Cyclones and area recruiter Mike Grant are one of those teams in the mix.

"He's being recruited heavily and has been looked at by most of the Big 12 schools in the North," said Omaha Central coach Joe McMenamin, who coached Gunn and former Cyclone JaMaine Billups. "Kansas State, Iowa State and Michigan have offered him. Oklahoma was in Tuesday and it sounds like they're going to offer him. So he's getting quite a bit of attention. He's interested in them all, and is flattered by the attention. I don't think he has a favorite."

ISU head coach Dan McCarney and Grant made a trek to the high school Thursday shortly after spoke with McMenamin.

Prader also plays defensive end, but is likely to be used on offense in college. He caught 20 passes for more than 300 yards as a junior, and combines all of the characteristics coaches covet in a tight end.

"He has extremely soft hands for a big man and just catches everything," McMenamin said. "He's got really good feet and is just basically the prototype tight end that you picture, in that he's a good blocker, and has good speed and hands.

"He was more consistent (last fall). As a sophomore he had potential to be a really good player, but wasn't consistent play in and play out. He improved on that. He was already an excellent pass catcher, and probably improved the most on his blocking."

Prader will travel with his Central team to the Outback Jamboree – a week-long, full contact camp – this summer, and it's likely the standout tight end will hit a few camps at Division I programs.

"I'm not sure what his schedule is," McMenamin said. "I'd imagine he'll probably go to a couple of camps."

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