At 6’7”, 240 pounds, you would think that Spencer Ladner would be a recruit for Bill Self, not Mark Mangino. Spencer won’t be playing basketball at Kansas like his dad, Dale Ladner, did in the mid 1970’s. Instead, Spencer is turning out to be one of the best tight end recruits in the country. He wasn’t a disappointment Monday night at the Kansas City Scout.com combine.
Comparisons to former Miami Hurricane TE, Greg Olsen, are surely going to follow Spencer around for the next few years. His ability to run routes and blow by defenders while making it look effortless was obvious. He glided around the Chiefs indoor facility and used his basketball background to get his body between the ball and the defender. Although he didn’t get as many balls thrown his way as he would have liked, he did make the most of the opportunities he was given.
With over 600 yards receiving for his high school, Pembroke Hill in Kansas City (Mo), Spencer found himself with 15 offers heading in the Scout.com combine.
The Wolverines will get a visit from Ladner sooner than later it seems. Spencer is slated to go in early June and with the offer, he now has the chance to live out a boyhood dream.
“Michigan is hard to look away from, with about 110,000 people every Saturday at the games and the chance to play in a Rose Bowl”, added Ladner. “I guess you could say I grew up a fair weather Michigan fan.”
Spencer hasn’t narrowed down his choices yet and every school appears to still be in the running. He does plan to narrow down the list by the beginning of the summer. With visits already to Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin, Spencer has a few other visits he will make a priority.
“I’m definitely going to Michigan, California, and maybe Wisconsin again,” Ladner said.
Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma are three more schools that Ladner intends to visit.
Spencer hopes to make a decision by late July or early August because he feels he owes it to his Pembroke Hill teammates to have complete focus on his senior season. With the chances that recruitment could get even crazier in the fall, Spencer would rather get his decision out of the way before his senior season begins. He isn’t afraid to wait if he is struggling with his decision.
“I’m not sticking with that date that a decision has to be made though. I’ll wait it out until possibly signing day if I have to,” Ladner told Phog.net.
With so many schools away from home, it appears that Spencer has no fear of playing far from home in college.
“I’ve always wanted to go to like California and live my own thing, but I could also stay here. I could see myself playing at Kansas or Missouri,” Ladner said.
With on trip already to Madison and a possible second trip looming, Wisconsin seems to be one of those schools far from home that has jumped to the front of Spencer’s mind.
“Madison is a great town. I want to go somewhere where they actually use me. Wisconsin is a place where I could have a good social life and they have really good academics,” said Ladner. They really use their tight ends and the stadiums great, facilities are great, coaches are great.”
With his father being a former Kansas basketball player, Spencer grew up attending many basketball games in Lawrence. On his visit, he attended the Iowa State versus Kansas basketball game in Lawrence and walked away with an offer from Kansas.
“I love Kansas, I always have and the campus is great,” said Ladner on the Jayhawks.
Spencer is also aware of what the Kansas tight end depth could look like in 2008, and that another star tight end, Tanner Hawkinson, is also strongly considering Kansas.
The Jayhawks should have no fear of being cut from Ladner’s list in the upcoming weeks.
“Kansas will be there until the end,” he added.