Coaches love them and players may love them even more, because those moments – when all eyes are focused on just a pair of prospects – are when the biggest impressions can be made.
Late in the evening Friday night, a pair of the most talented offensive
and defensive line recruits in the State of Kansas were doing battle
under the lights at Memorial Stadium, and turning heads in the process.
The event: University of Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill's first "Friday
Night Lights" skills camp.
The drill: A fairly typical pass-rushing contest. A towel, representing
the quarterback, was placed five yards behind a pair of giants – one
o-lineman and one d-lineman.
When Jayhawks offensive line coach J.B. Grimes blew his whistle, the
defensive lineman tried to get to the towel. The offensive lineman
tried to stop him.
The combatants: Jordon McCallister, a 6-foot-2, 304 pound center/guard
from Junction City (KS) High School, and Jordan Phillips, a 6-foot-6,
290 pound defensive tackle from Towanda (KS) Circle High School.
McCallister knew who Phillips was. Heck, everyone in attendance knew
who Phillips was, as he has received a fair share of publicity as
arguably the most talented high school football prospect in the State
of Kansas, second perhaps only to Gardner Edgerton (KS) High School
quarterback Bubba Starling.
The combatants settled into their stances. The whistle blew and, as
expected, the ultra-athletic Phillips burst off the line of scrimmage
in the blink of an eye, surging to his right before attempting a swim
But McCallister shadowed the taller player every step of the way, using
superior leverage to get underneath Phillips and fight him off,
stonewalling him until the whistle blew again – to the appreciative
cheers of Grimes.
The two would battle a number of times during the one-on-one portion of
the evening. Phillips won some, of course, but McCallister claimed his
fair share as well.
All in all, the Junction City product was happy with his camp
"I just moved my feet, did everything I was taught to do and just did
my job as an offensive lineman," McCallister said. "He's a very good
defensive lineman and I look forward to going against him again."
Recruiting is starting to pick up for the talented interior line
prospect, who wears a blonde mohawk and bears the attitude on the field
to match. Though no official offers have come down the pipe, Kansas,
Kansas State and Michigan State – among others – are keeping a close
eye on him.
In fact, McCallister will attend a team camp in East Lansing, Mich. in
the coming weeks, where the Spartan coaches have told him they will
have the chance to see if he looks as good in person as he does on film
– possibly earning that first Division One scholarship offer.
Right now, however, the Jayhawks and Wildcats stand neck-and-neck at
the top with him, as he would prefer to stay closer to home if given
"I'd like to stay close," McCallister said. "I live in Junction City,
so it's pretty close to where they're at. And just the atmosphere. I've
been around it since I was young, so I'd just kind of like to try and
Here's what Scout.com Midlands Recruiting Manager Greg Powers had to
say about McCallister's performance Friday night:
"McCallister was not an unknown commodity coming in to the camp, as he
already held a couple of offers, but I certainly did not expect to see
him manhandle defensive linemen the way he did. He does not have the
ideal size, but he plays with a lot of passion. He got a lot of close
instruction from the staff and got a lot of work in at center, a
position that may suit him well moving forward in to college. He had
some nice match-ups with Jordan Phillips, who is rated as the top
prospect in the state, and more than held his own."
Bull Market For McCallister Stock at KU Camp
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