Independence (Kan.) Independence C.C. has really made some strong stride as a program the past few years. A big reason why the Pirates are 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Jayhawk Conference this season has to do with the play of blue-chip defensive end David Bedford.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound four-star prospect has been called the "best defensive player in the nation" by several opposing Jayhawk Conference coaches. In the first three games of the season, Bedford had 20 tackles, five sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Bedford is ranked as the nation's No. 9 junior college player overall and the top player in the Kansas juco ranks.
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"David is being heavily recruited by a number of D-I schools," Pirate coach David Ward said. "I'm talking about schools from the SEC, Big 12, ACC and so on. He has already had numerous offers but has not committed to anyone yet. I don't believe that will happen until late and after he takes some official visits."
Bedford is from West Palm Beach, Fla., and is preparing to transfer to a new school in December. Bedford will have three years to play three at the next level. He said recently that he is favoring schools like Arkansas, Western Michigan, Kansas, Kansas State, South Florida and Ole Miss.
Bedford said Arkansas could be the team to beat with him, but he's also going to take his official visits and see how things progress.
"I'm not in any kind of rush," Bedford said. "I want to take my visits and see what they're like, but I'd like to play some place that would get me back in the Southeast. But I'm going to going into my visits with an open mind."
Bedford isn't the only player on the Pirate roster that is attracting a lot of attention. Independence also has one of the nation's top freshmen receivers in the nation.
Heading into last week's game, Andre Simmons had 540 yards receiving in the first four weeks. The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder is a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism that could make him one of the nation's best recruits in the 2009 class.
"Two weeks ago, he was named as the NJCAA National Player of the week when he had 12 receptions for 232 yards," Ward said.
"He was not a qualifier out of high school. He went to a small 1A school and was not very heavily recruited at all. However he, too, is going to be special.