St. Louis steals it
In the state of Missouri it's either St. Louis or Kansas City that rule the roost. After a year that saw Kansas City dominate in 2005, St. Louis holds the balance of power in this year's Rivals.com Missouri preseason Top 25. Ten of the top 15 players in Missouri are from the East side of the state.
"As usual Missouri is a state that seems to go in cycles," Rivals.com analyst Jon Kirby said.
"One year the West side has the players, the next year they are all in St. Louis and then another year they are in the rural areas. But it almost always comes down to a Kansas City vs. St. Louis battle, and this year it's all about St. Louis."
The top player in the state is from St. Louis.
Strongside defensive end Adrian Clayborn of Webster Groves, Mo., is a 6-foot-3, 247-pound four-star selection. Clayborn, who is picking between offers from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska and several others, is ranked as the nation's No. 72 player overall.
"There just aren't too many guys around like Adrian," Kirby said. "We seen a lot of good players over the years, but Adrian has that extra special something that makes him stand out above the crowd. When his motor is on, I'd find it hard to believe there is a better pass-rusher around."
The No. 2 spot is home to Nebraska quarterback/athlete commitment Josh Freeman of Grandview, Mo. Freeman, who is also a Rivals100 member, is the top player in Kansas City. Defensive back Phillip Strozier of Rockhurst and defensive end Zach Kendall of Harrisonville are the only other players from the Kansas City metro area that made the top 15. Strozier is ranked No. 6 and Kendall came in at 15 on the list.
St. Louis stars dominated the rest of the top 10.
St. Louis Kirkwood receiver Jeremy Maclin, a borderline Rivals100 prospect, came in at No. 3. St. Louis Desmet Jesuit teammates and Notre Dame commitments Paddy Mullen and Munir Prince are No. 5 and No. 7 on the list. St. Louis Vashon defensive end Jerry Brown came in at No. 9 just ahead of Saint Charles Francis Howell Central defensive end Bart Coslet at 10.
The Missouri Tigers have three of its early commitments in the top 25. Hughesville (Mo.) Pettis County Northwest offensive lineman Tim Barnes is the Tigers' top in-state prospect at this point, ranked as the fourth best player. Columbia Hickman defensive back Aaron Cawlfield is No. 8, just ahead of Coslet at No. 10.
"Missouri knows the easiest way for them to win ball games in the Big 12 is to keep all of the in-state talent at home," Kirby said.
"Gary Pinkel has done a good job of that in Columbia. This year it's going to be even more important for him to land a majority of the rest of these top-ranked players as Nebraska and Notre Dame have already landed a few high quality players."