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HHS baseball splits with Junction City -4/15/2014, 8:08 PM

TMP softball swept at Colby -4/15/2014, 10:10 AM

TMP golf begins season today -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

HHS soccer rallies for victory -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Rare time off for Tiger softball -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

KSU, WSU Barnstormers coming to Hays -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Watson wins Masters -4/14/2014, 10:08 AM

Royals swept by Twins -4/14/2014, 10:07 AM

Harvick wins at Darlington -4/13/2014, 6:51 AM

Royals ace James Shields struggles in loss to Twins -4/13/2014, 6:42 AM

K-State's Deante Burton feels ready to take his game up a notch -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

Former Jayhawks address football team about facing struggles -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

HHS basketball camp May 27 to 29 -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

Tigers’ Wolf second at K.T. Woodman -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

FHSU tennis drops pair of MIAA outings -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

FHSU softball 3-1 in weekend -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger offense shines in Spring Game -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger baseball 1-3 in series -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

Mattheyer jumps onto scene at Ellis -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

HHS golf finishes second in Garden City -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

HHS pitcher, catcher share chemistry -4/13/2014, 7:56 AM

HHS relay team wins Elite -4/12/2014, 6:37 PM

Panama-born Chen closing in on retired Rivera -4/11/2014, 10:29 AM

FHSU set for Spring Game -4/11/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS softball blows by Dodge City -4/11/2014, 10:25 AM

HHS soccer wins in OT -4/11/2014, 10:25 AM

HHS golf fifth in McPherson -4/11/2014, 10:24 AM

Indian swim team ninth at Topeka Invitational -4/11/2014, 10:26 AM

Big win for TMP soccer -4/11/2014, 10:23 AM

Ortiz turns the page -4/11/2014, 10:27 AM

Bill Haas takes lead after first round at Masters -4/11/2014, 10:26 AM

TMP track and field competes at Russell -4/11/2014, 10:24 AM

Rough outing for TMP softball -4/11/2014, 10:23 AM

Royals pick up win against Rays -4/10/2014, 10:27 AM

Victoria’s Nowak decides on Colby -4/10/2014, 10:28 AM

Huser headed overseas -4/10/2014, 10:28 AM

FHSU in the MIAA mix -4/10/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger baseball falls to red-hot Panthers -4/10/2014, 10:29 AM

Embiid to enter NBA draft -4/9/2014, 5:42 PM

Plainville's Wiesner signs for wrestling -4/9/2014, 5:34 PM

FHSU tennis wins at Hastings -4/9/2014, 5:19 PM

HHS soccer picks up big road win -4/9/2014, 11:11 AM

Parker tosses no-hitter in HHS split -4/9/2014, 11:10 AM

Good day at Ellis -4/9/2014, 11:07 AM

Royals drop pitchers’ duel -4/9/2014, 11:12 AM

Embiid announcement expected -4/9/2014, 11:07 AM

Twice as nice — UConn completes title sweep -4/9/2014, 11:04 AM

TMP softball picks up road sweep -4/9/2014, 11:13 AM

TMP baseball splits with Garden City -4/9/2014, 11:25 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Division I schools flock again to Kansas junior colleges

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Division I schools flock again to Kansas junior colleges

Published on -2/7/2014, 10:22 AM

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By DAVE SKRETTA

Associated Press

EL DORADO -- Troy coach Larry Blakeney might as well have bought a house in Kansas. Or at least rented a nice apartment within driving distance of its many junior colleges.

Blakeney has been around long enough to know the number of Division I prospects that schools in the Jayhawk Conference spit out each year. He's gone after many of them in the past, as have more high-profile schools such as Auburn and Florida State.

So it was little surprise that he began plugging holes on next year's team by taking a trip to the Sunflower State. And by the time national signing day rolled around Wednesday, and all the letters of intent were collected, six of his 19 prospects were from Kansas junior colleges.

"We felt like we needed some immediate help in certain positions on defense, and offense," Blakeney said, "and you know, we found the answer we think at the community college level."

Three of his answers came from Butler County Community College, one of the most dominant JUCO programs in the country. The rest came from Hutchinson, Dodge City and Coffeyville.

The six prospects headed to Troy represent a fraction of the nearly four dozen players from the Jayhawk Conference's eight schools to sign letters of intent with Division I schools.

"They have great coaching. They compete at a very, very high level," said Tennessee coach Butch Jones, who signed defensive tackle Owen Williams out of Butler and highly regarded offensive tackle Dontavius Blair out of Garden City Community College.

"We're excited because they're talented players," Jones said. "They've come in already. They're good people, and they have a very, very good skill set already established in terms of the strength and conditioning program and the total development of the individual."

That's one of the lures of community college players: They're ready to step in immediately.

In most cases, they have one or two years of experience -- along with mental and physical maturity -- that gives them an edge over high school prospects. And that means that someone like Blair, whom Rivals.com ranked the seventh-best JUCO recruit in the country, can step into the starting lineup his first year on campus.

This isn't a new trend. The junior college in Kansas have been producing Division I stars for years, many of whom have gone on to sterling NFL careers.

Take wide receiver and return man Cordarrelle Patterson of the Minnesota Vikings, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Two years ago, he was playing for Hutchinson, and then spent a year at Tennessee before electrifying fans on the professional level.

Or take a look at the two teams in the Super Bowl. Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle James Carpenter and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Sylvester Williams both came out of Coffeyville.

There are numerous reasons why players end up at Kansas junior colleges. Some fail to qualify academically, others were lightly recruited -- or not recruited at all. Still others use the JUCOs as a way station between D-I schools, as was the case with Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.

He began his career as a cornerback at Georgia, but was dismissed from the team. Marshall ended up at Garden City, in the quiet and secluded southwest corner of the state, where he was able to focus on school and football. He ultimately switched to quarterback, threw for more than 3,000 yards in his only season and, well, the rest is history.

Marshall led the Tigers to the SEC championship and a spot in the national title game.

He wasn't the only product of Kansas junior colleges to help the Tigers go from 3-9 in 2012 to 12-2 this past season. Defensive back Brandon King, linebacker Kenny Flowers, defensive tackle Ben Bradley and offensive lineman Devonte Danzey all played in the Jayhawk Conference.

"With the community college guys, we're talking about immediate needs that we believe each one of them has the capacity to do fill," said Kansas State's Bill Snyder, who built his program in the 1990s largely on his ability to unearth such talent.

He hasn't stopped, either, landing six more Kansas junior college recruits this year.

Then there's Troy, which actually steered a couple players who failed to qualify to junior colleges, and then were able to keep their pledges. That formed the basis for the six-player haul that Blakeney hopes will be able to help immediately.

"Needs and experience," he said. "We had some needs, we knew we had to address them, and we felt that this was the best way to address them."

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