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July 5, 2006For the longest time both Michael Keck of Harrisonville, Mo., and Logan Gray of Columbia, Mo., have been tabbed as the top two players in the Show Me State. So it's no surprise that Keck, the Rivals100 defensive end, and Gray, the four-star dual-threat quarterback, both sit atop the first Rivals.com Missouri top 30 list. But there are definitely plenty of other surprises littering the list.
Keck, who is 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, is a true elite national prospect. He has offers from programs that don't usually recruit Missouri. When was the last time you saw a team like Alabama on a kid from Missouri? The answer is almost never, which goes to show you how special Keck is.
"Michael is one of a kind," Harrisonville coach Fred Bouchard said. "He's not always had things easy and he's worked his butt off to get to the point where he's at now. There were many times where he could have just let things get to him, but he's not that way.
"There's nobody else like him that I've ever been around. Not only is he an amazing football player, but he's an amazing kid."
At No. 2 on the list is Gray, the talented pass-slinger from Columbia Rock Bridge. He's impressed in everything he's done this spring and summer, whether it's at the Greater Kansas City Football Combine, the Gainesville NIKE Training Camp or at the Elite 11 regional workout in Las Vegas.
Once Gray adds some weight to his thin frame, he'll be one of the more complete quarterbacks in this class. He recently narrowed his list down to Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Missouri, turning down offers from teams all over the country.
The current quarterback situation at each school is something Gray says he's keeping an eye on. The Gators have Tim Tebow entering his redshirt freshman year and got a commitment from a junior college quarterback in this class. Georgia has Matthew Stafford, the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2006 on the way. At Auburn, Neil Caudle was rated seventh on that same list. Missouri has sophomore Chase Daniel ready to take over for the departed Brad Smith.
"It might affect things a little bit. I am looking at it," Gray said. "In the end, though, you can't control who they bring in. These top programs are bringing guys in in front of you and behind you. No matter where I go, I'm going to have competition, so it's not going to be a deciding factor."
Behind Keck and Gray are three players that could eventually all be in the Rivals250 with solid senior seasons. Athlete Lamark Brown is already there now and is ranked as the state's No. 3 player.
At No. 4 is Aron White, a fast-rising tight end, that is Gray's top target at Rock Bridge. A solid summer has him on the cusp of four-star status and he could easily move up with an impressive senior season.
At No. 5 on the list is Marvin McNutt, the talented quarterback that somehow gets overshadowed by Gray. McNutt is an athletic package that has a stronger arm than most people realize.
Blue Springs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson, Jefferson City defensive end Terrell Resonno, St. Joseph Benton defensive tackle Demetrious Davis, Brookfield linebacker Luke Lambert and Raymore-Peculiar offensive tackle Clyde Aufner round out the top 10.
Stephenson made an early oral commitment to Kansas but backed away from that and has opened the door to other teams to recruit him. Resonno is considered to be a Missouri lock. Davis spurned Kansas State and Alabama to commit to Nebraska. Lambert committed to the Tigers back in January and Aufner is heading to Kansas State to play for coach Ron Prince.
Speaking of the Wildcats, K-State has been really aggressive so far in the Show Me State and has landed four commitments from players - Brown (a soft verbal), Aufner, Colten Freeze at No. 20 and Peyton Kirk at No. 23. Another group of Wildcats have also snagged a commitment out of Missouri, this one is the Northwestern variety. Northwestern has the No. 30 player in the state committed, running back Scott Concannon.
Every year the debate rages between which side of the state line has the balance of power in recruiting, but it appears that the state is pretty split between Kansas City and St. Louis this year. St. Louis has 11 players in the top 30, while Kansas City has 10.