Coast-to-Coast: Iowa/Missouri

Originally Published: October 20, 2006
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts Inc.

Some pretty good players call Missouri and Iowa home, like Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, a Missouri native, and Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, an Iowa native. These two states are really the recruiting grounds of the Big XII, Big Ten and mid-major programs in the area.

Top Iowa and Missouri Prospects
NAME POS GRADE
Logan Gray (MO) QB 82
Michael Keck (MO) DE 79
Jordan Bernstine (IA) S 78
Tyler Nielsen (IA) OLB 78
Michael Baker (MO) OLB 78
Marvin McNutt (MO) QB 77
Chris Earnhardt (MO) DE 77
Deandre Gilmore (MO) S 76
Donald Stephenson (MO) OT 76
Colin Sanderman (IA) WR 76
Every now and then, schools will travel this way for its talent, like Georgia did this year for quarterback Logan Gray (Columbia, Mo./Rock Bridge), who has given a verbal commitment to the Bulldogs.

Missouri has two ESPN 150 players this year and the state of Iowa none, though The Hawkeye State still has good talent like safety Jordan Bernstine out of Lincoln High in Des Moines.

Top recruit

Logan Gray, Quarterback
Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.)
Verbal: Georgia

The nation's No. 5-ranked quarterback plays high school ball in the shadows of the University of Missouri but decided to head to the deep South to play his college ball. Gray verbally committed to Georgia back in July, a puzzling move considering Matthew Stafford, last year's second-ranked quarterback, is already there.

As far as having to battle last year's No. 2-ranked quarterback for playing time, Gray says, "It does not frighten me at all. I am a big competitor."

Georgia thinks Gray can bring a new dimension to the Bulldog offense. He is every bit as good a runner as he is a passer -- and he is a pretty good passer. As a junior, he threw for 25 touchdowns and more than 2,100 yards.

His very good arm strength and quick release allow him to be a pocket passer, but if he breaks the pocket, he can be a nightmare to handle because he is so fast and explosive. He can create when things break down and take it to the house if he gets loose.

Player under the radar

Michael Baker, Outside linebacker
Cardinal Ritter (St. Louis)
Verbal: Miami-Ohio

Baker may not be the fastest or most athletic player in this class or even in his own state, but he is a football player's football player.

A coach's son, Baker plays multiple positions, from quarterback to safety to linebacker. While he may not blow you away with his natural ability, he has a knack for getting around the football and making plays. In college, he will most likely settle in as a full-time linebacker.

He is physical, does a good job taking on blocks and is a good tackler. He is solid in coverage, but his weaknesses may be handling man-to-man responsibilities.

Miami-Ohio landed a very good player in the early going of putting together this year's recruiting class. They have on their hands a player who understands how to get things done on the field, and he could be another one of those mid-major players that has people a few years from now asking where he came from.

On the trail

It must be recognized that Georgia came into a state they seldom recruit and landed the top player in Gray. Overall though between these two recruiting areas, the University of Iowa has to be looked at the leader to this point.

Naturally, they are doing very well within their own borders. They have commitments from four of the top eight players in the state. The Hawkeyes though have also landed a top-five prospect from the state of Missouri in quarterback Marvin McNutt (Hazelwood, Mo./Central High).

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Tom is a college football and recruiting studio analyst for ESPNU.

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