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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lions’ Bledsoe open-minded about college destination

Lawrence High defensive lineman Amani Bledsoe looks to the student section as he celebrates a stop by the Lions against Shawnee Mission Northwest, Friday, Sept. 26  2014 at Lawrence High School.

Lawrence High defensive lineman Amani Bledsoe looks to the student section as he celebrates a stop by the Lions against Shawnee Mission Northwest, Friday, Sept. 26 2014 at Lawrence High School.

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Lawrence High football coach Dirk Wedd has a new nightly routine these days. He picks up his phone to call up lineman Amani Bledsoe and talk about the junior’s schedule for the coming day.

Tuesday night, Wedd reminded the 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive end that coaches from Oregon, Iowa, Arkansas and Oklahoma would be dropping by to say hello to the four-star recruit, Rivals.com’s No. 1-rated player in the Sunflower State’s Class of 2016.

According to Rivals, the senior-to-be already has scholarship offers from Florida State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and more.

“Every day is total chaos with that many schools interested in him,” Wedd said. “And they all think they have a shot, because he’s basically open-minded to everything.”

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Lawrence High lineman Amani Bledsoe is recognized by Army SSG. David Benton on Wednesday afternoon at LHS as one of 400 nominees nationwide for the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

At this juncture, Bledsoe, recognized Wednesday at LHS as one of 400 nominees for the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, has no short list or timetable for making his decision. In his words, his recruitment is “wide open.”

Brief as his encounters are with coaches from all over the nation, Bledsoe likes that he can start to establish some relationships and get a feel for different programs that are interested in him.

“It’s pretty crazy, but it’s also fun at the same time,” Bledsoe said. “You’ve just gotta find that balance.”

It can all become a bit overwhelming at times. Wednesday the coveted Lion couldn’t even remember which schools he met with the prior day.

Bledsoe has yet to establish any favorites or publicly name any specific coaches or programs that have impressed him.

“They’re all kind of the same right now,” he said.

According to Wedd, the quiet young lineman carries himself with modesty and all the other qualities coaches look for in a player.

“He’s amazing. He’s handling it really well,” Wedd said. “At some point he’s gonna have to whittle it down to a workable number.”

Bledsoe said he’s still trying to decide which universities he’ll visit. He did, though, attend KU’s spring game a couple weekends ago and met defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux.

“I definitely see a change in how stuff’s working around there with (head coach David) Beaty,” Bledsoe said. “I feel more energy with the players and coaching staff. That’s what I like to see.”

While receiving attention from some of the most prominent programs in the nation, Bledsoe also hears occasionally around Lawrence from people who don’t want him to leave the city.

“It goes back and forth. There’s people that don’t want to get in your hair and let you make your own decision,” the junior said, “and then you’ve got those people who are like, ‘Come on. You can be a hometown hero.’”

Bledsoe and Wedd will keep busy throughout May, as more coaches come to visit. Plus, each program can make a call to the recruit.

The high-profile lineman with the low-key attitude won’t rush the process.

“I’m just gonna do what’s best for me,” Bledsoe said.

Comments

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 8 months ago

I really hope this isn't another local kid that bugs out...

Phil Leister 6 years, 8 months ago

All this talk about making in-state recruiting a priority... If Beaty can't land the kid whose high school is basically on KU's campus, it'll be a huge disappointment.

Waylon Cook 6 years, 8 months ago

KU has one hell of a staff in place. If they can't land this kid, then it probably wasn't meant to be. Glad to see he seems so level headed.

Joe Ross 6 years, 8 months ago

Would be a good sign for Kansas recruiting if we could get one in our own back yard.

Steve Hilker 6 years, 8 months ago

It would be a good signing. My kids didn't want to stay in their own back yard. They wanted to "get out of town". He may as well. Hope he stays. But he may just want to see somewhere else for a change. Hard to find fault with a kid that wants to spread his wings. I hope he chooses KU. But, I get it if he wants to see what's out there. Away from the parentals.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 8 months ago

Bledsoe would huge get for KU. Even if KU doesn't land Bledsoe, I wouldn't be disappointed if he went to KSU. Both KU and KSU have struggled to keep top level recruits in state and it would be nice to see a recruit of Bledsoe's caliber stay in state even if it's KSU.

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 8 months ago

No place like Lawrence. I'm a Chicago now BayArea Jayhawk.If he handles himself and puts in the work he can go anywhere he wants for over half the year. Please, stay and help. KU needs you!

Jim Stauffer 6 years, 8 months ago

If he goes elsewhere it will most likely be due to the current condition of the team. Thank you Coaches Gill and Weis.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 8 months ago

Coaches Gill and Weis are responsible for the former condition of the team.

The roster may be light, and we've lost way too many players from previous classes, but Amani comments on the current coaching staff making a significant change in the current condition of the current team.

It is to our advantage that he is being patient with his recruiting. It gives him a chance to see this staff develop the inherited players, while also being great recruiters and bringing in a whole batch of fresh blood with a full recruiting period. More top recruits than ever are looking at KU, and more than a couple will likely choose to turn around our program with these coaches.

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