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Old 05-02-2012, 06:16 PM   #262
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The Art of War: Mizzou goes into Kansas, pulls top '13 tackle

Read more here: http://campuscorner.kansascity.com/n...#storylink=cpy



Blue Valley '13 OT Clay Rhodes (72) grew up a Kansas fan, but play at Missouri.

COLUMBIA | The father could tell his son was falling in love with Missouri all along. Randy Rhodes found some humor in this, since his son Clay – a three-star offensive tackle at Blue Valley High School – grew up a Kansas fan.

But to Randy, Clay’s decision to officially spurn his childhood favorite and commit to Missouri on Wednesday – thus becoming the 10th member of what is shaping up to be a strong 2013 Tiger recruiting class – speaks more to the strength of Mizzou’s sales pitch and coaching staff than anything else.

“Mizzou outrecruited every school that came after Clay,” Randy said, simply.

Rhodes, who stands 6-feet-6 and weighs 265 pounds, chose Missouri over Oklahoma State and had offers from Kansas and Kansas State. He is the fourth ’13 recruit from Kansas City to commit to Missouri since February, and like the others, he mentioned several reasons for his decision.

“Coach Pinkel is great, my position coaches are incredible and I knew they’d treat me like I was one of their own,” Rhodes said. “There’s a family atmosphere, too. There’s guys I want to be around, like Trent (Hosick) and Nick (Ramirez), and I want to be a part of playing in the SEC and winning a national title.”

Hosick, a three-star quarterback at Staley, and a Ramirez, a hard-hitting four-star linebacker from Lee’s Summit West, both committed to Missouri the morning of the Black and Gold game April 14. Both cited the same reasons for committing as Rhodes, who also joins Hogan Prep cornerback Anthony Sherrils as local members of the ‘13 class.

Rhodes credits Hosick, whom he befriended at a recruiting combine a few months ago, for staying in his ear and playing a role in his decision.

“Trent and I talk almost everyday,” Rhodes said. “I’m excited to block for him.”

Rhodes said Hosick, who led Staley to an undefeated state championship in Missouri Class 5 last season, never pressured him to pick Missouri. Instead, he encouraged Rhodes to make the best decision for him, though he wasn’t shy about giving his opinion on the matter.

“He was like ‘Do what’s best for you, but personally, I think you should go to Mizzou because I want to play with guys like you,’” Rhodes said.

Rhodes, who has Missouri grads in his family, also never forgot that Missouri was the first school to offer him a scholarship – an offer that came on the heels of an unofficial visit to Kansas just days earlier.

“Kansas was like the fourth or fifth team to offer me,” Rhodes said. “I got my first offer from Missouri and was like (wow).”

Rhodes told his dad about the offer, which came a couple weeks after the football season, and Randy advised him to wait before committing. He figured a few other schools would join the fray, and he was right.

But Clay’s heart was always with Missouri – at least, that’s how it appeared to Randy.

“We knew Missouri has been at top of his list since his first visit,” Randy said. “But I got my first clue he’d pick them when he visited Oklahoma State. The facilities and coaches there were great, but he was ready to leave at halftime of the spring game. We were driving back to the airport and it dawned on me that he’d made up his mind that day.”

Clay said he was 95 percent sure he’d pick Missouri last weekend, and after some final consideration, he came to the conclusion Tuesday night that he was 100 percent sure that’s where he wanted to go.

“If I were to compares MU, MU and K-State recruiting,” Rhodes said, “Missouri blows them out of the water.”

Now, Rhodes plans on doing a little recruiting of his own. Missouri has offered scholarships to two more prospects from the Kansas City area – Rockhurst offensive lineman Zach Hannon and Lee’s Summit West defensive end Jamone Boyd – and Rhodes and Hannon are close.

In fact, Rhodes said he had a discussion with Hannon on Tuesday night.

“He was curious about what I was doing because it was all over the news, and he wanted to know where I was at in the process,” Rhodes said. “We also talked about where he was at in the process.”

Rhodes didn’t go into too much detail about Hannon’s thinking, but he did reveal his recruiting pitch, one that wasn’t much different than the one he heard from Hosick.

“I said ‘Hey, you’ve got to do what’s best for you,’” Rhodes said. “But I told him I’d love to be his teammate because I know how good he is. We’ll be in touch, still.”

The fact Clay has already started recruiting for Missouri doesn’t surprise his father. Remember, Randy’s known for a while where his son’s heart lies; he’s just happy Clay finally made it official Wednesday.

“I’m ecstatic for Clay and so is his mom,” Randy said. “We just wanted him to find a school he felt comfortable at…and Missouri’s staff has done an amazing job of turning a kid that grew up a Kansas fan into a Mizzou fan.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

Read more here: http://campuscorner.kansascity.com/n...#storylink=cpy
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