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November 5, 2002The state of Kansas usually churns out a few Division-I prospects each year. The Class of 2003 will be no different. Currently two of Rivals.com's Top Five players in the state have chosen Big 12 Conference schools to continue their football careers.
Conway Springs tight end Josh Barbo opened the season as the top rated player in the Sunflower State. Barbo continues to hold that ranking and is headed to play for Gary Pinkel's Missouri Tigers.
Barbo's team is 8-0 heading into the first round of the Kansas State playoffs Tuesday night.
Wichita Bishop Carroll quarterback Mike Friess joins Barbo on the commitment list. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Friess is headed to Stillwater to play for Cowboy coach Les Miles.
Friess' season ended early this year with a thumb injury but should be healed completely and back to full health before Christmas.
"Oklahoma State really acted like they wanted me," Friess said. "Iwas their top choice at quarterback, while other schools said I was down the list a ways."
A fairly unknown recruiting target in Kansas is Kansas City Schlagle defensive end Rashaad Norwood.
The 6-foot-5, 211-pound Norwood is currently the No. 2 rated prospect in the state.
Norwood has the elusiveness on the phone many running backs can only dream of. It has been over a month since Rivals100 has been able to speak with him.
"I like the schools that are around here," Norwood said. "They are recruiting me and it just seems good. Missouri and Kansas are working it hard. They've neither offered yet, but they are staying in touch with me. K-State, Colorado State, Nebraska and a few others keep sending me mail."
Wichita Southeast safety John Randle is receiving recruiting attention from schools across the Midwest. He has taken two official visits already and has two more on the calendar.
"I've been to trips to Colorado and Michigan State," the 6-foot, 170-pound Randle said. "I've got trips to Missouri and Kansas lined up for late November and early December. I'm looking forward to my next two trips. And then getting the date finalized for the trip to Manhattan. I'm not sure which weekend in January that will be. I want to get all my trips done and then sit down and see what is the best place for me. Right now, I like what Kansas offers me. I think I can get on the field earlier there and play. They are at the top of the list. Colorado is probably right behind them. That is a good program overall. Then I'd say Missouri, K-State and Michigan State are all right there together."
Xzavie Jackson relocated to Wichita after playing last year in California. It didn't take long for him to make his mark.
"I'm getting calls on him on a regular basis as a lot of coaches around the country have found him again," Heights coach Rick Wheeler told HovpenSports.com. "He is quite an impact player for us."
The 6-4, 230-pound tight end is receiving recruiting attention from Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan State, Southern California, Fresno State and Cal.
"He has been up to K-State for a couple unofficial visits to take in a couple games." Wheeler said. "He'll probably set up his visits after the season."
Jackson has begun to play both ways for Heights late in the season lining up at defensive end on defense.
A few other names to remember in the state include Lawrence High School running back Brandon McAnderson, Hutchinson linebacker Sam Tossie and Riley County safety Jordy Nelson.
McAnderson chose to take the scholarship offer from Mark Mangino's Kansas Jayhawks and play at home.
"Kansas offered me a scholarship and I verbally committed to them," McAnderson said. "They called me the most consistently. They recruited me the hardest."
Tossie who transferred to Hutchinson from Sterling this year is making his mark in Kansas' largest class.
"Tossie is a solid player for Hutch," one scout said. "He makes plays all over the field. He is just around the ball all the time."
Nelson is a great athlete and has drawn comparisons to former Kansas State safety and current New York Jet Jon McGraw.
"Jordy is a very good athlete," Matt Walters of Manhattan (Kan.) Broadcasting said. "He is a lot like McGraw. That comparison happens a lot since they're from the same school. But he is very similar. He's about the same size and plays the same type of style."
Nelson is being recruited by K-State, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado State and Emporia (Kan.) State.
"I would say that if all things were equal between all of the schools, that I would have to go to K-State. But we'll see how it all shakes out over time."