Football recruiters all across the country are making their way to the tiny town of Howard, Kansas which features a population of just under 700. In Howard, you will find 8-man Division I West Elk High School, which features one of the top football prospects in Kansas for the class of 2016, Isiahh Loudermilk.
A few months ago we wrote an article about how Loudermilk was starting to turn heads as he was picking up a few early offers. Wyoming became the first one back in February, followed by Kansas and Kansas State. Fast forward to a few months later and the 6-6.5 262 pound lineman/athlete now has exploded with 10 FBS offers. Loudermilk now has offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“Its been unbelievable and very exciting for everyone around it. Couldn’t happen to a better young man. Deep down we thought he could do this, but I’ve been blown away by the national attention and it's not stopping." West Elk Head Coach Chris Haag said.
So what makes this 8-man lineman from West Elk High School so special that he is gaining the interest of college coaches from nearly every major college conference in football? The key word here is versatility.
"He can play tight end, nose guard, defensive end, offensive line, long snap, he even kicks off sometimes. What makes him is he can play a lot of positions and he plays multiple sports. That adds value to him for recruiters, if he were to ever have to make a position change in college he would be ready for it. I think where he really shines is on the interior lines whether its defense or offense. It depends on what team is recruiting him whethere he is being looked at for offense and defense or both." Haag said.
West Elk has had some good athletes over the years, but never a division one coach walking through the hallways.
"Arizona State was one of the first to come through here and I told their coach he was the first division one coach to ever walk through the hallway at West Elk. He then told me when it was all said and done with Isaiahh he definitely woudln't be the last." Haag said.
The coach from Arizona State was definitely right as recruiting interest hasn't shut off for Loudermilk since it started back in February. So how does a high school junior handle all this national attention?
"Hasn't changed him one bit. That's the best thing about him. He appreciates any offer he gets whether its a division two or FBS. He just wants an opportunity to play college football." Haag said.
In a day and age of social media, YouTube, and HUDL it is definitely safe to say it helped in bringing this kid out of 8-man Kansas to the national recruiting scene. Even a list sent to college coaches of top prospects is a technique that was used in generating an early offer for Loudermilk. We live in a day and age where sometimes you have to put yourself out there and it can spread like wildfire after a few offers come in.
"It's been a little bit of everything. Someone sent a list of top players in Kansas to Wyoming and it generated enough interest for them to reach out to him. From then on it kind of exploded. I have sent some emails and when I did some of the coaches didn't know about him and not much longer after some of those emails offers came in." Haag said.
Loudermilk is also an exceptional basketball player. Leading the state of Kansas in rebounds as a junior this year pulling down over 14 per game. He is also a great student with a 3.8 GPA.
"He has a really good GPA, he has an ACT I believe of 24 or 25. He's been cleared academically to Vanderbilt, so that gives you an idea that he's a very intelligent kid." Haag said.
Opposing players are probably ready for Loudermilk to graduate. Matching up with a kid over 6-foot-6 and overly strong in the weight room isn't any easy task, especially in the lowered enrolled 8-man classification.
"No disrepect to anyone, because there are some very good players in our league, but there's nobody in our league that can match up with him. I've seen him throw around 6-foot-1 250-pound kids like rag dolls." Haag said.
So when its all said and done this small town Kansas prospect could see his offers double from what they are now.
"I've had some college coaches say it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the mid to high 20's for FBS offers. We are really enjoying all the attention and it couldn't happen to a better kid." Haag said.