COLUMBIA — A tall, menacing figure patrols the secondary during defensive drills at Hickman football practice. Jeff Treadway, a senior safety for the Kewpies and a team captain, goes about his business casually, letting his play speak for itself.
But Hickman coach Arnel Monroe said Treadway is someone worth making some noise about.
"He's the best kept secret in central Missouri," he said.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensive back can run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, but Monroe said he is going unnoticed.
"He's D-I," Monroe said. "If a coach is looking for a safety who is smart and likes to hit people, he's a great kid, I think he'd be a great addition to a college team."
Treadway's size gives him the ability to guard large receivers, which he showed off by out-jumping a receiver and making an interception earlier this season during a road loss at Helias Catholic.
"He's a great athlete," Monroe said. "Jeff can dunk a basketball easy, and I saw him make one of the best interceptions I've seen in 18 years of coaching."
Treadway knows that his size gives him an advantage.
"Yeah, sometimes it's an advantage," Treadway said. "It's only tough when there are faster guys who can juke a lot."
Treadway said he would like to play football at the next level, but he isn't letting the next step bother him. He knows his teammates and coaches have confidence in him.
"Some of my teammates are being recruited, and I see how it effects them," Treadway said. "I just try to focus and not think about it. Coach Monroe started me last year when he could have started a few seniors and I know that he and the other coaches believe in me."
Even though he is one of the finest athletes on the team, he said he doesn't think he has been overlooked by college recruiters.
A simple remark from Monroe explains Treadway's attitude.
"He's humble," Monroe said.
At the end of practice, the players come together in a large huddle.
"Kewpies, on me," Monroe shouts.
"Hey," each player yells in retort, and they form the huddle to conclude the day as a group.
Somewhere in the mass of bodies is Treadway. Lost in the crowd, but somehow unavoidably noticeable.