D.J. Hord wasn’t the biggest name on the Rockhurst football team Nov. 29, 2002, but he might have made the biggest play.
Hord, a wide receiver, had a state championship game record 81-yard touchdown reception against Lindbergh that helped the Hawklets win a state title and helped him gain a new level of attention.
“That kind of started it all,” Hord said.
Hord will be a senior in the fall, and, with running back Tony Temple heading to Missouri, is poised to become the team’s offensive star. Missouri recruiting analyst Jon Kirby said Hord could be the top-ranked player in the state when his rankings come out and would be one of Missouri’s top in-state recruiting targets in a 2005 class that has plenty of potential stars.
Kirby said Gary Pinkel and his staff are in a good position with Hord and the state’s top prospects.
“I think they can get everybody,” Kirby said.
Hord has offers from Missouri, Kansas and Boston College and has been told to expect an offer from Louisiana State soon.
Hord said that hearing from these schools, as well as others such as Florida, has been surprising.
“I was like, ‘Dang, I didn’t know it was going to be this big,’” Hord said.
Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said Hord’s size and speed are what draw colleges to him.
Horn is 6 feet 1 and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and a 10.3 100 meters.
“Everything’s a numbers game,” Severino said.
Hord said Temple, who will play along with former Rockhurst player Steve Redmond at Missouri this season, has tried to bring him to Columbia.
“(Missouri’s) on my list,” Hord said. “I’m just really open right now.”
Hord is not the only Rockhurst player getting attention; defensive end Allan Smith has offers from the same three schools.
Smith, a 6-3, 205-pound lineman, runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and was an All-State selection. Kirby said Smith could end up right behind Hord as the No. 2 prospect in the state.
Severino said Smith could be a defensive end or linebacker in college but would be able to pressure the quarterback at any position.
“You just move him around, let him get off the edge and let him get up the field,” Severino said.
On the opposite side of the state, Hazelwood Central has a pair of prospects comparable to Horn and Smith. Running back A.J. Jimmerson rushed for 1,445 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. He also had 536 yards and four touchdowns receiving. Jimmerson has offers from Missouri, Kansas and Michigan State.
“He’s got to be one of the best players in the state,” Hazelwood Central coach John Pukala said.
Defensive end Frank Burrell was a St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro selection after making 91 tackles with 20 sacks last year and has offers from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
“He just has a motor that goes 1,000 mph,” Pukala said.
Although Pinkel has only been able to sign one player, A.J. Kincade, from Hazelwood Central, Kirby said that should not hinder him this year. Kirby points to last year, when Missouri came close to signing Hawks defensive back Nick Patterson before he picked Ohio State, as a reason to be optimistic.
“Although he didn’t go to Missouri, it could have gone either way,” Kirby said.
Pukala said that though St. Louis used to be primarily a Big Ten recruiting area, that is changing.
“The Big 12 is doing a better job than those guys right now,” Pukala said.
Kirby said the defensive and offensive lines will be top areas of interest for Missouri in 2005. Along with Smith and Burrell, McClure North’s Steve Davis, Blue Springs’ Jaron Baston and Park Hill South’s Cory Meachum will be among the state’s best on the defensive line.
At offensive line, Blue Spring’s James Stigall, Rockwood Summit’s Jeff Weffelmeyer and Francis Howell’s Lance Reams will be some of the top targets.