Posted On: 03/18/21 10:11 PM
Growing up around the football world you hear a lot of different terms for the kind of recruits that the Midwest produce and are referred to. They’re all endearing and are meant as compliments, and phrases such as “corn-fed”, “big-boys”, “country”, or “farmer strength/size” are some of the first phrases that come to mind when I hear football prospects being described from states such as Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. For this PrepRedzone feature – the second of its kind – I wanted to lean into these typecasts and share with our readers some of the physically largest and most imposing prep recruits in those three aforementioned Midwest states. We found some GIANTS, and also broke down their film, their game, and where they are at with their recruitment. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
Chris Hood Chris Hood 6'8" | OL East Noble | 2022 State IN (East Noble, IN) OT. 6’8, 320 lbs. C/o 2022. @chrishood68
A First Team All-Conference, All-Area, and Indiana 4A All-State nod are just a few of the accomplishments already earned by the biggest prep on this list in Chris Hood Chris Hood 6'8" | OL East Noble | 2022 State IN . A strong junior season earned him offers from Indiana State, Ball State, Tulane, and Lehigh, and I’m sure more opportunities will come as his 2020 film shows off a mobile giant who has no problem throwing blocks at the second level and is a menace when he locks onto a defender, routinely driving smaller opponents with seeming ease. He overwhelms defenders with his size, but it also looks like he can maintain a good base while gaining depth in his pass-drop and is light on his feet enough to handle speedier rush attempts. For 320 lbs. he’s also pretty lean on film and will be able to add a ton of muscle in a college strength and conditioning program.
Sam Buras (Center Grove, IN) OT. 6’8, 315 lbs. C/o 2022. @BurasSam
The All-County and All-Underclassman MIC selection plays with a wide base when run-blocking has some noteworthy leg drive and chest strength, and his tape shows a good variety of offensive lineman pluses, such as some pass-pro film as well as some reps where he handled twists from opposing defensive lineman. He’s another lean 2022 giant with an excellent frame, and I also like his quick feet who can seemingly adjust and react to inside pass-rush moves and can gain enough depth to handle speed trying to get to the top of the arch. As of right now he only holds an offer from Ball State, but with his potential and upside, I think that list will grow soon enough.
Kiyaunta Goodwin Kiyaunta Goodwin 6'7" | OL Charlestown | 2022 State IN (Charlestown, IN) OT. 6’8, 315 lbs. C/o 2022. @K_Goodwin2022
One of the best 2022s in the nation with a 94 overall rating from 24/7Sports and a crystal ball prediction to Ohio State, Goodwin currently holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Southern California, Oregon, Florida State, and Michigan, Goodwin is a violent and explosive OT with a ton of pop in his punch and an overwhelming strength at the point of attack. For a massive lineman, he’s great at playing with a low center of gravity and when he fully extends his long arms it’s very hard for opponents to not go flying backward. There’s just an incredible amount of positive traits to like, as Goodwin is a really fluid and natural-looking athlete on film who carries his size better than just about anyone you’re going to see in the class of 2022. With a high-profile athlete like the Charlestown product you can really go on and on about what you like from the film, but we’ll end things by saying it’s a pretty good bet we’re going to see this kid drafted into the NFL in a little more than a few years.
Yaser Al-Awadi Yaser Al-Awadi 6'8" | OL Maine East | 2022 State IL (Maine East, IL) OT. 6’8, 300 lbs. C/o 2022. @YaserAlawadi3
Another highly-touted OT prospect and a massive human from the Midwest comes out of Illinois, and not too far from where I live in Maine East’s Yaser Al-Awadi Yaser Al-Awadi 6'8" | OL Maine East | 2022 State IL . He currently holds offers from West Virginia, Toledo, Kansas, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and Bowling Green, and has been hearing from Minnesota, Iowa, and Louisville amongst others. I’ve had my eye on the Park Ridge product for a while, and although we’re still waiting on junior film (T-minus 2 days until KO in IL!), there’s a ton to like from Al-Awadi on his sophomore tape. With a high-motor and good balance, with the ability to engage, drive, and keep his hands on opponents, Al-Awadi is a threat in the run-blocking game and plays tall in pass-pro, with a good initial strike. As a sophomore he really carried his 300 lbs. well, and we’ll soon see how his offseason has been. A big junior season could really elevate him from into the 4star range in his recruitment.
Tyler Uken Tyler Uken 6'8" | OL Mahomet-Seymour | 2022 IL (Mahomet-Seymour, IL) OT. 6’8, 235 lbs. C/o 2022. @TylerUken
Another Illinois product whose junior tape we are eagerly anticipating, Uken’s high school is located a couple of hours southwest of Chicago and his sophomore tape shows off a long, lean, and raw offensive tackle prospect with a lot of physical tools that college OL coaches would be all over. At a lean 230ish, he was able to move and operate out on the edge or in space on a screen or something near the sideline. He would benefit massively from a good offseason in the weight room and at the dinner table, and currently he’s receiving some recruiting graphics from Miami (OH), Dartmouth, and Upper Iowa. Really excited to see what is in store in Uken’s junior season.
Kadyn Proctor Kadyn Proctor 6'7" | OL Southeast Polk | 2023 State IA (Southeast Polk, IA) OT. 6’7, 280 lbs. C/o 2023. @KadynProctor1
Easily one of the best offensive line prospects in the entire United States in 2023, Proctor comes from the highly-touted Southeast Polk program east of Des Moines, who just finished as the Iowa big-school runner-ups in 2020. He earned an offer from Oklahoma today and also has received scholarship offers from USC, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Arizona State, Mizzou, Arkansas, Oregon, Kansas State, Iowa State, Michigan, and Nebraska. His sophomore tape is outstanding, displaying an impressively strong and explosive OT prospect who has a great jump off the LOS and a great understanding of leverage and how to get a defender on their butt. He rocks opponents at the point of contact, particularly in run support, but I’m super impressed by his pass-set and his strength and body control in pass-pro overall. He does a great job of staying square to rushers and making them play a whole man, is patient when waiting to strike with his hands, and can read and react and stay balanced to where he keeps himself in a great body position at every phase in his pass-set. Going against some of the best competition he excelled, and he’s going to be a dominant upperclassman the next two seasons in the state of Iowa.
Richard Myers Richard Myers 6'7" | OL Castle | 2022 State IN (Castle, IN) OT. 6’7, 280 lbs. C/o 2022. @rkmyers22
Although he holds no offers as of yet, Myers is garnering interest from multiple D1s and D2s and showed off some impressive run-blocking skills with the ability to finish blocks as well as potentially operate in a zone-blocking scheme, as I saw him move well laterally when looking for work in pass-protection scenarios. He also is versatile and can play either OG or OT at 6’7 and a powerful 280, and he’s a pretty effective finisher who can also work to the second level and handle faster LBs and small targets. After watching his film I’m actually surprised he doesn’t have more interest at this point in time from FBS schools…potentially we have a massive (literally and figuratively) sleeper on our hands?
Henry Boyer Henry Boyer 6'7" | TE Brother Rice | 2022 State IL (Brother Rice, IL) TE. 6’7, 245 lbs. C/o 2022. @henryboyer17
Although on the shorter side of 6’7, it was hard to leave Boyer off the list, especially due to the fact that he’s coming out of one of the best big-school programs in the state of Illinois. Although we’re still awaiting his junior tape, Boyer is still gathering interest from the likes of Kent State, Miami (OH), Murray State, St. Thomas, Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Penn, NDSU, Tulane, Harvard, and Cincinnati. His sophomore Hudl shows off a dynamic and physical athlete who made impacts as both a TE and DE in 2019. With a strong punch and a good ability to use his hands whether he’s on offense or defense, Boyer is a nightmare for would-be blockers or defenders that get in his way when he’s at TE. He’s got a strong lower body that allows him to eat up cut blocks as well as drive opponents backward, and he’s a natural at working to the second and third levels of a defense as a TE and finding and finishing opponents. Overall he’s a strong prospect who is playing against some great competition in Illinois and has FBS prospect written all over him.
Ben Kuehnast Ben Kuehnast 6'7" | OL Humboldt | 2022 IA (Humboldt, IA) OT. 6’7, 245 lbs. C/o 2022. @Kuehnast_Ball
The Iowa product earned his first scholarship offer from Wayne State College in January, and he has also been receiving interest from Northern Illinois, Grand View, North Dakota, NDSU, South Dakota, St. Thomas, and Yale. In 2020 he was named Class 3A First Team All-District and has an impressive junior Hudl tape that showed off a lean but powerful offensive line prospect who is explosive out of his stance and is a nasty finisher in run-support. Kuehnast also plays DE, and his length and quickness for a guy of his size make him a handful for opposing blockers. I’m a big fan of how he moves at his size, and I think his upside is as promising as any 2022 in the state.
Kyson Van Vugt Kyson Van Vugt 6'7" | DL Western Christian | 2022 State IA (Western Christian, IA) DL. 6’7, 245 lbs. C/o 2022. @kysonvanvugt
A big-time sleeper of a DE/TE prospect out of Iowa comes from Western Christian HS in the giant Kyson Van Vugt Kyson Van Vugt 6'7" | DL Western Christian | 2022 State IA . He currently holds offers from South Dakota and Eastern Michigan and is receiving recruiting interest from Iowa, NDSU, and St. Thomas. In his junior season highlights, I liked his tackling ability and ability to play inside as a 3T or potentially out on the edge. He’s got a good get-off, possesses a strong initial pop that helps him to get would-be blockers away from him before they can engage, and can also engage with opponents, extend his long arms, and read and react to where a ball-carrier is heading. He’s got a strong lower body and has excellent length that he knows how to use to his advantage, and I think his skill-set would be well-suited for DE at the next level. There’s a lot to like in Van Vugt’s tape and a big senior season would help solidify him as a potential target for the likes of in-state powers Iowa and Iowa State.
Carson Rhodes Carson Rhodes 6'7" | TE Nevada | 2023 State IA (Nevada, IA) OT/TE. 6’7, 230 lbs. C/o 2023. @carsonrhodes21
A sophomore who I wrote about a couple of months ago in a special national series I did on 2023 prospects, Rhodes has an older brother who is signed to play college football at Augustana University in South Dakota at the Division 2 level, and those athletic genes definitely were passed to younger brother Carson. In his sophomore tape I was impressed by Rhodes’ frame, blocking ability, and versatility as a prospect. He’s a long, lean, sophomore who is light on his feet and can work to the second level and finish blocks from a variety of positions. He also plays with good technique and has good quickness for big-boy and especially for a young buck. He belongs on varsity, and with his ability to play TE or OT he brings a lot of strong dynamic ability for Nevada’s offense. If he can continue to add weight, hit the weight room hard, and refine his craft he’s going to be a D1 prospect before he knows it.
Gabe Burkle Gabe Burkle TE State IA (Cedar Rapids Prairie, IA) TE. 6’7, 230 lbs. C/o 2022. @GabeBurkle
Also a standout hooper, Burkle holds offers from Indiana, Kansas State, Minnesota, Buffalo, Michigan State, and Iowa State and has the tangibles and ability to grow that list if some more coaches check out his film. In his junior Hudl he displayed an ability to block effectively in open space as well as provide a lot of versatility and line up and run routes as a wideout on Prairie’s offense. He’s quick, with good body control that helps him engage and stay with blocks, and I also like his pass-catching ability and soft hands. He can break off his routes quickly in the pass-game, and also showed that he can pull and combo block as a blocker. Overall it’s easy to see that Burkle is a great athlete at his size who can do many different things on the gridiron, and I think that versatility is a giant plus when looking at him as a potential college football prospect. His film was really fun to watch.
DJ Allen DJ Allen 6'7" | DL Leo | 2022 State IN (Leo, IN) DL. 6’7, 210 lbs. C/o 2022. @DJAllen_42
Demetrious “DJ” Allen is our final giant prospect to make this tri-state list, and he currently holds offers from Princeton, Iowa State, Army, Yale, Air Force, Penn, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Harvard, Buffalo, Ball State, Central Michigan, Bowling Green State, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Illinois State, and Miami (OH), and is also earning interest from Northwestern and Kentucky. Man, what a Hudl Mr. Allen possesses. Big hits, sweet interceptions, and a massive athlete running around like a much smaller prospect open up his junior tape in an incredibly exciting junior tape. With an explosive get-off, strong instincts, the quickness and strength to beat single blockers, and some really impressive power at the point of contact, Allen is a really aggressive defensive player who should definitely be receiving more Power-5 interest. He gets in the backfield so quickly that a lot of the time the handoff is just being completed, and despite being a long and lean 210 lber. he’s got some really noteworthy strength in his arms and chest that allow him to bully blockers and basically have his way with offensive fronts. He’s a one-man wrecking crew and must be a nightmare to gameplan against. I’m going to be eagerly keeping an eye on Allen’s recruitment going forward. One word: stud.
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