Members of the Drake football team aren't letting COVID-19 stop them from working out. Des Moines Register
When Allen Trieu watches tape of a freshman lineman prospect playing junior varsity football, he can usually find clear reasons why that kid wasn't up with the varsity.
He takes plays off.
His first step is slow.
His elbows aren't tight.
But when 247Sports' Midwest recruiting analyst watched tape from Southeast Polk offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor's freshman season, he didn't see those issues. And that's why he's not surprised to see Proctor with four early Power Five offers.
"I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for him," Trieu told the Register.
Proctor just wrapped up his freshman year at Southeast Polk. He's 14. He's also already 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds. Those measurables make up a big reason why Michigan, Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska have already offered, and why programs such as Iowa, Georgia and Missouri are showing interest.
And here's the kicker: He hasn't played a varsity snap. He played at the sophomore level this past fall, where Rams head coach Brad Zelenovich felt he would have the best opportunity to get playing time and develop.
That's why, although it's very early in the process and it's difficult to project three years down the line, Proctor is already showing potential to be a national-level prospect.
"I really did not expect to be noticed this quickly," he said. "There's not really much 14-year-olds that are like that, and then they're not 270 pounds like me."
How did this happen? How did a kid with no varsity experience land on Trieu's watch list of 15 Midwest freshman who could wind up national-level prospects?
Proctor's teammate may have something to do with it.
Rams safety Xavier Nwankpa is a four-star national prospect with offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, Michigan and Michigan State, among others. Coaches flocked to Southeast Polk this fall and winter to see Nwankpa play.
While they were there, it was hard not to notice the 6-6, 270-pound 14-year-old.
As Zelenovich recalls, Iowa in-state recruiter Jay Niemann had a two-word reaction when he saw Proctor: "Holy cow."
"'Hey, you’ve got to check out this freshman lineman we have,'" Zelenovich remembers telling coaches. "And they look at him and he’s 6-6, 265 pounds, and you go watch him dunk a basketball at basketball practice, throw the shot and disc at track practice. He just moves so well.
"He’s got a lot of work to do. I think he’ll be the first to admit it. I think he’s just scratching the surface on learning the finer points of offensive line play and all the things that go along with that."
While it is his strongest attribute right now, Proctor brings more than size to the table. He's a nimble athlete who also plays basketball for Southeast Polk, and he plays both offensive and defensive line on the gridiron.
Proctor also comes from a bloodline of football. His father, Konta Collins, played NAIA football at William Penn in Oskaloosa. He has two cousins in the NFL: former UCLA running back Paul Perkins, who was drafted by the New York Giants in 2016 and is currently a free agent; and former Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins, who just signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams.
Combine Proctor's rare size at his age, athleticism and family tradition in the sport, and some colleges have enough reason to feel comfortable offering this soon — offering based on a projection of what they think Proctor will become.
Kansas State was first to jump in. Offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham called Proctor after his basketball practice on Feb. 21. It was his first-ever call from a college coach. One call … one offer.
Michigan then offered him and Southeast Polk teammates Nwankpa and Jaxon Dailey during a March 1 visit. Iowa State, which hosted him for an unofficial visit back in October, extended an offer a week later. (Proctor also unofficially visited Iowa in December.) And Nebraska offered on March 20.
Proctor hoped to visit Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Missouri this spring and summer, but the coronavirus pandemic derailed those plans. Instead, he's working out on his own and posting videos for coaches to see — such as a clip of him pushing a Ford Mustang 50 yards on grass.
"He's definitely got all the tools you look for," Trieu said. "And I think that colleges have become more and more willing to throw an offer like this out early — get in with the guy and project forward."
Proctor is still processing how his recruiting stock has blossomed in such a short amount of time. He said he was just having fun in middle school football. Then, things felt very real, very quickly once he reached high school, and he was proud of how he adjusted and improved over the course of the season.
But four Power Five offers? He couldn't fathom that six months ago.
"That causes kids to grow up pretty quick," Zelenovich said.
Instead of congratulating himself, Proctor is using his early offers as motivation to live up to the expectations his college recruiters have created. He knows he'll have a target on his back if there's a football season next fall.
"I know that there's going be those defensive ends and defensive tackles that are going to be like, 'Oh, yeah, he's just a young one,' and they think they're going to push me around and stuff like that," Proctor said. "They know I have D-I offers and they're going to come for my head. So it's just motivation — just to let me know that I need to work my butt off so I can go out there and produce for my team."
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
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