Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mizzou's Defensive Line Uncovers Hidden Gem

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mizzou's Defensive Line Uncovers Hidden Gem

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, Mo. * College football coaches get all kinds of tips from colleagues on the recruiting trail, but Missouri's Andy Hill knows to listen when he hears from Steve Schottel.

Among his many coaching stops during a career that spanned three decades, Schottel recruited Hill to play for Mizzou in the 1980s.

In 2006, while coaching high school football in Raytown, Mo., Schottel had a young, lean receiver and defensive end who just moved to the area from Iowa. Schottel knew greatness when he saw it.

He called Hill to tell him about Aldon Smith.

Three years later, Smith was the best young pass rusher in the Big 12 and in 2011 became a first-round NFL draft pick.

So when Schottel called Hill in January 2013, Hill made sure to answer. On the other end was the start of what might become the latest example of an unconventional but proven recruiting system that continues to pay off for Mizzou.

Schottel was coaching at Kansas City Central, and over at nearby Lincoln Prep, a Class 3 team with no recent track record of producing Division I recruits, there was another lean, powerful pass rusher. Charles Harris didn't play his first season of organized football until his junior year in high school. He was a more accomplished basketball player.

But Schottel saw the potential. He saw the next Aldon Smith.

Schottel couldn't believe Hill hadn't heard about Harris.

"No one," Schottel said, "was recruiting him."

No one of Missouri's caliber. Harris had offers from lower-level programs Northern Iowa, Missouri Western and Pittsburg (Kan.) State.

Harris was an absolute unknown in the recruiting game. Not one of the major recruiting websites had him listed in their national databases. He never had attended a single camp or combine.

National signing day was a few weeks away, and Hill happened to be in Kansas City when Schottel called and told him to visit Lincoln Prep. …

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