Bledsoe storms toward D1

Senior receives offers from D1 colleges, as well as invitation to bowl game


Ian Jones

Bledsoe celebrates a teammate’s success. “We really have to take everything because nothing has been handed to us,” he said. “Everyone works really hard and has a great mindset.”

By Kansas Gibler

Run a Google search of “Amani Bledsoe” and you’ll get more than 4,000 results.
From his personal Twitter account to profiles on Hudl, ESPN and Yahoo Sports, Bledsoe’s recruiting presence is hard not to see.

Autumn for most high school athletes is the beginning of the season, getting into practices and playing rivals. For Bledsoe, a senior defensive lineman, it has meant cutting his list of Division I schools to accept an offer from, while spending his weeks in and out of practice and accepting an invitation to play in the Semper Fidelis Bowl.

The Semper Fidelis Bowl is put on by the American Marine Corps. Players are selected through interviews with coaches along with national rankings and game stats. The invitation was among many honors that Bledsoe has received or is set to receive.

“He’s a highly recruited kid, and we knew he was going to receive a lot of honors, he’ll receive a lot of post-season honors also, whether it’s All-State or All-American or whatever,” varsity football head coach Dirk Wedd said. “He’s just a very talented young person, and he’s so unselfish and such a good teammate. He’s just a great person, so any honors that he gets are well-deserved over and above being a really good athlete.”

With a name with so many hits, the No. 1 recruit defensive end has had a huge demand. Yet Bledsoe is in a minority of players in this year’s bowl who have yet to choose which university they’ll be accepting an offer from.

The University of Kansas, the University of Missouri, North Carolina State University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Oregon and the University of California Los Angeles are the six whose offers Amani is still considering.

“[It’s important] to find a school that is a good fit for me, what I feel is a good fit for me,” Bledsoe said. “What that involves is feeling like I belong, feel wanted, good relationship with the coaches, good academic programs, good environment. Gotta feel good about it over-all.”

Bledsoe went on an official visit to the University of Oklahoma in October.

“It was fun,” he said. “I had a good time. I went up there with my mom and brother. It was a pretty good experience, a good visit overall.”

Bledsoe’s success came during a strong year for LHS football. The Lions went undefeated in the regular season and won their regional matchup before losing their sectional matchup to Blue Valley High.

“It’s been really exciting,” Bledsoe said. “Lawrence High hasn’t had a year like this in a long, long time. It brings back a lot of memories for a lot of people, and we’re just trying to keep it rolling.”

Bledsoe has come a long way from his first season as a Lion, after being overlooked initially by freshman coaches.

“It took a while for him to grasp this level of football, but he tells this story that he didn’t even start his first freshman football game,” Wedd said. “I think the freshman coaches were missing some obvious talent there.”

Senior varsity tight end Price Morgan has watched Bledsoe progress at Lawrence High.

“It’s been great, we’ve been playing together since freshman year,” Morgan said. “He justs get better and better each year. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Regardless, the highlight videos online show a young athlete with even more potential.

“He’s got a bright future,” Wedd said. “His best football is still ahead of him. He’ll get bigger and stronger and faster. He’s got a great work ethic. That’ll take him a long way. Like I said earlier, he’s a great character kid. You put all that in a package, and that’s a pretty good recipe for success.”