COLUMBIA — Last spring, when Lee’s Summit West football coach Royce Boehm opened the locker room for the beginning of two-a-day practices, he was greeted by a 6-foot-5, 335-pound surprise.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“He said ‘Coach Boehm, my name is Kevin Pendleton and I’m here to win a state championship,’” Boehm recalled with a laugh. “I’m like ‘Hello, Kevin. I’m not turning you away, brother.’”
It took Pendleton, a junior who transferred from Lincoln Prep, a while to learn the Titans’ offensive system. But Boehm says Pendleton became a starter at right tackle by the fourth game of the season and never let go of the job, helping Lee’s Summit West finish 11-1.
Now, Pendleton's rapid ascent continues. A three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, Pendleton verbally committed to Missouri on Wednesday night. Quarterbacks coach Andy Hill, MU’s primary recruiting liaison to Kansas City, served as his primary recruiter.
“What Missouri sees is the same thing we saw from him coming in as junior,” Boehm said. “Mizzou is getting a hard-nosed kid that will do what you say. I bet he was 335 when he got here, now I’d say he’s about 315, 320. He has changed his body a little. And at the point of attack he’s nasty, he’s a finisher too. He loves to finish.”
When it comes to finishing blocks, Boehm said Pendleton reminds him of his son, Evan, who started all 12 games as a true freshman guard at Missouri last season, and Kyle Morrison, who will walk on at Missouri as a freshman guard this season.
“Off the field, he’s a big old teddy bear,” Boehm said of Pendleton. “But on the field, get out of his way — he’s coming after you.”
Boehm says Missouri sees Pendleton, who also had an offer from Memphis, as a guard at the next level, but Pendleton will play left tackle for the Titans next season. Boehm credits assistants Chris Barrows and Joe Oswald for helping Pendleton develop his footwork and technique.
“He wasn’t an immediate starter for us, that’s why he only got a couple offers,” Boehm said. “I think these other schools are going to kick themselves after he goes through the summer with coach Barrow and coach Oswald and they train him up.”
Pendleton is one of four players currently on Lee’s Summit West’s roster with a scholarship offer from Missouri. The others are senior three-star receiver Monte Harrison, senior cornerback Logan Cheadle and junior running back Ryan Williams.
According to Rivals, Harrison has also been offered by Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State and Nebraska, while Cheadle (Indiana, Iowa State, Northern Illinois) and Williams (Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa) have other offers, as well.
Pendleton is Missouri’s seventh commitment in the Class of 2014, and the Tigers’ third three-star prospect.
Boehm thinks his commitment to Missouri will stick.
“His dad played there as a walk-on, he tried to get a scholarship and didn’t, so a lot of that comes into play,” Boehm said. “Just him saying ‘You know what, dad didn’t do it … but I did.’”