football

Cauley surprises on football field

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One of the nation's top big men decided to do something a little bit unusual this fall: suit up for football. So far, it's gone well for Willie Cauley as he balances catching touchdowns and handling his hoops recruitment.
The senior at Olathe (Kan.) Northwest certainly raised some eyebrows when he decided to play as a 7-foot wide receiver. So far, it's gone pretty well as he's hauled in eight touchdowns and racked up more than 400 yards of receiving through just four games.
Not surprisingly, Cauley had some resistance when he announced his intentions to play, but now those around him see a lot of positives.
"You have to like some contact and I think that helps down the road," said Matt Suther, the program director of Cauley's MoKan Elite summer program. "He's shown some toughness in it and I think that's the biggest thing. He can develop that, and that football mentality that he's not afraid to get touched and bang."
While football has provided a nice outlet for Cauley to be part of a team, his basketball future remains the most important focus. The athletic center got the process started two weekends ago when he took his first official visit to Florida.
"The feedback I got was that he enjoyed the visit," Suther said. "The football game was a big-time atmosphere and he likes the coaching staff a lot. He had a really good time."
Asked if the visit changed Cauley's approach to the recruiting process at all, Suther said it's hard to tell but that he does know his young player pays a lot closer attention to what is going on around him than some may realize.
"He's kind of taking it all in," Suther told Rivals.com. "Willie's a kid who is very observant and analyzes situations. He just kind of sits back and takes it all in. He'll surprise you. You think he's not paying attention and then he hits you with something you told him three years ago that you never thought he'd remember."
With one visit out of the way, Cauley will next hit the road when he visits Alabama on the weekend of Oct. 7, he'll be in Lexington, Ky., for Kentucky's Midnight Madness festivities and he'll wrap things up with a trip to Kansas State at the end of October.
KentuckyClick Kansas StateClick FloridaClick AlabamaClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link.: "They've done a good job of recruiting him. He definitely feels like he's a priority for them. Anthony GrantClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link. has had success and he's an up-and-coming coach and the program looks like it's on the way up. They are doing a good job of selling themselves, and that they are up-and-coming, and that Willie could be a part of them doing things Alabama basketball hasn't really done before."Here to view this Link.: "I think they're intriguing for him because they've had a lot of success and won a couple of national championships. Billy DonovanClick AlabamaClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link.: "They've done a good job of recruiting him. He definitely feels like he's a priority for them. Anthony GrantClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link. has had success and he's an up-and-coming coach and the program looks like it's on the way up. They are doing a good job of selling themselves, and that they are up-and-coming, and that Willie could be a part of them doing things Alabama basketball hasn't really done before."Here to view this Link. is one of the best coaches in the country. Willie's eventual goal is to play in the NBA and Donovan has a track record with coaching big guys like Joakim NoahClick AlabamaClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link.: "They've done a good job of recruiting him. He definitely feels like he's a priority for them. Anthony GrantClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link. has had success and he's an up-and-coming coach and the program looks like it's on the way up. They are doing a good job of selling themselves, and that they are up-and-coming, and that Willie could be a part of them doing things Alabama basketball hasn't really done before."Here to view this Link. and Al HorfordClick AlabamaClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link.: "They've done a good job of recruiting him. He definitely feels like he's a priority for them. Anthony GrantClick His coach provided some insight as to how Cauley arrived at those four programs and what stands out about each of them.Here to view this Link. has had success and he's an up-and-coming coach and the program looks like it's on the way up. They are doing a good job of selling themselves, and that they are up-and-coming, and that Willie could be a part of them doing things Alabama basketball hasn't really done before."Here to view this Link.. Coach Donovan has told him that he's involved with the big guys skill work on a daily basis and Willie likes that.Here to view this Link.: "They've probably recruited him the longest out of the four because he's a Kansas kid. There are some things for him there that other schools don't have. Most obviously it's the only school close to home that he's got left. They've had a lot of success there over the past couple of years. A lot of it will be him having to decide whether or not he wants to stay close to home."Here to view this Link.: "Just based on the amount of talent they've had come through and the ability for kids to come in for one or two years and go in the draft. For any kid in his position that's going to be intriguing. Coach (John) Calipari is obviously a big name in the business and he's well respected. Kentucky is one of those three or fours schools where it's pretty flattering if they want you."
At this point, the only certain aspect of Cauley's recruitment is that he will sign during the early signing period. After that, it's a complete toss-up and those closest to him are urging him to focus on each coach and what they've done in their time, and to go with what he feels is the best place for his own future.
"If we went into the future and you told me he picked any of the schools involved I wouldn't be surprised," Suther said. "He's truly wide open, he's going to take these visits and really think about it when it's all done and I'm sure it will be a pretty emotional decision for him."
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