Lee's Summit North football's Cayden Green sees status as top recruit as 'a blessing'
When Lee's Summit North junior Cayden Green was just 8 years old, he was lying on the couch in his home, watching the NFL Network with his mother, Dana.
"We're watching football, because even back then, I just had a feeling that football was going to be an important part of our family's lives," said Dana Green, whose mother's intuition was spot on that day.
"Cayden looked up at me and said, 'Mom, I think playing football is what God called me to do. That way, I can bring people to him.'"
Fast forward eight years: Green is now 6-foot-5, he weighs in at 310 pounds and if there is a five-star camp or all-star celebration, you can bet he's been invited.
He is currently ranked as the No. 37 overall recruit in the 2023 class and is listed as a four-star offensive tackle by rivals.com.
Green has received 21 Division I offers, including area schools, Missouri, Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State, and top-ranked programs like Notre Dame, Georgia and Oklahoma.
And he still has two more seasons to play at Lee’s Summit North.
"We've heard so much about Caleb, and were looking forward to scrimmaging them," Grain Valley football coach David Allie said with a chuckle, "and we look over at their sideline and he's pretty easy to pick out. And he's just a junior - and from everything we hear, he's as good a kid as he is a player, and that's saying something."
Broncos head coach Jamar Mozee said that Green can handle the attention.
"He is humble and confident, and that is a rare combination for a 16-year-old who gets as much attention as Cayden," said Mozee, who received plenty of attention when he was a star running back at Blue Springs High School. "And he is a wonderful, God-loving young man. And I credit his parents, Dana and Reggie, for that. They have raised him the right way, and he is one of those players I look forward to seeing every day."
As a recent scrimmage against Grain Valley began, the skies opened and a torrential downfall soaked the field, the players and coaches.
As Green walks off the field, he sees a photographer out of the corner of his eye, and quickly grabs some teammates so they can share the spotlight with one of the most talked about offensive linemen in the country.
'My life is a blessing'
Green has already made several visits this summer, including Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Georgia and Mizzou. He has been invited to the Under Armour All-America Game and Future 50 and to Rivals 5-Star Underclassmen Camp.
He is on track to be the top offensive lineman in the country in his class of 2023.
"Cayden is going to have a lot of decisions to make in the very near future," said his father Reggie, "and we know Coach Mozee will be with our family all the way throughout this process. You hear horror stories about recruiting, but so far we have not experienced anything like that."
Green's father paused for a moment, and added, with a touch of sincerity and awe in his voice, "Look, I'm 6-foot nothing and my amazing wife is 5-8. And we have a 6-5 son who weighs 310 pounds and is a great young man and a great football player. This is a God thing, that's the only explanation. And the way he embraces his love of God and his family is very special to all of us."
Cayden is quick to agree with his father.
"My life is a blessing," Cayden said. "My family, my relationship with God, being a part of Lee's Summit North and being coached by Coach Mozee, it's just a blessing. And I know that one day, I am going to make a decision on where I go to school, and how that can impact my life.
"But right now, the only thing I am concentrating on is our football team, and how we can improve every day and have a great season."
The Broncos had a disappointing season on and off the field in 2020, going 4-6 and having to forfeit their first-round Class 6 district game against Nixa because of COVID-19 protocols.
While the pandemic drew much of the attention away from the game Green dominates, and from day to day, practice to practice, he and his teammates had no idea what to expect.
"I just put my faith in God and we got through the season, although we weren't as successful as we'd hoped," Green said. "But I look at the talent we have this year, and I can't wait. Everyone is serious, everyone is working hard and everyone is focused."
Especially the big man who blocks the sun every time he steps on the field.
Well, not every time …
"It's hard to block the sun when it's raining," Green said, sporting a smile that can make one forget about the rain and ominous clouds. "Rain or shine, I thank God for all my blessings."