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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

KU football to reveal speedy class

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It’s not quite Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day,” but it’s close.

Throughout most of the recruiting period for the Class of 2011, one aspect kept popping up with nearly all of the players Kansas University football coach Turner Gill was targeting.

Speed, speed and more speed became a recurring theme of the players who orally committed to Kansas, and, because of it, Gill is in position to announce a recruiting class that’s on the brink of cracking the top 30 in the nation.

“I would say, on paper, it’s one of the top two classes KU has had in the last 10 years,” said Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jon Kirby. “What stands out? Athleticism and speed, there’s no doubt. There are just a lot of guys that can really move, and there’s some explosion there and serious athleticism.”

Pegged by Rivals as the 33rd-best class in the country, KU football officials will man the fax machines bright and early Wednesday — Groundhog Day — waiting to receive the first letters of intent.

Linebacker Jake Love, of Tonkawa, Okla., is the first future Jayhawk scheduled to sign Wednesday. He’ll join KU at 7 a.m. at Tonkawa High, just a minute before offensive lineman Luke Luhrsen, of Wheaton, Ill., who is slated to sign at 7:01 a.m. at Warrenville South High.

This year’s class features two four-star prospects: running back Darrian Miller, of Blue Springs, Mo., and “athlete” Anthony Pierson, of East St. Louis (Ill.) High. The rest of the class is made up of 21 three-star prospects and three two-star guys.

By position, the class includes six offensive linemen, five linebackers, four defensive backs, three running backs, two defensive ends, two wide receivers, two quarterbacks and a kicker.

The blizzard that recently passed through the area figures to make things interesting, as several recruits will be out of school because of snow days. School or no school, the athletes affected by the weather say they’ve made arrangements to get their letters faxed to KU one way or another.

Gill, who cannot talk about specific players until receiving their signed letters of intent, is scheduled to reveal the class at a news conference at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Until then, here’s a quick look at each prospect expected to join the Jayhawks:

Dylan Admire, OL, 6-3, 264, 3-star

Local product from Blue Valley West High signed in November, graduated early and has been on campus since January. Admire originally committed to Nebraska but changed his mind and picked the Jayhawks because of his desire to play closer to home. Rated by Rivals.com as the 30th-best offensive guard in the country, Admire recently participated in the NUC All-World Game in South Carolina.

Tunde Bakare, LB, 5-11, 215, 3-star

Clocked at 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Bakare (pronounced Toon-Day, Buh-Car-Ee) is without question one of the fastest players in a fast class. He’s also the only junior-college guy in the group, coming to KU from nearby Highland Community College. Bakare led Highland with 72 tackles this season and also led the Jayhawk Conference in forced fumbles. Originally from Woodbridge, Va., the tenacious linebacker chose KU over East Carolina and also received serious interest from USC, Boise State, and Maryland.

Brock Berglund, QB, 6-4, 205, 3-star

One of the gems of the Class of 2011, Berglund graduated early from Valor Christian High in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and began taking classes at KU in January. His early arrival, along with his raw skills, figure to give him a legitimate chance to earn the starting quarterback position this summer. Ranked by Rivals.com as the 15th-best dual-threat quarterback in the country, Berglund threw for 2,174 yards and ran for 945 more while leading his team to a state title last fall. Berglund chose KU after decommitting from Colorado.

Travis Bodenstein, OL, 6-5, 295, 3-star

Similar in size and style to current KU up-and-comer Duane Zlatnik. Named first-team all-state in Arkansas as a senior after leading Shiloh Christian to its third consecutive Class 4A state championship. Was the only player on his team to earn Associated Press “Super Team” honors in three straight seasons. Chose KU over East Carolina, Memphis, Ohio and Tulsa.

Michael Cummings, QB, 6-0, 196, 3-star

The first quarterback in the class to commit to Kansas, Cummings joins KU as a highly touted, dual-threat QB from Killeen, Texas. Threw for more than 4,000 yards and rushed for 1,800 more during his sophomore and junior seasons combined at Killeen High. Named offensive player of the year in his district as a junior. Knee injury cost him most of his senior season. Chose Kansas over Louisiana Tech and Tulsa.

Javonte Daniel, DE, 6-4, 215, 3-star

Daniel was one of the big mysteries in the Class of 2011. After committing to KU a while ago, he had to wait until signing day to receive his official offer. As he walked down the hall of LaGrange (Ga.) High to sign with another school, the letter of intent arrived and Daniel quickly signed it. With his raw size and skills, many consider him to be the biggest sleeper in the class. Chose KU over SEC schools Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Phil Ford, OL, 6-6, 320, 2-star

Local prospect from Bishop Miege High has been tied to Kansas since his junior season. Finally got the offer from KU in July and orally committed right away. A mountain of a man who helped lead Miege to a state title in 2009, Ford has dropped nearly 30 pounds since last summer and continues to work hard to get closer to the 300-pound mark. Played tackle at Miege and chose Kansas over Minnesota. Also received interest from Oklahoma.

Collin Garrett, LB, 6-1, 205, 3-star

This all-state selection from West Brook High in Beaumont, Texas, comes to KU on the heels of two monster seasons. Recorded 137 tackles as a junior and followed that up with 155 tackles this season. The strong senior year led to Garrett being named defensive MVP in his district. Clocked in the 4.5-second range in the 40, Garrett has serious speed and projects as an outside linebacker in college. Chose KU over Houston, Miami (Ohio), Mississippi, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP.

Ben Goodman, DE, 6-2, 225, 3-star

Committed to KU two days after teammate Collin Garrett pledged his services to the Jayhawks. Goodman is a three-time, all-district defensive-end selection from West Brook High in Beaumont, Texas, and is one of the most athletic players in the class. Has been clocked at 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash and chose KU over offers from California, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Ohio), North Texas, Tulane and Tulsa.

Julius Green, DE, 6-7, 260, No ranking

Technically a member of the Class of 2010, Green arrived at KU in January and currently is enrolled in classes and preparing for spring ball. Was scheduled to join the Jayhawks out of Aldine High near Houston last summer but was forced to sit out because one of his high school classes did not transfer. Spent 2010 taking one class at Houston Community College and working out. Added 30 pounds to his tall, athletic frame and is ready to make up for lost time. Chose KU over Iowa State and Louisiana Tech.

Ben Heeney, LB, 6-1, 195, 3-star

Ranked as the 58th-best linebacker in the nation and the 11th-best prospect in Kansas, Heeney, an outside linebacker from Hutchinson High, comes to KU from a program that has been one of the most dominant prep football teams in the state during the past decade. Reportedly orally committed to Kansas during KU’s loss to Texas A&M at home. Clocked at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Heeney chose KU over Colorado State. Also had interest from Kansas State, Oklahoma and TCU.

Jason Hensley, LB, 6-2, 225, 3-star

Widely regarded as one of the biggest sleepers in the class, Hensley comes to KU from Alma (Ark.) High with serious speed and a body already built for the college game. Athletically gifted, Hensley led his high school team in tackles in each of the past two seasons and also recorded more than 10 total sacks while being named all-conference. Chose KU over Tulsa and also was receiving serious interest from Arkansas, Oklahoma State and LSU.

Marquis Jackson, WR, 6-0, 205, 3-star

Like so many members of KU’s Class of 2011, Jackson’s biggest asset appears to be his speed. The first-team all-state selection from Arlington Heights High in Fort Worth, Texas, hauled in 44 passes for 1,186 yards this season and has consistently been clocked in the sub-4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash. Also one of the strongest players on his high school team. Turned down scholarship offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Kansas State, Minnesota, Nebraska and UTEP to join the Jayhawks.

Jake Love, LB, 6-0, 195, 3-star

Another linebacker with legitimate Big 12 speed, Love joins the Jayhawks as the 70th-ranked linebacker in the nation and the 14th-rated prospect from Oklahoma. An outside linebacker from Tonkawa High, Love was one of the first players in his class to commit to KU coach Turner Gill. Committed to KU after visiting campus for the spring game last April. Three-sport athlete who won a state title in the 189-pound weight class in wrestling as a junior and also runs the mile and sprint medley relay for the Tonkawa track team. Chose KU after receiving interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa.

Luke Luhrsen, OL, 6-5, 275, 3-star

Kansas was the first school to offer Luhrsen, and that wound up going a long way with the Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South High prospect, who orally committed to KU two weeks after receiving an offer. Versatile lineman who can play either tackle or guard hails from the same hometown as KU offensive coordinator Chuck Long. Chose Kansas over Louisville and Bowling Green. Also received interest from Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Northwestern.

Damon Martin, OL, 6-5, 265, 3-star

One of the most physical players in the Class of 2011, Martin comes to KU from Arlington (Texas) High, where he played both guard and tackle. He projects as a tackle at KU. Chose the Jayhawks over Arizona, Memphis, New Mexico, Tulsa, Utah and Utah State.

Alex Matlock, DB, 6-2, 190, 3-star

A true safety from Pflugerville (Texas) High, Matlock has been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and possesses a 37-inch vertical leap. Decided to commit to Kansas on the drive home from his official visit last May. Picked KU because of its facilities and the relationships he built with the coaches. Chose the Jayhawks over offers from Tulsa and Wyoming. Also had interest from Rice, Baylor, TCU and SMU.

Alex Mueller, K, 5-10, 155, 2-star

Ranked as the fifth-best place kicker in the country by kicking guru Chris Sailer, Mueller hit 11 of 14 field goals for Grapevine (Texas) High this season, including a long of 47 yards. Also averaged 61 yards on kickoffs.

Darrian Miller, RB, 5-10, 181, 4-star

Signed early and arrived on campus in January. Miller is one of two four-star players in KU’s Class of 2011. After a stellar junior season at Blue Springs High put him on the map, Miller became Missouri’s all-time prep rushing leader this season and finished his high school career with more than 6,500 yards. As a senior, he ran for 2,226 yards and 30 TDs. Miller originally committed to KU last March and then re-opened his recruitment. After exploring his options, which included Iowa, K-State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and others, the 22nd-ranked running back in the nation chose Kansas a second time in October and is currently taking classes at KU.

Bryan Peters, OL, 6-5, 305, 3-star

Ranked as the 65th-best offensive lineman in the nation and the 64th-best player in California, the La Mirada (Calif.) High tackle committed to Kansas early and canceled all other visits. High school coach Mike Moschetti, a former Colorado quarterback, has said that Peters has the ability to be a pro and should have a leg up on adjusting to the college game because of the style of offense his high school team ran. Played alongside a player who committed to Alabama. Versatile lineman who can play all three positions on the O-Line and also is a 4.0 student.

Anthony Pierson, RB, 5-11, 175, 4-star

This East St. Louis (Ill.) High running back was recruited by Kansas as an “athlete” and is ranked by Rivals.com as one of the top eight “athletes” available in this year’s class. He’s also the fourth-ranked player in Illinois. Previously committed to Missouri but decommitted in November and chose Kansas in December. The blazing-fast back who’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field tapped the Jayhawks over Kansas State, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Arkansas.

Michael Reynolds, DE, 6-4, 220, 3-star

Reynolds, a standout defensive end from Wichita’s Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High, committed to KU in January and quickly has become one of the most talked-about players in the class. Also an all-state baseball player and may consider playing both sports at KU. Reynolds tapped Kansas over offers from TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Indiana.

Chris Robinson, DB, 5-9, 170, 3-star

Naturally gifted athlete from Lake Mary (Fla.) High who committed to KU in May, Robinson fits right in with the Jayhawks’ incoming crop of speed. Clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40, Robinson was the fastest guy on his high school team and could compete for the same title at Kansas. Chose KU over Georgia Southern, Louisiana-Lafayette and UConn. Also received late interest from Ole Miss.

Adonis Saunders, DB, 5-11, 185, 2-star

Played a key role in one of the most successful prep programs in Kansas (Olathe North) for the past two seasons. Played both ways as a senior, starting at cornerback and wide receiver. Chose Kansas over Iowa State and New Mexico State.

JaCorey Shepherd, WR, 5-11, 170, 3-star

Shepherd is another player in the Class of 2011 who backed out of a previous commitment to sign with the Jayhawks. Originally committed to Iowa, the speedy wideout from Horn High in Mesquite, Texas, switched his choice to KU in July. Shepherd is ranked by Rivals.com as the 82nd-best wide receiver in the class.

Victor Simmons, DB, 6-1, 185, 3-star

Played quarterback for Olathe North High for two years, leading the Eagles to a state title in 2009 and a state runner-up trophy in 2010. Projects as a defensive back — likely a safety — at the college level. Clocked at 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Simmons is a dynamic athlete with a good frame. Chose KU over interest from K-State and Nebraska.

Dreamius Smith, RB, 6-1, 210, 3-star

One of the first players from the Class of 2011 to commit to Kansas, Smith has been on the Jayhawks’ commit list since late March. As a junior at Wichita Heights, the 44th-ranked running back in the nation ran for more than 1,300 yards and helped Heights reach the state title game. As a senior, Smith outdid himself, finishing the season on top by avenging last year’s loss in the state title game with a victory over Olathe North. In that one, Smith ran for 286 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries. Chose KU over early interest from K-State, Nebraska and Oklahoma State.

Comments

100 3 years, 9 months ago

Speeeeeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep 'em coming Coach Gill!!!!!!!!!!!

HawkChalk29 3 years, 9 months ago

Speed indeed 100. Just wait a couple years and this class should definitely pan out. Of course, I hope the last couple of classes really pan out this season. Rock Chalk!

beenahawk 3 years, 9 months ago

During last nights hoops game, Tubberville talked about a top 25 class coming into Texas Tech. Not that I am unhappy with our class, but can anyone verify the rank of the class that the guy who Lew wouldn't talk to landed?

Xstat 3 years, 9 months ago

Tech is ranked 19th per Rivals, with six 4-stars. One of those is a Juco from Butler Co. Comm. College.

Note--I don't see Javonte Daniel from Georgia in KU's list above. He's still listed as a commit on Rivals, so hope that's just an oversight.

Matt Tait 3 years, 9 months ago

Javonte Daniel is still committed to KU but he's most likely going to grayshirt, which means he won't arrive on campus until next January and will, then, officially be a member of the Class of 2012.

From what I'm hearing, though, he's still very much a Jayhawk.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

beena - It seems that you are insinuating that the coach(es) are the only factor in determining where recruits commit; that if only KU had offered TT, then we could have had the 19th rated class. You apparently missed the memo about TTech having considerably more tradition than KU, or the significantly better season last year and just about every year since ... uh, well forever?

Are you also one of the guys lamenting the inevitable complete failure of Turner and crew to recruit, since no one would possibly commit to a school with such a horrible record. Were you one of the people saying that all the early commits were also likely to go else where when they realized just how bad we were last year?

Hmmm, how'd those predicts pans out? Turner and Co. are doing just fine.

beenahawk 3 years, 8 months ago

Not insinuating anything other than the fact that you verifed...TT had a class rated 15 slots higher than Gill and company. I'm not complaining about the kids we landed or the overall ranking. But it is at least intersting to point out that a man who lobbied for the job at KU apparently landed a much better class. Has more to do with our former AD's inabilities than the ability of Gill.

As for Gill. I'd love to see him succeed, and apparently he seems to be doing just that on the recruiting trail. I still harbor doubts about his coaching though. Fambrough was arguably the best recruiter we ever had leading the Hawks and it turned out bad twice for him.

Kevin Studer 3 years, 9 months ago

Of course, let us hope there are no bad surprises when it comes time to sign. Anyone remember a few years ago when like half of one of Mangino's classes backed out on signing day? That was brutal. I don't remember what class that was.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 9 months ago

I was listening to Jeremy Crabtree (formerly Rivals, now ESPN) on radio here in Omaha, and he really likes this class, said Gill upgraded athleticism at every skill position. The guy he really likes is Dreamius Smith, said he has a chance to be the best player in this group. And I've heard Crabtree talk about how much he likes guys like Miller before, so he must see something special in Smith.

Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 9 months ago

are we going to get Redden? he's still committed to Memphis, per Rivals....we need at least one DT out of this class.....it would seem to be a need.

this is a very good class, no doubt....but next year, could be a very tough year...only thing that will change that if Berglund comes in as Mr. Stud QB. which i think he could be.....but next year might be pushing the timetable a bit.

VBHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

You cant compare our recruiting success with that of Texas Tech for multiple reasons but here are two to consider. a- its in texas, you dont think gill would get a better class if he was recruiting there. b- Texas Tech has been one of the most consistent teams in the Big 12 over the last 10-15 years, Kansas however is an afterthought to most big-time recruits in the country. These kids are 17-18 years old they only know what they have seen in the last 3 years of college football, which for kansas aint much. To even consider whining about a top 30ish class is just silly, considering the lack of tradition, and local recruiting base.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 9 months ago

You can't compare classes because 1) Tommy has done battles in the sec and has been in consideration for national titles. Which tends to make it easier for a talented player to choose over. . .2) A coach with one winning season in the MAC and a loss to NDSU in his first year of big 12 play.

Kyle Cornish 3 years, 9 months ago

Tubberville would not have been a good fit at Kansas. Trust me when I say, he is looking for a bigger job and will leave as soon as he gets it. I don't want a coach that is here 2 years and then we have to rebuild all over again. Give me a man with a plan and staying power...

rockchalk4442 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kenneth Hillman 3 years, 9 months ago

Seriously? We were ranked #2 in the nation at one point and won the Orange Bowl, a BCS bowl, 3 years ago. Not much in the last 3 years???

Not much in the last 2 years yes...but 3, no.

VBHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

ok my point was for beenahawk to imply that Tuberville should have been more seriously considered (from my understanding of his post) for this job because of his recruiting class at Texas Tech is a ignorant statement when you consider the differences in the two programs, and ok your right 2008, wow these kids were 14 in 2008 and unless they grew up in Kansas's back yard they didnt see, hear, or care about it anyway.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

OB was 4 season ago.

The last 3 years have been: Insight Bowl Nuthin Less than nuthin

VBHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Also really hoping we can flip Redden, think he'd be a good get. If not I would hope we go hard for a couple big name DT's next year.

Phoggin_Loud 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Tait,

Any news on the "crew" that Anthony Pierson was supposed to bring with him??

Thanks

Matt Tait 3 years, 9 months ago

What I heard was that the guy who mentioned those names wasn't actually Anthony Pierson.

Someone started a fake Facebook account in Pierson's name and a couple of recruiting "analysts" bit on the info. It happens, but that's why you have to be super, extra, double careful when you're messing with this stuff.

Long story short, I don't think any of those guys were ever considering KU and I'm pretty sure KU wasn't ever looking at any of them either.

Stephen Johnson 3 years, 9 months ago

Love this class. speed, speed, speed kudos to coach gill and staff

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 9 months ago

Before I decided to married my crackhead wife I was recieving "interest" from many different supermodels.

HAWKTOPIA 3 years, 9 months ago

Enough said, that answers a lot, and establishes a pattern worth noting. Don't give up, you have potential.

cozzhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Does anybody have any thoughts on Tate Forcier. With our qb situation the way it is I was thinking he might not have been a bad option for KU.

number1jayhawker 3 years, 9 months ago

Alex Mueller, K, 5-10, 155, 2-star recently won the Chris Sailer kicking competition, so I think he moves up to *** before all is said and done.

Cozzhawk, no way on Forcier. Not only is he a potential head case risk, his whole family is really wierd. Have you been on their website? Bizarre.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

Kickers get no respect or ratings, even the very best. It is the code of FB, regardless of the recruiting sites description of their rating system. There was a great link to an (SI?) article recently about it.

Forcier would have to sit out this year anyway. I'm more interested in BB and the next set of HS recruits, not to mention the head case factor.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

p>rcokchalktalk.com has some discussion on their review of LB's that he and Smith are moving to LB. I seem to recall comments that he was a big hitter, which makes sense regarding the move. Similar to Tunde. Not so sure about Smith, but it is a common theme. Kevin and Keba bulking and moving inside on the DL as well. Speed, speed, speed.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

Interesting info from Rivals - ND has the top DE class because they have 7, yes, count 'em 7 DE. Not quite the same as KU, but they also have 0 DT's. TTech, SMU, and Oregon State also have 6-8 DE's and only 1 or 2 DT's. Hmmm.

jhawk613 3 years, 9 months ago

When I read the bit on Bryan Peters, I kept seeing him at Center, given the rest of our Tackle and Guard recruits, and the problems we had a Center last year.

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