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Friday, February 4, 2011

KU football recruits impressed by talent of class

Incoming football players discuss why they chose KU

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Officially, Wednesday was National Signing Day. But the fanfare and excitement surrounding the Kansas University football program’s most recent recruiting haul spilled over into Thursday and doesn’t figure to stop there.

One day after unveiling a 2011 class that included 27 players from 11 states, coast-to-coast, several members of the class talked about what impressed them most about the first full recruiting class brought to Kansas by head coach Turner Gill.

“I am incredibly impressed with the raw talent that coach Gill brought in with this class,” said offensive lineman Luke Luhrsen, of Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South High. “(There’s) also some really great speed (on) offense and defense. A lot of people were saying that committing to KU was a leap of faith because of the 2010 season (in which KU finished 3-9), but I think it was easy to put faith in such an outstanding coaching staff. It really is looking like a good class.”

While the speed Luhrsen talked about was the theme of the class for Gill and his coaching staff — “The main thing is speed,” Gill said. “I want some guys that can flat-out run.” — the 6-foot-5, 265-pound lineman’s belief in the coaches seemed to be a common theme for most of the athletes who inked with the Jayhawks.

Jon Kirby, who covers KU recruiting for Rivals.com, said he recognized that very thing while talking with parents throughout the past several months.

“A big thing that plays in here is Turner Gill,” Kirby said. “When people get to know Turner Gill, who he is, what he stands for, they feel comfortable handing their sons off to someone like Turner Gill, who they believe will raise their son right. When you’re about to send your son hours away to go to school, a lot of people don’t understand that it’s not just the school or what’s on the helmet that sells a program, but it’s also who your son is gonna play for.”

Kirby continued: “Playing time might be a very small factor in it, but the fact of the matter is, it’s about relationships and trust and (kids) believing in (the coaches) recruiting them. You know, there are a lot of schools that can offer playing time.”

That fact jumped out right away to place kicker Alex Mueller, of Grapevine, Texas, who said he was impressed by the way so many talented prospects from all over the country had bonded before even becoming teammates at Kansas.

“(What impressed me the most was) the amount of talent that is coming in, and how all the guys are wanting to become a family,” Mueller said. “A few guys have messaged me on Facebook already, and I got to talk to a few on the recruiting trip. It will be a great group of guys.”

This was the idea Gill had in mind when he took over at Kansas two Decembers ago. He said as much in his introductory speech: Recruit. Recruit. Recruit. Gill has done that now, and will continue to do it in the future. Now that he has revealed his method of choice — tapping speed, character and the best fit for Kansas above all else — Gill can shift his focus back to preparing to for his second season.

“I think it’s an exciting time for Kansas,” Gill said. “We’re going to continue to move forward. I know late in the year (last year) we didn’t win many football games, but we definitely made progress. We will continue to do that and see that. I feel very confident in that.”

Consider the prospects in the Class of 2011 on board.

Said Killeen, Texas, quarterback Michael Cummings: “It seems like he brought in a lot of great talent from around the country and each player will make their mark on the program in one way or another.”

Comments

jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 2 months ago

It's going to be another year like last year, not very competitive.

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texashawk10 3 years, 2 months ago

Out of this class, I see 3 or 4 potential starters when KU kicks off the 2011 season. K Alex Mueller is the most likely sure starter for KU next season to me simply because he's a kicker. Brock Berglund is going to be given every opportunity to win the starting job this spring and if he can improve his arm strength a little, he should win the job and have a chance to make a real impact next season. Julius Green at 6'7" 270 lbs is a physical freak built like Julius Peppers and will have Julius Peppers collegiate coach also coaching him. Going through spring drills will be a big advantage for Green winning the RE job and I can't wait to see what he can do. I also think Dylan Admire will have a chance to start if he can put on about 20 lbs. this offseason because he is already enrolled and will go through an offseason strength program. If he gets to about 285 lbs. I think he will have a decent chance at winning one of the interior line spots for next season. He is also someone I could possibly see getting moved to DT for next season because he has a motor like very few others and even at 270-275 lbs. he could be an effective DT and add depth to that position.

Some other players who could see major PT next season are any of incoming DB, WR, and RB's because those positions are crapshoots with who actually emerges versus who we as fans expect to emerge. Others that could get PT next season are Bryan Peters (OL), Jason Hensley (LB), and Tunde Bakare (LB/S). That's 16 players right there, but I honestly think the number will be closer to 10 of these guys that will ultimately play next season. Speed is a great thing to have, but if a player doesn't have the strength, technique, or awareness to compliment that speed, it's a worthless tool to have because then you just have a bunch of guys running around on the field looking like chickens with their heads chopped off.

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okiedave 3 years, 2 months ago

Great class. My only concern is the lack of Defensive line recruits. Most of last years starting Defensive line will be Seniors and Juniors next year. Hope TG has some reshirt freshman coming back for future depth.

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slowplay 3 years, 2 months ago

I've said this before, Gill could have the #1 recruit class but the key is going to be how well he can develop and coach these kids. Next year is still going to be rough. 4 wins, maybe five. The thing to watch for next year is how competitive they will be, not so much wins and losses. Being on the losing end of 42-16, 55-7, 59-7, 45-10 scores should not happen. If they do, I hope they cut ties with Gill before the program drops even further. That said, I'm optimistic Gill can right the ship.

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 2 months ago

Gill, a national coach of the year, I don't think so. maybe, the worse coach of the year. Really wasn't any thing to get excited about with this class. Need to bring back Mangino, and then we will have a great football team again. After this year will be the last of gill and his staff.

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hghawk 3 years, 2 months ago

If this is what he does with a 3-9 season. What can he do with a 6-6 or 10-2? good times fellas(and ladies) good times.

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jaycard 3 years, 2 months ago

When he was first hired, Mangino came to Salina for a KU backer dinner. At the time, being a KU football fan in central kansas was something most people didn't proudly wear on their sleeves. He defied everyone there that it was not Cat country, and that he would strongly recruit Kansas kids. He had everyone optimistic and proud to be a JHawk football fan in one speech. Unfortunately, other than the greatest year in KU sports history in 2007-2008, this attitude did not show itself on the field. With HCTG at the helm, I see the same dynamic emphasis on high level recruiting, not giving in to the perceived "elite" schools, and more importantly, beating Kstate and Missouri in the area. We will see the results within 2 years. Keep it up Turner. Rock Chalk!

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northlawrence 3 years, 2 months ago

As someone who had a close relative playing under both, my biggest concern is that Gill may be the "best of guys" but may be "to nice" - ie - not sure that the players don't run the practices, show up when they want, put full effort when they want - never to be "corrected, disciplined, maybe even yelled at a little" - football is football - you need to be tough - you need to be held to account. Like I said - maybe a nice guy and even a nice recruiter (yet to be seen how they really play out) - just not sure he is HEAD coach material. I wish him the best - hopefully nice guys don't always finish last.

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Chris Bruning 3 years, 2 months ago

I think Lew Perkins was the best scout of talent......replaced Mangino with Turner Gill

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rob4lb 3 years, 2 months ago

I am not sure why we are still discussing Mangino. Take away the one magical season (where we took advantage of a weak schedule) and you will conclude that he elevated the program to the middle of the pack in the conference. Outside of 2007, he never had a winning conference record and never had a win against the powers of the conference (UT, OU, TT). The players on the field last year were Mangino's recruits. To me they looked slower, smaller and not as strong as their Big 12 opponents. Given such a disadvantage, it is difficult to assess the coaching. Most will say that they improved toward the end of the conference season, but they were still noticably outmanned.

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Roy Scherff 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes you are right Hawktopia, I still miss Ol' Roy.

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Andrew Moore 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm excited to see what we look like at RB next year. We have the proverbial "stable" of backs. James Sims, Deshaun Sands, Brandon Bourbon, Darrian Miller, Dreamius Smith, and even Anthony Pierson (who was listed as an athlete but played a lot at RB). Thats a lot of talent at that position! I'd like to see a lot of two-back, thunder-lightning sets. I'd also like to see if Brock Berglund will be our QB of the future. Hopefully, he can be a threat to run as well.

We will still probably suck this year, but hopefully not as bad. Year 3 of the Gill regime is where we will need to see results.

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slowplay 3 years, 2 months ago

"Mangino was the best scout of talent " .... ha hahaha hah ahahahah hahahahah ahahahah....ha ha...hah. Oh man, thanks, I really needed some laughter this morning. heheheh.

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HAWKTOPIA 3 years, 2 months ago

Mangino was a flash in the pan.( Maybe 3 or 4 flashes with some bacon and sausage on the side.) After riding a few to the top, the job was his to make or break. He, and no one else, created his fall. There are Roy Williams lovers too.

Coach Gill is trying to bring in the team we all want as Jayhawks. Winners!

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bigtex 3 years, 2 months ago

Mangino was a guy who would never pat himself on the back and he was the National Coach of the year .He had good recruiting classes but didn't create a lot of hype, that is how he operated. Mangino always had his players back during press conferences.He had a military style of discipline but so do alot of other coaches. Gill likes the hype (telling the press 15-16 of his recruiting class will play or start and never showed up for a practice yet,Mangino would never due that).Gill tells the public what they want to here even if it is not true. Ask coach Fam if he would trust this character named Gill,wait a minute Gill did tell everybody he is a Christian so he must tell the truth (thats the ones you have to watch out for, the ones that tell you they are in faith they will steal you blind and lie their butts off ).Good Christians don't have to tell everybody they are good Christians.

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jayhawk4alifetime 3 years, 2 months ago

Seems coach Gill can recruit. Wouldn't it be awesome if a couple of years down the road, he collects a National Coach of the Year award? Has a long ways to go but once he gets his brand of student/athletes on board in full, the sky is the limit. Have faith! ROCK CHALK

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Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 2 months ago

one thing totally different with Gill than Mangino is the long term commitment recruiting wise. MM brought in a bunch of JUCO guys in his first full time recruiting class...and it helped us only in the very short term.

Gill is going for quality HS athletes that will help us next year....but also long term. it's the only way to build a program for any kind of longevity. you can't do it like KSU did in the 90s now....all the JUCO rules have changed.....(plus the Big 12 gave us a lot of higher academic standards.)

You have to crawl folks, before you can run. You win football games with talented, quick and strong athletes who are put in the right positions and developed to their full potential by good coaching. Next year, I predict, will be another rough year...but we'll see the light in 2012 and 2013.

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Stephen Johnson 3 years, 2 months ago

Great class From a classy coach. I would not hand my son over to Mangino to play football, but I would trust Coach Gill.

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skwahjayog 3 years, 2 months ago

Mcrozb, move on--it's over. Let it go!

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Mike Crosbie 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry...I'm going to piss off a lot of people....but untill proven wrong, Mangino was THE BEST scout of talent and did the most of anyone to help the FB program for the long run and it still peeves me that the petty power struggle and vendetta Lew had against Mangino did more to hurt the program because Lew had it in for Mark.....all because of a few ghetto bums That couldn't handle discipline and if they couldn't handle the discipline to make thugs into men, they are the ones who should have left....and after Lew won the power struggle...he leaves...he should have been man enough to just leave...with the football program intact. Just ask The U of Minnisota...they know I'm right....anyone who can turn around KU football ends up there...first Glen Mason now Mark Mangino !! Turner Gill I do wish you the best of luck and time will tell if you can get things in order...my point is we shouldn't be in this position, Thanks Lew.

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