Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Premium placed on KU football recruiting close to home


On Tuesday, released its state-by-state rankings of high school football prospects in the Class of 2012.

A quick look at the top players in Kansas reveals that the KU coaching staff remains committed to recruiting its own backyard.

Though just one member — Blue Valley West offensive lineman Brian Beckmann — of the Sunflower State’s current top 10 has committed to KU, the Jayhawks showed serious interest in eight of the 10 and extended offers to two of them, Beckmann and Wichita defensive end Trace Clark.

While Clark and three others on the list remain undecided, Kansas State received commitments from two of Kansas’ top 10, and Illinois, TCU and Tulsa snagged one apiece.

Because it’s still somewhat early, and because this year’s crop of homegrown players is widely regarded as less talented than those from previous years, the lack of offers from KU should not come as a great surprise. For one, the staff spent most of May and June evaluating players in an effort to identify which ones it would like to offer. In addition, recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell said KU coach Turner Gill almost always follows a specific plan.

“Coach Gill’s philosophy is he wants to get ’em on campus before we do anything with ’em,” Mitchell said. “I would think you’ll (start to) see more guys committing because we’ll have the chance to get them on campus.”

All three of KU’s 2012 commitments thus far — Beckmann, Derek Keaton, of Camden, Ark., and Daniel Gray, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — visited Lawrence before receiving an offer.

The race for Russell

While the KU football coaches have done their part to keep an eye on the top talent in Kansas, they continue to pound the pavement in other states as well.

One of the most popular spots for KU recruits is Texas, and that’s where the Jayhawks’ latest quarterback prospect resides. KU is one of three schools to officially have offered a scholarship to Garland (Texas) High’s Seth Russell, a three-star, dual-threat QB who is ranked by Rivals as the 26th-best quarterback in his class.

Russell, who also has offers from Wake Forest and North Texas, attended one of KU’s summer camps in early June and has been on a fast-and-furious tour of other camps since then. KU offered Russell a scholarship on June 7 but it doesn’t appear the 6-foot-4, 195-pound QB is in a hurry to make a decision. After attending the KU camp, Russell went to Oklahoma and North Texas. He is scheduled to attend Arkansas’ camp on Saturday and follow that up with a trip to Texas A&M; on Sunday.

Though the Jayhawks were the first Big 12 program to offer Russell, others appear to be charging.

“Coach Brent Venables at OU emailed me and said they are interested but wanted to see my first couple games,” Russell told “I will wait and see how I do at the other camps.”

While he waits, Russell told Rivals that he continues to keep KU in his thoughts.

“I’m in touch with coach (David) Beaty all of the time,” Russell said. “I call him twice a week. I usually email coach Chuck Long and stay in contact with him. They have great coaches and I was excited to get an offer from them.”


Chris Bailey 8 years, 12 months ago

My main reason for posting at almost 1am was to beat aperse to the punch! I agree we need to keep the in-state talent. We lost out big time 2 years ago on Grissom as he went to OU. We also missed with Blake Bell although I don't think he was ever a possiblity. I think he was committed to OU and that was that. I don't want to lose out on talent to KSU but rather them get the recruit than lose quality kids out of state. If the kitties got em we had a shot IMO. And as we progress and get better more and more instate kids will commit to us. Keep bringing the talent in coaches! We're behind you! RCJHKU!

Funhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

“The records will take care of themselves as the years go by.... Right now we're just waterin that beautiful green that's poppin out of the ground and adding an inch of Ahperse brand fertilizer per day.”

Kman_blue 8 years, 12 months ago

KU didn't make an offer to either of the kitty commits and likely never will regardless of whether or not they're still committed, because they don't fill positions of need for KU and with the limited scholarships we have there's just no room for them either.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 12 months ago

I wasn't implying current offers. I was referring to future players in the state! I understand we won't always have a need but as I said above I'd rather KSU get an instate player than watch them go to OU or NU or mizzou or some other school. What I'm saying is locking up the borders is important and IF we are in a battle for a recruit I like our chances better against Kstate than a power school.

Kman_blue 8 years, 12 months ago

My bad. I must of misread it.

Good points and I agree.

100 8 years, 12 months ago

Always nice to get a little QB recruiting competition from Oklahoma....

Bring 'em on in, Coach Gill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

longhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

"Seth Russell, a three-star, dual-threat QB who is ranked by Rivals as the 26th-best quarterback in his class"

--I think that should read that Russell is ranked by Rivals as the 26th-best dual-threat quarterback in his class, not the 26th best quarterback. Rivals ranks dual-threat and pro-style quarterbacks separately.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 11 months ago

Copy and paste warning, because I will be posting this on the next football article...

A closer look at rivals shows that we are the only big12 team without a qb committed for next season. If we do end up landing this Russell character he will be tied with a guy ISU signed for the lowest rated qb in the league.

Recruit! Recruit! Recruit!

blackhawkjayhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

In-state recruiting is irrelevant to KU's success. I'm sure these coaches have to say what they say for PR reasons, but they should care less where the kids come from. Recruit 25 kids from Canada if that's what it takes to win.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 12 months ago

In-state recruiting is great, but KC seems more important to me. I was looking at the ESPN150 last night, and two kids from KC were listed, one committed to Nebraska and another committed to Missouri. They aren't "in-state" kids because they are from across the river, but they might as well be.

Kevin Studer 8 years, 12 months ago

Grissom and Bell won't sniff the field this year at OU. Bell is locked in a battle to be #2. If he loses out on that, he won't likely even be Landry's replacement when he goes pro. No telling when/if Grissom will ever play significant minutes. In Lawrence, they would both be starting. That should be a bit of a selling point to local kids. Hell, look at how Chris Harper and the Brown brothers all left major programs and will be starting at KSU this year.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 12 months ago

Good points! And you are correct BBell isn't listed on the depth chart at OU. He is 3rd at best and the player ahead of him is a year older than him. He may start as a senior unless something crazy happens. Grissom should have come to KU too. Bad decision but I was told Gill's staff didn't stay after him after they came and OU stole him.

Hawk09 8 years, 12 months ago

Gill needs to get the right in state kids. Blue Valley West 2010: 2 KU offensive line commits, 1 win... Admire and Beckmann are not the answer.

rolo2383 8 years, 12 months ago

I'm glad you are able to evaluate these two players who have yet to play a down for KU. OL is the most important position on the offense so why don't we let these guys play a down or two before we claim they aren't worth the scholarships.

Hawk09 8 years, 12 months ago

In two years of coaching against those two, they have given me no indication that they will be successful division 1 players. Others are obviously seeing something in both of them that I am not. But even if they end up being good players, having them on the 2 deep as freshman is not good for KU football.

Hawk09 8 years, 11 months ago

I agree with you, being a successful high school player does not translate into college success and vice versa. I am not here to bash either player, just give my two cents. Wish guys like Justin McKay (who I hear is killing is at OU), Blake Bell, Geneo Grissom, etc from winning programs would have stayed in state. PS: Gabbert wasn't exactly a bum in HS. Only played 4 games his senior year because of injury.

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Dylan Admire will be a good one. Watched him play 5 games last year.

Kman_blue 8 years, 12 months ago

Admire looked really good in spring ball (he's going to be on the 2 deep as a true freshman this fall beating out guys from Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, etc.) and KU beat out Nebraska for him (he actually switched his commitment from them to KU). I think that says more about his potential than anything else right now. I'd much rather see him suit up for the Crimson and Blue than hear about him in NU red and white. Beckman was getting serious interest from Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Nebraska and the kitties made him an offer as well. He's a solid Div-1 local recruit at a position of need for KU, who wants to be at KU. I'll take that kind of recruit every time. Despite being a small state and not having enough recruits year in and year out to build a program on, Kansas football players have been helping build strong football programs at out of state institutions for far too long IMHO. One way to beat our neighbors to the south (and previously to the north) is to keep them from pilfering our best in state recruits.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 12 months ago

Exactly what NU trys to do is keep those O-linemen in state and locked up. Sure they recruit out of state they have too but they lock up their borders first. The best kids in Nebraska usually show and get serious interest from NU and they more times than not go there. We need to do the same even if there are only 10 or 12 kids that are worth the shot.

KGphoto 8 years, 12 months ago

Those borders in Nebraska don't need to be locked. Football is Nebraska. Every kid from Nebraska wants to be a Husker football player, even more so than Kansas kids want to be a Jayhawk roundballer. All they do is rake 'em into the Big Red Sea.

Ethan Berger 8 years, 11 months ago

Whats your take on Dreameaus smith, you would have coached against him to correct?

Hawk09 8 years, 11 months ago

Don't know much about him. Coaching in the Kansas City area, so we never played the Wichita area schools.

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 12 months ago

It'll be interesting to see what these rucruits that want to go to Nebraska do now that they aren't in the Big XII. I think recruits from Texas that have historically gone to Nebraska will be fewer and fewer.

Nebraska will have an exciting schedule with Michigan, Ohio State and others. I would imagine that they will get some appearances against Notre Dame as well, just because the Big Ten plays against ND quite a bit.

Anyways, I would hope we are selecting high caliber talent and getting them.

haydenhawkco 8 years, 12 months ago

Interesting observation. I believe as long as your results prove you are a BCS contender, you'll get the attention of just about any recruit. Good prediction though.

David Hodges 8 years, 11 months ago

In some sense you are right, but.... Those recruits would inevitably play far less games in Texas in other conferences. Guaranteed games in their home-state is a larger bargaining chip in my opinion. Leaving the Big 12 will surely cost Colorado and Nebraska a few recruits from Texas. Many players want their friends and family to see them play in person... every year... guaranteed! Rock Chalk!

texashawk10 8 years, 12 months ago

It's very important for the success of both KU and KSU to keep the top in-state talent at either of these two schools. Because the state of Kansas has two major universities unlike Missouri and Nebraska, it will impossible for either KU or KSU to ever have total dominance over the other when it comes to recruiting Kansas kids. What is important for KU's future recruiting is to have about a 60-40 advantage over KSU in regards to in-state talent and about the same margin when it comes to recruiting the Kansas City area. This may only result in a total of about 5 kids a recruiting class, but when someone the caliber of Barry Sanders or the Brown brothers coming out of high school, or Blake Bell come along, KU needs to be in a position to have a realistic shot at signing these kids. When was the last time KU signed a highly touted recruit from Kansas? Those types of players don't come from Kansas very often and when they do, they usually end up at either OU or OSU if they're Wichita kids, or Nebraska if they're from the northern part of the state.

Dennis Mahorney 8 years, 11 months ago

Grissom was injured last year, and Bell is highly touted by OU as the qb of the future. Hutch high coach Dreiling keeps the updated on how he is doing. Grissom was here in hutch some while he was injured. He was taking some heat from OU defensive linemen for outpacing them while running stadium steps and other drills. They want him to stop trying to pull away from the pack, as it draws negative attention to starters who dont want things to be harder than they already are in practice. After hearing about how he was doing before his injury, I think he will be a fixture for them eventually.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.