Thursday, December 13, 2012

Iowa Western C.C. O-Lineman Mike Smithburg picks KU football


It’s been almost a year since new Kansas University football commitment Mike Smithburg last shaved, and during that year a lot of good things have happened.

Although his girlfriend and mother are urging him to get rid of the whiskers, it’s hard to argue with what the beard did for the Iowa Western Community College offensive lineman.

Juco national championship. Scholarship offer to Kansas. Honorable mention All-American nod. And, of course, an easy and automatic conversation starter.


New Kansas University football commitment, Mike Smithburg, announcing his college decision at Iowa Western Community College.

“I think I’m gonna get rid of it,” Smithburg said Thursday. “I’ve got a girlfriend that I plan on keeping around for a while and my mom hates it, so, if I were smart, I’d probably get rid of it.”

Intelligence is one of the things that helped lead Smithburg, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, to Kansas. Not only does he have experience as a guard, but he also has enough smarts and experience to be able to play center, as well.

“(People have) told me that, even as a guard, I was still kind of playing the role of the center,” Smithburg said. “The center would make the Mike (linebacker) point and the basic stuff like that but I would identify blitzes a lot and call stuff to make sure that people didn’t have questions right before the snap.”

Smithburg orally committed to KU coach Charlie Weis late Wednesday night. He chose the Jayhawks over interest from schools ranging from Akron and Florida Atlantic to Memphis, Illinois and South Florida and canceled an upcoming visit to Illinois. The reason?

“The people,” Smithburg said. “Coach Weis is obviously awesome, and (offensive line) coach (Tim) Grunhard and (graduate assistant) coach Rod Jones, who are going to be working with the offensive linemen, are awesome. There are plenty of differences, but the juco thing is not that different from D-I in that you’re gonna be around your position coaches and strength coaches the most and I like my position coaches and the strength coach (Scott Holsopple) a lot.”

The addition of Smithburg brings KU’s commitment total in the Class of 2013 to 19, with 13 coming from the juco ranks. Smithburg is the fourth offensive lineman in the class. He plans to make his commitment official by signing Wednesday and will report to campus in mid-January in time to participate in spring football.

“I’ve seen what being a December grad can do for you,” Smithburg said. “And that was my plan all along, to get the offer during the season and come in in January. It’s gonna help me a lot.”

Weis and company have as many as eight spots still available in the current class and at least one target, Fort Scott CC cornerback Kevin Short, 6-2, 185, announced earlier this week that he would make his decision today.

Early Wednesday morning, news broke of Navarro Junior College offensive tackle Zach Fondal picking the Jayhawks, and, late Tuesday night, highly coveted defensive tackle Marquel Combs announced that he had chosen Kansas, as well.

Here’s an updated look at KU's current recruiting class:

Kellen Ash: 6-3, 194-pound linebacker from Parkway South High in Missouri. A three-star prospect, who committed to KU last April.

Joey Bloomfield: 6-6, 305-pound offensive tackle from Ballard High in Louisville, Ky., who chose KU over offers from Air Force, Colorado, Houston, Kansas State, San Diego State and Wyoming.

Andrew Bolton: 6-3, 280-pound defensive end from Hinds C.C. in Raymond, Miss. Clocked at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Bolton also had offers from Iowa, LSU and Mississippi State.

Marquel Combs: 6-5, 305-pound defensive tackle from Pierce Community College in Woodland Hills, Calif. This four-star impact player had 50 offers and chose Kansas over Kansas State late Tuesday night.

Montell Cozart: 6-2, 180-pound quarterback from Bishop Miege High in Kansas City. Played high school football under current KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard.

Jordan Darling: 6-4, 226-pound quarterback from Shawnee Mission East High in Kansas City. Dominated summer camps and picked the Jayhawks over Kansas State.

Samson Faifili: 5-11, 240-pound linebacker from American River C.C. in Sacramento, Calif., committed to Kansas in mid-November, choosing KU over Hawaii, Iowa State, Nevada and Oregon State.

Zach Fondal: 6-5, 295-pound offensive tackle from Navarro Junior College in California. Canceled trips to Arkansas and Texas Tech and committed to KU.

Ngalu Fusimalohi: 6-3, 300-pound offensive guard from City College of San Francisco. Known as a mauler, Fusimalohi’s offer list closely resembled Faifili’s.

Marcus Jenkins-Moore: 6-3, 210-pound linebacker from Pierce C.C. in Woodland Hills, Calif., who describes his game as “relentless” and chose KU over offers from a dozen other BCS-conference schools including K-State, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Ben Johnson: 6-5, 230-pound tight end from Basehor-Linwood High near Kansas City, was one of the first players in the class to commit.

Isaiah Johnson: 6-1, 210-pound safety from Iowa Western C.C. Helped lead IWCC to a juco national title while leading the team with eight interceptions. Was named an NJCAA honorable mention All-American on Wednesday.

Tedarian Johnson: 6-3, 285-pound defensive tackle and juco teammate of Bolton. Chose Kansas over offers from Iowa State, Memphis, Mississippi State and Texas Tech.

Dexter McDonald: 6-2, 203-pound cornerback and former KU player who recommitted to the Jayhawks this fall after spending the year at Butler County C.C.

Trevor Pardula: 6-5, 210-pound punter and kickoff specialist who picked the Jayhawks over hometown San Jose State.

Cassius Sendish: 6-2, 185-pound cornerback from Arizona Western C.C. A natural leader and hard hitter who chose KU over Big 12 schools Iowa State and K-State, among others.

Mike Smithburg: 6-3, 300-pound offensive lineman from Iowa Western C.C. Versatile lineman with experience as both a guard and a center, picked KU over Illinois and is expected to arrive in time for spring football.

Colin Spencer: 5-10, 179-pound athlete from Woodrow Wilson High in Dallas. Played cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback in high school. May graduate early and enroll at KU in time for spring football.

Mark Thomas: 6-2, 210-pound wide receiver from Nassau C.C. in New York. Solid, physical wideout chose KU over UConn and Marshall.


Dyrk Dugan 1 year, 4 months ago

the Star this morning made a big deal of KSU landing this QB that was Smithburg's teammate (they also just got a 4* LB from Lee's Summit West) ....but something struck me:

the article said he was only 5-11...Rivals has him at 6-2. which is it? and if it's that much of a difference, there's a good chance he's only 5-10 or less. i'm not saying he can't play, (see Todd Reesing), but that discrepancy is fairly big.

i like our HS QBs that Weis has landed....we're really focusing on the lines in this class...and that's good.


JHWKDW 1 year, 4 months ago

Well the game is won in the trenches, getting a guy like this helps, now the coaching staff has to make these guys winners.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Welcome, Mr. Smithburg! Sounds like a smart kid for several reasons: planned his academics out to be able to join D1 team for Spring training camps (very smart!), he already apparently has a "feel" for the game & recognizes defenses/blitzes,...and he chose KU with Grunhard/Weis/Holsopple. Totally awesome.


hawkdds 1 year, 4 months ago

Thanks Matt, I was beginning to think we lost him. Now if we could get a couple of Dezmon Briscoe type receivers the n we could be awesome.RCJH


Micky Baker 1 year, 4 months ago

KU is now rated 42nd in the country for this recruiting class so far ahead of Texas Tech, Kansas State, and TCU now. Iowa State is number 41 and they have gotten their 25 commitments already. KU Will likely end up in the lower to mid 30s where West Virginia currently is.


rockchalkblock 1 year, 4 months ago

If we can get the passing game going and have the same production we had this year from running backs, I would love to see Mundine split out like Fine use to, he could be money on 3rd down conversions!


jhawkrulz 1 year, 4 months ago

I think afterall that has been done, we need a few more receivers. I think we had one receiver over 6'1" last year (don't know for sure) and speed really didn't help in separation.

I'm hoping McCray helps out a lot. I also help that the reps that Heaps/McCray had on the practice squad helped with their timing this upcoming year. However, I would love to see one or two additional ones.

The kicking situation seems fixed. There was one recruit that sat out this year, due to transfer rules, and then we just offered another. I'll tell you the one that just committed, if he doesn't work out as a kicker, try tight end. 6'5" 210, with a little time with Hopstopple (sp?) he'll be a big old player. And don't get me wrong, I'd take his heigth on the WR slot as well.

Love the news and already getting pumped up for football again...even though this season was stressful.


hawkdds 1 year, 4 months ago

I keep asking, does anybody know anything concrete about Ty McKinney?


NebraskaJayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago


Obviously WR was a concern going into the season last year and it proved to be a huge problem throughout the season. Zero touchdowns to a WR during the season is not only poor QB play, but also poor WR play. I think Turzilli has a chance to do some big things next season, but beyond Any of these new guys any good? Seriously...


MizzouSportsSuck1 1 year, 4 months ago

If he said he's "thinking" about it that's playing possum. Pretty sure that kid will have quite a few offers.


Jerry Rockhold 1 year, 4 months ago

That "Rockhurst kid" is a family friend. My younger son goes to RHS & the kid you're talking about comes from a great family. I talked to him in the school hallway recently & congratulated him on a great season. I asked him about kicking in college & he said he was thinking about it. He's be a great edition to the KU team.


MizzouSportsSuck1 1 year, 4 months ago

If KU wants a kicker, they should offer the kid from Rockhurst. He's a KU guy from what I understand. I also understand he is being recruited by Arkansas and Alabama. That kid is the real deal.


B0B 1 year, 4 months ago

For crying out loud people- does every article have to have 15 comments about needing a kicker? WE HAVE ONE! how many times does it have to be mentioned that we have a good kicker who had to sit out this year after transfer? sure there is always a chance he may bust, but how many schollies do you want to burn on kickers?


Jake Waddle 1 year, 4 months ago

I know we have Heaps/Cummings/Baty/two frosh and dont really need another QB, but is the Waters kid from Iowa Western the brother of the Waters baseball player at KU from a year or two back?? Would have been a good guy to bring in that may have brought IWCC teammates with him... Just Wondering.


Michael Sizemore 1 year, 4 months ago

2 tons of fun... Bringing the beef. 4,247#


gorilla10 1 year, 4 months ago

If Heaps is for real, KU will win. If Heaps is Dayne, we will win 1-2 games again.....


VaJay 1 year, 4 months ago

Are there any good field goal kickers out there? We could sure use one.


Brandon Pope 1 year, 4 months ago

As we continue to use up the scholarships available I am glad to see a good blend of problem areas addressed. Although the defense was actually a better unit overall this year I still feel there is more need on that side of the ball given who is leaving and the fact that the offense was irreparably hindered by abysmal QB play. I still hold the belief that our offense with a even a mediocre QB and maybe one more good receiver (say if McCay had been able to play) could have won 3-4 games this year which was my original prediction. Just no way to know how bad Crist would be.

Assuming Heaps can play (and I have certainly learned my lesson about assuming such things), and the offensive linemen we have added I like where we stand this year on that side of the ball. However, I think one more OL and more importantly 1-2 WRs could make a HUGE difference for this team.

We have 8 spots left I believe. I would like to see the final breakdown as such:

Offense: 1OL, 1TE, 2 WR Defense: 1DE, 1LB, 1Saftey, 1CB

If we can do that, this could be an entirely different product on the field this season, and that is saying something because it was an entirely different product out there last year too, even if the record looks worse


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 4 months ago

I am glad to see the attention they're paying to line, both D and O. Obviously that's been a weak point for KU, and if we hope to compete in the Big XII, we need consistency in the trenches.


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 4 months ago

Agreed. If anything, periods make things boring.


Keith Hummel 1 year, 4 months ago

The OL is shaping up nicely. Would love to see us add one more big-time OL recruit. Either Reeve Koehler or Josiah St.John perhaps???


whitechocolate 1 year, 4 months ago

Nonsense, periods just slow down good news.


Phil Leister 1 year, 4 months ago

Matt, I'm not sure how your first sentence/paragraph made it past the editors. Periods are your friends sometimes.


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