Monday, December 17, 2012


KU’s top 10 juco football recruits


Charlie Weis and his staff of assistants, motivated by a 1-11 season, hit the road sprinting after junior-college recruits. So far, 16 juco standouts have committed to play football for Kansas University.

Based on the other schools that offered them scholarships, KU’s needs, and last and least, their highlight films (everybody’s highlights look great, that’s why they’re highlights), here is one guess at the 10 most promising, listed in reverse order so as to build up the drama toward the list of BCS-conference schools that offered the No. 1 player:

10. Mike Smithburg, 6-3, 300, OL, Iowa Western: Shaved his trademark, mustache-less beard Monday, so he might only weigh 299 now.

Coming out of high school, he needed to make his body bigger and stronger to attract the attention of Div. I schools, and he accomplished his goals, always a good sign.

BCS conference offers: Illinois, South Florida.

KU recruiter: Buddy Wyatt.

Anticipated arrival: January.

9. Tedarian Johnson, 6-3, 285, DT, Hinds: One of three Johnsons in this recruiting class (high school tight end Ben and junior college safety Isaiah), Tedarian will earn immediate playing time if he can show he explodes off the line of scrimmage, a quality KU’s D-tackles have lacked since James McClinton exhausted his eligibility.

BCS conference offers: Iowa State, Mississippi State, Texas Tech.

KU recruiter: DeMontie Cross.

Anticipated arrival: January.

8. Zach Fondal, 6-5, 295, OL, American River: Tanner Hawkinson manned the left-tackle position well for the Jayhawks and won’t be easy to replace. Fondal will try to win the job.

BCS conference offers: Arkansas, South Florida.

KU recruiter: Rob Ianello.

Anticipated arrival: January.

7. Samson Faifili, 5-11, 240, LB, American River: He hunts quarterbacks and had 12 sacks in two seasons in junior college. Quietly, Kansas has been improving its outlook at linebacker since the start of the just-completed season.

BCS conference offers: Iowa State, Kansas State, Oregon State.

KU recruiter: Jeff Blasko.

Anticipated arrival: June.

6. Cassius Sendish, 6-2, 185, CB, Arizona Western: He has the size to compete with those long Big 12 receivers who in recent years have made a habit of abusing Kansas cornerbacks.

BCS conference offers: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State.

KU recruiter: Blasko.

Anticipated arrival: January.

5. Kevin Short, 6-2, 185, CB, Fort Scott: He is Short in name only.

BCS conference offers: Arkansas, Syracuse.

KU recruiter: Clint Bowen.

Anticipated arrival: June.

4. Marcus Jenkins-Moore, 6-3, 210, LB, Pierce: Tall and lean for a linebacker, Jenkins-Moore brings a lot of speed and a nose for the ball that will make it difficult for defensive coordinator Dave Campo to keep him on the sideline.

BCS conference offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Kansas State, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech.

KU recruiter: Blasko.

Anticipated arrival: January.

3. Andrew Bolton, 6-3, 280, DE, Hinds: When LSU recruits a defensive lineman, that generally means he’s big, fast and loves to play football.

BCS conference offers: Iowa, LSU, Mississippi State.

KU recruiter: Cross.

Anticipated arrival: June.

2. Chris Martin, 6-5, 260, DE, City College of San Francisco: Weis recruited him when Weis was at Notre Dame and Martin was a junior in high school. They were reunited at Florida during Martin’s freshman season. Martin initially committed to Notre Dame, but then switched to Florida. His maturity came into question when he created the wrong kind of off-the-field buzzes, including using social media to blast former Gators and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. Nobody questions his ceiling as a college football player, which at the very least is higher than any defensive end Kansas has had since Charlton Keith.

BCS conference offers: Nebraska, Washington State.

KU recruiter: Charlie Weis.

Anticipated arrival: January.

1. Marquel Combs, 6-3, 305, DT, Pierce: He decommitted from Mississippi in September and cited a concern that he might not be able to cram enough classes into his fall semester to meet requirements in time to enroll in time for spring football. If Combs has his academic house in order in time to enroll at Kansas for this coming semester and can have an entire offseason working with strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple and a spring and summer under the tutelage of Wyatt and Campo, Kansas could have its first All-Big 12 defensive tackle since McClinton, a second-team All-American in 2007.

BCS conference offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Boston College, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oregon State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M;, Texas Tech, Washington State.

KU recruiter: Blasko.

Anticipated arrival: January.


Doug Cramer 5 years, 5 months ago

OK - I will publicly admit...I was wrong about Weis's ability to recruit. I've been ripping on two items that I thought would limit this programs performance. The D-line and Weis's recruiting class.

Absolutely love the attention that he has given the D-line !!! LOVE IT !!!

Finally we realize how important that D-line is...and we got some decent talent coming in.

Not gonna make any predictions...but I'm willing to bet we win more than 1 game next season. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK !!!

Saguaro_Jayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

You should remember or realize that most first yr coaches are hired too late to effectively have a good 1st recruiting class. It happens to even the best of them.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

Nobody misses Turner's DL and K recruiting.

Dillon Davis 5 years, 5 months ago

Damn Jeff Blasko killed it on the trail!!

Displayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Give that boy a raise! ...... A BIG ONE! Job well done!

DrGraydog 5 years, 5 months ago

Going to suprise some folks next year......

kellerman411 5 years, 5 months ago

Any word on Reeve Koehler? Last I knew, Blasko jumped the gun a little on Twitter but the kid hadn't committed yet. This guy is something else, he tosses Juco D-lineman like rag dolls.

kellerman411 5 years, 5 months ago

maybe that's why he looked so good in film.... ehhh still want him

Brandon Deines 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh yeah, we definitely want him. Kid looks like a stud. Just a point of clarification.

Bville Hawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow, Tom's column has been up for over 7 hours and not one J-School dropout writing critic has jumped in to complain.

Next season should be interesting.

JayDocMD 5 years, 5 months ago

His list matched his title. Give the man a cookie.

MoralVictory 5 years, 5 months ago

It's interesting that we don't hear too much about Grunhard in terms of recruiting. Perhaps this is just how the responsibilities are divided but I thought that we would hear a lot more about him with the OL recruits.

vd 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm assuming none of the top 10 are HS recruits, right?

Brandon Deines 5 years, 5 months ago

No, but I'd put Bloomfield above both Smithburg and Fondal. I don't know just what Keegan's criteria was, but Bloomfield looks like a better player to me, but the Juco guys are probably more ready for Big XII football.

Tom Keegan 5 years, 5 months ago

This was my list of top 10 among 16 juco recruits.

Bville Hawk 5 years, 5 months ago

NCAA regs prohibit a school from announcing or commenting on HS recruits until national signing day in February.

Chris Bailey 5 years, 5 months ago

The title says our top 10 JUCO recruits.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

Not until 3 years from now, that is.

Brandon Deines 5 years, 5 months ago

I hope for the sake of our offense that Rodriguez Coleman belongs on this list.

Jim Jackson 5 years, 5 months ago

We are also in very good standing with Colton Goeas; ILB and Reeve Koehler's HS teammate who decommitted from Tennessee.

Love what this staff is doing. To be 1-11 and recruit like this is very, very impressive.

We are going bowling next year.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

Easy, pal.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

flloyd 5 years, 5 months ago

Six wins??? Maybe if we join the Missouri Valley Conference. We'll be lucky to win two games...look at our schedule next year. This building process is going to take many years. Gill did much more damage to KU than Prince did to KU.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

Can anyone tell me where this class ranks so far...I mean officially?

I've gotten varying information on this.

Brandon Deines 5 years, 5 months ago

30 on Rivals. Some teams behind us could pass us as they add high school recruits, but our class could still get a lot better by adding one or more of Koehler, Finnin, St. John, Danzey or poach some kids from some SEC classes that have too many commitments or from a school that lost their coach.

panalytic 5 years, 5 months ago

It was great to hear more about these football recruits! It is difficult to know what to make out of a new recruit, so any more analysis is good to hear, including this rating.

tecuani 5 years, 5 months ago

p> has KU #4 in the Big 12, #30 in College Football.

edmondjayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Through Saturday, Dec 15th, had KU tied for 34th in recruiting. The rest of the Big 12 went as follows:

  1. Texas
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Oklahoma State
  4. Baylor T34. Kansas T34. Virginia Tech
  5. Iowa State
  6. TCU T55. Texas Tech T55. K-State

edmondjayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

That was jacked up....

Texas ...13th......Oklahoma ....22nd.......O-State....24....Baylor ....26......West Virginia and KU tied at 34th......Iowa State....41.....TCU....48.......K-State and Texas Tech tied at 55..........hopefully these standings aren't as confusing. Nit sure what happened on the last post.

Lucas Town 5 years, 5 months ago

I am not going to read into this too much. KSU is always last in recruiting. ISU and TCU are really well coached teams. I am glad to see Weis bringing in some good looking players. Winning any games in the Big 12 will be tough, I think our schedule is going to be just as difficult next year. None of our FBS opponents had a losing record this last season.

pbouldenv 5 years, 5 months ago

Good stuff Keegan! I really enjoyed reading this article. Just reminds me of how solid this class is.

NebraskaJayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I notice there aren't any big time playmaker wide receivers that made the top ten list. I'm going to beat this horse for a while because we need a big time receiver in a big way. Just one...somebody who can change the game in the passing game. Somebody that requires double and triple coverage so when Tony Pierson breaks one past the LB corpse the entire opposing defense goes "Oh !@#$". A WR that can truly stretch defenses will change our game offensively because by what everyone is saying, we have a QB that has the accuracy and the arm strength downfield to get the ball to him. That's my Christmas wish. A real "go to" receiver.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

He's an unproven 5-star transfer.

We've seen that go horribly wrong. Until further notice, he's no better than any receiver we are recruiting or currently have on the roster.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

I think McCay will be a little bit of a disappointment, but the underrated Mark Thomas and Rodriguez Coleman will make up for it.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

JUCO WR Mark Thomas runs a 4.4 40. ESPN says JUCO WR Rodriguez Coleman "plays fast and explosive" and "has very quick feet and good stop/start ability given his height." I'll go out on a limb and say those guys will be able to stretch the defense.

NebraskaJayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Hope you're right, Boouk. Really hope you are. I just know a lot of Jucos can't make the jump. We got the Juco player of the year a few years back and the guy barely even saw the field.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

Their athleticism will translate to the Big 12, but the question is can they run good routes and catch. If they both can do that and someone else (McCay, Turzilli, Parmalee) steps up, we'll be fine at WR next season. Big ifs though.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

Honestly our run D was relatively stable this year. And LB play wasn't terrible. But obviously the two embarrassing aspects of our defense is pass rush and secondary.

It is comforting to see so much attention paid to these areas, but we still have to remain skeptical until we see it pay off on the field. Remember that JUCO players, regardless of caliber, are just as hit or miss as high school recruits...if not more so.

Understand one thing...we will probably still get burned deep. That's been our stigma for quite some time. Having said that, the two things to look for next year in gauging improvement are as follows:

1) Are we hurrying the quarterback, and once we do, are the players fundamentally sound enough to approach with the right angles to make the sack?

2) Are the cornerbacks still playing 10 yards off wideouts? The biggest improvement, in my opinion, is not whether our secondary can avoid getting beat deep, but rather that they are in position to make a play on the short pass.

These little things would help us tremendously. The only question that we have the personnel and coaching to get it done?

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

Review our D Line play over the past two seasons. Several times we were in position to make the sack, but either couldn't wrap up or just blew right by due to terrible angles.

Regardless, it's fundamentals...not the conference choice of offensive schemes.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

It's the coaches fault the players took bad angles and missed tackles?

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

Is poor tackling and bad positioning not a reflection of the coaching staff?

If that's the case, then apparently Bill Snyder has been recruiting nothing but 4 and 5 star defensive players his whole career.

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 5 months ago

Ty McKinney is now listed at Rivals as a 2013 commit....i assume that means he's ready to sign again. our d-line should be a lot better next year, and in just overall strength, quickness and the pass rush....we must wreak havoc in the backfield on defense....'tis where it all starts.

Rock Chalk!

hawkdds 5 years, 5 months ago

It would certainly help the defense if the offemse could stay on the field longer with a complimentary passing attack. I don't care how good you are if your gasping for air you can't compete.

NebraskaJayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Dude, our offense ate a lot of clock this year. That was not an issue at all this past season.

Jeff Suther 5 years, 5 months ago

I remember one of the knocks on Weis was he wouldn't care enough about the D to get good enough recruits. Appears that couldn't be further from the truth

lama 5 years, 5 months ago

Illinois is apparently still recruiting Johnson.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

Fusimalohi should probably be ahead of Smithburg on this list, even though Smithburg just won the JUCO national championship. He had some offers from better schools than Smithburg did.

JHAWKERJIM 5 years, 5 months ago

I love our recruits coming in and know we have super running backs returning but I am concerned we don't seem to be recuiting new ones. Any reasons or are in on any good ones? Anyone know?


JayHok 5 years, 5 months ago

A key to allowing our defense to be its best is to have a potent offense controlling the gridiron, keeping the defense fresh. For the sake of the imagination put Heaps at QB. McCay at one wide receiver. Pierson at the slot. Sims at RB. Now find one more 6'2" or taller 4.5 WR who can pluck the ball out of traffic and our offense suddenly looks extremely potent.

I agree with most if we can find another game breaker type to put on the other side of the line at WR we should click right away. We have several good ones, Parmalee included. However solid offenses substitute and stay fresh for four quarters if need be so I see one more gamebreakser WR as extremely important for next year.

How about our tight end situation?

Think Tony Gonzales. How nice is it to have a 6'5" 260 muscle with soft hands who can pick you up 7 yards just about anytime.

Any word on tight ends or WR's would be greatly appreciated. Happy Holidays to all.

Forgive, Smile, Cry, Hug, Love.

Bee Bee 5 years, 5 months ago

KU will have to IMPROVE A LOT TO win four games next season. To go from where they are now to bowl eligible would be a very long shot. Four wins would be a great second season for CW. I m not getting carried away until I see these recruits play. I heard about how great Crist was. How did that work out for us? He couldn't hit his a** with both hands. Just saying.

NebraskaJayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Uh..not really. We could have easily won three games this season. We were very close to doing that actually.

Bee Bee 5 years, 5 months ago

You re correct, sir. 'COULD HAVE." There isn't a column for that, just wins and losses. On paper these recruits look good. How they will stack up against OU, UT, KSU etc is a different matter. If you figure a couple non con wins next season or even all three, how many league games can KU REALISTICALLY win? Two would be good and three would be more than good. I m basing this on where they were this year and how good the teams at the top of the BIG 12 are. I d like a ten win season but I m trying to hold back expectations until I see them on the field. Remember Crist? RCJKU

flloyd 5 years, 5 months ago

We'll be lucky to win two games in 2013...look at our schedule next year. This rebuilding process is going to take many, many years. Gill did much more damage to KU than Prince did to KSU. Look at our stadium and then take a look at what K-Stae is doing to theirs. Look at all the other Big 12 school facilities and it'll be a wonder if we can get any top-notch recruits.

kellerman411 5 years, 5 months ago

lol and all you hear from recruits who visit is how nice our facilities are. Dayne Crist was quoted telling the TE that came with him that KU's facilities were as good if not better than Notre Dames... You really need to do your homework, bud. Our stadium is starting to get tired but everything else is top notch.

lama 5 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. Stadium is fine, and will be great once they get the track issue resolved.

Bee Bee 5 years, 5 months ago

Notre Dame has an old stadium and they do ok. I dont care if KU plays in a parking lot, JUST WIN GAMES! Priorities.

Lucas Town 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree about the schedule and how tough it is to win conference games. I think we will see the W's add up in year three. I know we are all excited about this recruiting class and the potential that is there, but sadly this upgrade will probably put us on Iowa St, Texas Tech, West Virginia or Baylor's level defensively. I don't see this group coming in and performing like TCU, KSU or OU's defenses, at least not next year. Better days are ahead.

Kman_blue 5 years, 5 months ago

Texas Tech had the #2 D in the Big 12 and a top 40 overall D last year. I'll take that.

KU's D was better than Baylor's D and right behind WVU's D this year, so KU is already at their level on D. Any improvement KU makes on D next year should put us ahead of those schools.

With the quality of depth KU recruited on the DL and at the LB and DB spots, along with the development of the returners including a couple of RS Freshman and some players who showed they're good already, I think it's more than fair to be optimistic about a dramatic improvement on D next year for KU.

Lucas Town 5 years, 5 months ago

Tech's D was really good until they got into the meat of their schedule. They started 6-1 and finished 7-5. In some of their wins they gave up some scoring. But a 7-5 team is a bowl bound team. I think I could live with that. I think our defense is better than our offense and way better than any of our special team units. Those are other areas that need fixed. It is getting better though.

Bee Bee 5 years, 5 months ago

KU was 1 and 11. Doesn't matter how many PLAYS AWAY they were from beating Texas etc. To say KU will win 6 next season means that you believe KU's talent will be just two games worse than Texas? I don't think so. Texas didnt have a good year by their standards but their players/athletes are far better than KU at this point. Not to mention OU, OSU, Baylor and KSU. KU has to improve A LOT to get to six wins. I hope they do but I don't see it. I ll gladly be wrong and will be attending the bowl game if they go.

Bee Bee 5 years, 5 months ago

PS The fact that KU lost to NIU and Rice tells you they have a lot of work to do. I know NIU is in B_S bowl That is a joke and we all know it.

Kman_blue 5 years, 5 months ago

Saying KU has to get close to Texas's talent level to win 6 games next year is ridiculously stupid. Sorry to be harsh, but that's the only way I can think of to put it. I suppose using that reasoning, you think Iowa St. has close to the same level of talent as Texas this year, since they won 6 games, right?

Texas is the most talented team in the Big 12 almost every year. OU may have had more talent this year, but talent alone doesn't win or lose games. It helps a lot for sure, but Texas should be a case study on the limits of raw talent alone and how far that can get you.

No, KU doesn't need to have to be close to top 10 level talent(Texas's talent level) to win 6 games next year and KU controlling the game against Texas for all but the last minute of the game this year should have shown you that.

Lucas Town 5 years, 5 months ago

So our record really looks like this then 1-7-0-4. 1 win, 7 losses, 0 ties and 4 could have wons. Well it still says no bowl game. We have to close games out and win them. All those close games say we are capable of playing tough football for an entire game but other teams found a way to win. I am saying 4 wins next year, with a schedule that is still brutal. What will we say if we don't beat K-State (losing their whole team). Because Snyder always preps well for us.

Lucas Town 5 years, 5 months ago

That is exactly what I said in an earlier post. We are capable of playing tough football. Bowling next year is going to be a tall order. Just because we signed some good looking recruits means nothing until gameday and W's arrive. We are so far behind every one else in the Big 12 these recruits will put us closer to where Iowa State has been the last few years. Bowling will be possible, but I am not so optomistic in 2013. 2014 we will be ready.

Kman_blue 5 years, 5 months ago

You do realize Iowa State has gone bowling the last 2 years in a row, right?

So, in your own words, with these new recruits KU will be close to bowling next year (what ISU is doing) and that still takes 6 wins, so you just agreed with phog1004!

I get it though, you're being overly cautious about your expectations until you see the proof on the field in a real game.

Lucas Town 5 years, 5 months ago

Exactly, I am saying 4-5 wins next year (close to bowling) and bowl game in 2014. Iowa State has been to bowl games but they typically find them selves at 6-6, not 8-4 or 9-3. 6-6 is where I think we can be in 2014 and improving with this staff each year after that.

texashawk10 5 years, 5 months ago

KU has 6 of the top 100 JuCo recruits according to ESPN.

1) DT- Marquel Combs

70) WR- Rodriguez Coleman

77) DE- Chris Martin

80) CB- Dexter McDonald

90) OL- Ahongalu Fusimalohi

94) LB- Marcus Jenkins-Moore

Something interesting I noticed on the list is that former KU commit Dreamius Smith is ranked 26th and is now a 4 star player headed to West Virginia.

Kman_blue 5 years, 5 months ago

Dexter was injured for much of this year and that's why he hardly saw the field. If he was healthy the entire year, he would have started every game for them.

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