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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jayhawk recruit Marquel Combs top-ranked juco prospect

Kansas commit Marquel Combs. Rivals.com contributed photo.

Kansas commit Marquel Combs. Rivals.com contributed photo.

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What already was perceived by many as a solid Kansas University recruiting class received a little extra validation Tuesday, when ESPN released its list of the top 100 junior-college football prospects in the country.

Six of those players have committed to KU, including top-ranked Marquel Combs.

Combs, a four-star defensive tackle from Pierce Community College in Woodland Hills, Calif., is one of 8-to-12 members of Kansas University’s 2013 recruiting class expected to slap their signatures on letters of intent today on the first day of the midyear transfer signing period.

Combs, who has served as an unofficial recruiting liaison for the Jayhawks since announcing his decision last week, is one of two four-star prospects in KU’s current class, which continues to climb the rankings list nationally.

As of Tuesday night, KU’s class, which features 23 total commitments and 16 from juco prospects, was ranked 31st by Rivals.com. That puts the Jayhawks fifth in the 10-team Big 12 Conference, ahead of West Virginia, Iowa State, TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech.

There remains a ways to go in the recruiting process, with the second signing period still six weeks away. So it’s possible that the rankings could change drastically.

At the rate coach Charlie Weis and his staff are going, it’s possible the Jayhawks could climb even higher, especially considering that the No. 6 player on ESPN’s juco 100, Trinity Valley C.C. offensive tackle Josiah St. John, 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, has KU listed among his finalists.

Another four-star prospect who could impact KU’s overall ranking is high school standout Reeve Koehler, a 6-3, 280-pound guard from Honolulu who is rated by Rivals as the eighth-best prep guard in the nation.

KU also is in the running for three-star College of DuPage standout Matt Finnin, a 6-8, 330-pound offensive tackle who started his career and has since played at three other schools while helping his father through a health issue. Finnin is believed to have a final list of KU, Marshall, Maryland, Oklahoma, Nebraska and West Virginia.

McKinney coming

Today marks the end of a long journey for Trinity Valley C.C. defensive tackle Ty McKinney, who committed to KU in February, was expected to arrive in time for the 2012 season but ran into academic snags and was forced to stay away.

McKinney, 6-4, 310, is expected to sign his letter of intent today and arrive on campus in time for the spring semester.

More postseason honors

James Sims might have been left off the All-Big 12 first team by the league’s coaches, but the junior running back who led the league in rushing was a first-team pick of college football analyst Phil Steele and ESPN.com.

Sims joined five other Jayhawks in earning postseason honors from the two outlets. Senior offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson and sophomore linebacker Ben Heeney were named second-team All-Big 12 by Steele, who also tapped senior safety Bradley McDougald as a third-team selection. And red-shirt freshman linebacker Jake Love and freshman kick returner Tre’ Parmalee were named to ESPN.com’s all-freshman Big 12 team.

Harris on fire

KU cornerback Chris Harris added another chapter to his breakthrough season Sunday, picking up his third interception of the season and returning it 98 yards for a touchdown during the Denver Broncos’ 34-17 victory at Baltimore. The pick-six was the second of the season for Harris, who is starting to make a serious push in the Pro Bowl voting.

Through 14 games, Harris, an undrafted free agent in 2011, ranks second in the league among defensive backs with 2.5 sacks, 20th in the league in interceptions and has recorded 51 tackles and 14 pass break-ups.

Voting for the Pro Bowl is now closed, and the results will be announced Dec. 26. Former KU standout Darrell Stuckey (San Diego special teams) also was on the ballot.

Comments

MoralVictory 1 year, 10 months ago

Call me jaded but I never thought that we'd see McKinney on campus. This says a lot about him and about the staff. They identified a kid who would see things through. So often these situations end up with the kid disappearing into the mist, it's great to hear that he'll be heading to Lawrence in January.

The big push on OL and DL recruiting shows that these coaches know where the holes are, and they know that the game begins and ends at the line of scrimmage.

Imagine what they'll be able to do with the next recruiting cycle!

Jim Erickson 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm usually not a big fan of going after JUCO guys, but it's nice to see a "Win Now" mentality. This class should make us a better team next year which is great. The program didn't have the big step forward this year that we would have hoped, so hopefully this is a nice signal that next year will be that big step.

That being said, I would like to see a nice crop of HS guys as well. There is a lot to be said about guys like Pick, Opurum, and Hawkinson staying in the program for 4-5 years.

flyingfinn 1 year, 10 months ago

Can not agree with you more. Know we had to do something drastic to improve quickly but hopefully we will see a trend to more high school seniors

texashawk10 1 year, 10 months ago

At a place like KU, JuCo players are the lifeblood that can make or break a program. There are not enough HS players in the region to support a BCS level program and KU doesn't have a history to go into Texas and get very many good players out of that state. Teams in states without enough HS talent to support their program that are successful are also the ones that have a higher percentage of JuCo players than traditional powers. This year is a very high percentage of JuCo recruits and I think a more ideal balance would be more of a 50/50 split between JuCo and high school kids and I think we'll start seeing that happening in the next season or two.

Stan Unruh 1 year, 10 months ago

Great to read KU football stories any time of year. Santa- Weis and his coaches are doing a super job.

NoteToSelf 1 year, 10 months ago

I completely forgot about McKinney and also never thought he would show up on campus at KU. The JUCO model worked pretty well for Bill Snyder at KSU when he started from scratch and had to build a program. Charlie seems to know what he is doing even though it didn't translate to "wins" in his first year. Same thing happened to Mangino and he turned out to be the winningest football coach in KU history. Go Charlie!

vd 1 year, 10 months ago

We are getting more FB articles now then during the season. Thank you LJW for covering the most important sport better. Please continue.

Jim Jackson 1 year, 10 months ago

Since Mckinney is back on board, that takes us to 24 commitments, with 3 spots open. Anyone know what scenario could play out for us to be able to sign 28, maybe 29 players? Can we release some walk- ons? Would that work?

Dale Stringer 1 year, 10 months ago

Walk-ons don't count toward the number, so dropping them doesn't open up more spots. Look at our BB team. We are only allowed 13 scholorship players, but we have 16 because of the three coach's son walking-on. I would really be cool if we could get some 4-5 star walk-ons too.

texashawk10 1 year, 10 months ago

The basketball team has 12 scholarship players and 4 walk-ons now because of Zach Peters departure. The three coaches sons and Christian Garrett is also a walk-on.

jhawkrulz 1 year, 10 months ago

Technically speaking wasn't Wesley a walk-on as well, but given a scholarship.

Anyways, I believe you can only give 25 scholarships away each year, but if you don't fulfill all of them you can carry two forward. This is the case this year for football. We have the typical 25 + 2 scholarships from last year, which is where the #27 comes from. As pointed out, you can have as many walk-ons as you would like. Walk-ons the following year are elgible for scholarships without taking away from your 25.

hawkdds 1 year, 10 months ago

Dear Santa. please deliver to coach Charlie Weis one incoming freshman WR the likes of Tevon Austin, a burner with great hands, academically sound and indestructible. A person who enjoys the game and makes everybody around him a better person and player. A player who disdains the NFL until his four years are over and his degree earned.Its been a long time since I asked for anything and promise not to beg again for another four years. While you are at it drop a little something on Matt Tait, he's been an awfully good boy this year and perhaps a box of cigars for Tom Keegan, he promises to match his articles with the titles next year. Merry Christmas and Rock Chalk.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 10 months ago

So scout has a few of the top JUCO guys listed as "soft" commitments. That's never usually worked out for us, but I don't sense any reservations from the LJW writers or posters that they aren't pretty solid commits. Any insight into why they would be listed as "soft"

Jim Jackson 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't really trust Scout. They seem a bit disoriented

Boouk 1 year, 10 months ago

Mundine and Charles Brooks return and Jordan Smith comes off his red-shirt, so we should be good there receiving wise and probably below average blocking wise.

jhawkrulz 1 year, 10 months ago

In the 2013 recruiting on ESPN for Tight Ends: Verbal Commitments Ben Johnson #22 TE out of High School (KS) 6'5" 225 rated 75 (3stars) (List-KU,KSU,ISU)

Considering Durham Smythe #7 TE out of High School (TX) 6'5"230 rated 80 (4stars) (List-ASU,BU,FU,G,KU,Miami,MI,MO,NE,NW,ND,OU,Miss,Stan,TCU,UT,TAM,TTU)

Austin Burau TE out of High School (Lee Summit) 6'5" 215 unrated (List-KU,MU,NE,NM,OU)

Boouk 1 year, 10 months ago

Are we recruiting any safeties right now? Unless we're planning on moving Dexter McDonald to safety, I think we should try to get a safety capable of starting from day 1 so we aren't relying on Tevin Shaw, Ray Mitchell, or Dexter Linton starting alongside Isaiah Johnson.

JayHok 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks Boouk. This is very interesting regarding the Tight End situation. Looks like we're OK but I'd think this is a major position that needs talent considering Weis' offense. It seems this would be THE one position Weis could really go get just about any Tight End he wants.

Nothing like a tight end that can pick up 7 yards anytime you need it.

texashawk10 1 year, 10 months ago

Mundine is the TE that can get a few yards when needed. KU needs a TE to help with blocking because that is going to be one of the biggest concerns on the team because they're replacing the left side of the line and the right side struggled with consistency last year.

Teameat 1 year, 10 months ago

"KU cornerback Chris Harris added another chapter to his breakthrough season Sunday" Not to be that guy but Harris was the Broncos' defensive player of the year last season so I wouldn't call it a breakthrough season.

collegebb 1 year, 10 months ago

You didn't follow Denver very much did you? Harris was used on ST last year and sparingly as DB. Did a solid job. Harris was not the defensive player of the year for them. Watch Von Miller last year at all? Von was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

jhawkrulz 1 year, 10 months ago

And will probably be the Defensive Player of the Year this year.

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