Advertisement

Advertisement

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Weis: Juco Jayhawks have chance to challenge vets, turn around program

Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis discusses KU’s recently signed junior-college transfers at a news conference on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, at KU.

Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis discusses KU’s recently signed junior-college transfers at a news conference on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, at KU.

Advertisement

Until Thursday, it had been up to the Kansas University football recruits themselves to talk up KU’s 2013 class and point out the strengths and interesting stories behind each of the 10 mid-year junior-college transfers who signed their letters of intent on Wednesday.

But Thursday, the man who landed them all took the microphone and, for the first time, was able to explain how so many players from such different places came together and picked Kansas.

“We kind of got into a very unique situation that no one could’ve expected, even us,” said second-year KU coach Charlie Weis. “I’d like to sit there and say we had it all nailed down, but we got into one of those unique perspectives where we challenged a lot of these guys to come and be a part of the reason why we went from 1-11 to whatever.”

The whatever remains to be seen, but with a class that currently ranks 32nd in the nation and fifth in the Big 12 conference, the importance of recruiting continues to be a cornerstone of Weis’ program.

“To me, you have two seasons,” Weis said Thursday. “You have the football season and then you have the recruiting season. And if you don’t treat the recruiting season just as important, then you’re never going to win on players.”

In the past couple of weeks — a period of time in which Weis admitted there were “a couple of miserable days” — the Jayhawks picked up a pair of four-star prospects and filled in around them. There’s a reason seven of the 10 mid-year transfers are linemen. And Weis spelled it out Thursday, in no uncertain terms.

“I don’t think we’re good enough,” he said. “If you don’t have offensive and defensive linemen, it doesn’t make a difference what else you have. If you don’t have those guys, you can have the greatest skill guys in the world, but if the offensive line can’t block, guess what, it’s not going to make a difference.”

Two of the most high-profile members of the group play on the defensive line, and Weis said their mere presence would give KU a chance to improve its woeful pass rush from 2012.

Pierce Community College defensive tackle Marquel Combs was ranked as the top junior-college prospect in the country by ESPN, and Weis said landing Combs was critical in putting together the rest of the group, which included four-star defensive end Chris Martin of City College of San Francisco.

“I was in his face,” Weis said of his visit with Combs. “I basically said, ‘Are you afraid?’ And that was right up his alley. He accepted the challenge and once he jumped on board, there were a lot of other people saying, ‘Well if he’s coming, let’s go.’ I think it really had a positive snowballing effect.”

With Combs committed, the rest fell into place quickly. Last week alone, KU picked up 10 oral commitments and six of them signed Wednesday. The others are expected to graduate in May and report to KU in June.

Regardless of when they would arrive, the class, led by Combs, adopted a slogan of “Dream Team 2013,” which speaks to the mindset of the newcomers. Weis said he did not anticipate their confidence dividing the roster. For one, he said the newcomers and current players got along great on the various visits.

“They’re like long lost best friends and they haven’t even been teammates yet,” Weis said.

Weis also believes that bringing in more talent will motivate the returning players to work harder to hold their spots.

“If they can’t read the writing on the wall, they’re not very intelligent,” Weis said. “That should drive them. The competition is totally different. It doesn’t make any difference what position you play; the competition has now changed. It’s not the same. And, if you don’t get better in a hurry, you’ll never play.”

That’s really what it’s all about. That’s the reason Weis is never happy with solid efforts and does not believe in moral victories. It’s why he’s willing to play anyone on his roster at any time as long as he thinks that gives his teams the best chance to succeed. And it’s why he hit the junior-college ranks as hard as he did this offseason, with 10 already signed and perhaps as many as 10 more coming in February.

“I want guys that can play, and I want to blend them with high school guys that want to play at Kansas,” Weis said. “You know what? You take that formula right there and we’ll have a chance to really get this right.”

Comments

April13 1 year, 4 months ago

One hidden advantage of this approach to recruiting is this: with 5 weeks till high school signing day, Weis and the entire staff can go all in on the remaining 4 or 5 players. If they succeed, we could have a top-20 class.

0

HawkInAL 1 year, 4 months ago

Already making plans for @Rice and for this after a 7-5 regular season.

0

Micky Baker 1 year, 4 months ago

If we could have gotten St. John, OU moved up to number 10 with him from 22. We would have moved into the top 20 in this year's recruiting classes with him. Oh well, just make him pay for that decision when he comes to town with the Sooners this year.

0

Micky Baker 1 year, 4 months ago

The USA Today wrote about KU's recruiting class, and they are impressed.

0

JHWKDW 1 year, 4 months ago

Hey so be it if it happens! I would be glad if it happen, Im just saying I am not -going to Vegas and putting money on it, predicting it to happen.I think we got great Juco guys, I also hope we can get some H.S. recruits.

I am still standing by us not getting in a Bowl game till 14, I hope I am proven wrong, trust me Id love to be proven wrong, well we have 9 months to sit around and wonder what will happen.

Interesting indeed.

0

JHWKDW 1 year, 4 months ago

Im not putting us in any Bowl game period. Im glad he got these recruits, but it is baby steps folks. lets get all these guys playing together successful first, then work on trying to get to .500.

Now I want to know are we also going to try to also get some good High School recruits also or is this is it for recruiting?

0

JayHok 1 year, 4 months ago

How many previously ranked 5 stars will be working with Hopsopple this offseason in the weight room?

Four?

Combs, Martin, McKay, Heaps, possibly Pierson...

Two on offense two on defense mixed in with several 4 stars and highly rated JUCO players.

I think as fans it's defintely OK to be excited for next year!

Win the first 4 and go from there.

0

JayHok 1 year, 4 months ago

KU fans excited for 2013 football to start shows great things are happening after KU being publically removed from BCS and bowl conversation for 3 years due to a list to long to detail, including a handoff from starting the season 6-0 three years ago, the seasom stopped short by an injury to Reesing in the second half in Boulder. More things than that happened that year, but that's when the real pain began. The tables are finally turning back to where they were and even better it appears than the state of things back then, even if Mangino had stayed.

For the next six months we need to root for Hopsopple and for the players to go to the gym themselves and run simple run and throw drills all offseason. Just like a basketball team that works hard in the offseason we now have a strength coach, a staff, and a group of players with chips on their shoulders. It takes hard work and timing in the offseason to get it right for those first 4 games of the season that are so crucial.

Win each of those first 4 games and see where that takes us thereafter. It's the offseason work that gets us there, along with great recruits. Thank god we have Hopsopple. He's the behind the scenes game breaker.

0

Mark Lindrud 1 year, 4 months ago

I coached in Arizona at a JUCO and saw lots of our players make it to D1 schools with some success. Most of them are good guys who weren't ready for D1, but after a year or two of development and maturity they were highly prepared. Many of them want to show their worth and often are hungrier for success than guys currently on the roster. We will be improved, and the sooner guys mesh then the sooner we can become a cohesive unit ready for success.

0

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

SSDD: The 1-11 Crybabyfans think that specific W/L record is all the "evidence" they need about Weis, but probably didnt even read the actual article above. All the rest of us realized early on, just how outclassed in talent, size, and speed+skill much of the 2012 KU roster really was. All the rest of us know we need the recruits. For example, I will quote myself from previous threads: "Give Campo some big, fast, physical CBs to be able to get out of that (dang) cushion, and play bump&run to throw off timing of BigXII opponents passing attacks...(& maybe allow a pass rush to get us a sack?)". Bottom line: need the jimmies & joes, or there is little genius that Weis (offensively) or Campo (defensively) can actually show, eh? They need athletes to work with. People capable of executing more-than-vanilla schemes. But, NO, the "1-11 Crybabyfans" simply cannot grasp that fact.

0

Patrick Bryant 1 year, 4 months ago

Stay positive on the JUCO recruits. Kids go to JUCO's for all sorts of reasons. JUCO's do a pretty good job of weeding out the problems and getting a majority of them pointed in the right direction. Sure there are problems but every program (D1 to JUCO's) has their share of Taco Bell incidents.

0

Jim Jackson 1 year, 4 months ago

I am VERY excited. With the addition of receivers McCay(not eligible this past year), Coleman, Thomas and Hyman, I expect the passing game to open up and be MUCH improved.

As I said, Heaps set several records at BYU and with Turzilli showing promise and Ford learning the offense, I expect a dangerous passing attack.

Sorry, but having 2 WR's starting at 5'9, which we did (1 AA!!!), we had no chance especially with our QB play.

Further to that, I expect McCay to step up. You would think that in the spring with his natural talents he would have been a clear no.1 WR (before being ruled ineligible) but he was not. Hopefully he reads our comments about him and it fuels his fire because there are doubts about his ability.

0

KGphoto 1 year, 4 months ago

Top to bottom it seems this class was being more heavily recruited by better programs than any KU class for quiet awhile. We certainly haven't landed two 4-star Dlineman in the same class that I can remember. (Really a 4 and a 5)

Combs alone is going to make a huge difference along the Dline. He's the kind of natural leader Weis was talking about at a position we need a leader at. I think we got our anchor on that line for the next couple of years. You can't overstate the importance of that. It's were everything starts defensively. Tavai came in and played okay with a late start. Combs is obviously much better and getting the full prep time.That's an A+ defensive recruit for Charlie.

Martin is another guy I see as becoming a leader immediately. Because of his experience with Weis and Holsopple, because he has the physical ability to become an alpha at DE, and because he has the nasty streak that gets other guys pumped up. Two years ago he had the talent to be offered by Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC and others, and was considered the 18th best player in the country, regardless of position. I doubt his talent has really dropped off so much. If he keeps it clean off the field, he'll be a menace on it.

Sorry, Cogburn, but I'm excited about this class.

2

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 4 months ago

Is it football season yet!????? Seriously, I just want to see these guys play! Lol It's like getting your heartbroken by your highschool sweetheart then meeting a gorgeous chick online that you can't meet until September. THIS IS PAINFUL!!! At least it's for a good reason though. RCJH!!!

0

Jim Jackson 1 year, 4 months ago

Heaps set several records at BYU. Unlike Crist, he does not have 2 bum knees.

Heaps will lead us to victories.

3

Brian Leiker 1 year, 4 months ago

This means jack sh*t until we have a QB. What if Heaps isn't the answer? Why didn't he go balls to the wall for the best Juco QB out there? Our receivers run horrible routes and I think thats partly Rob's fault. I know this much. If Snyder had this class, by next year they would be in the hunt again.

0

Jim Jackson 1 year, 4 months ago

In '02 Mangino's second season, he did the exact same thing, signed about 16 JUCO guys and we went to a bowl game that season. He inherited D1AA talent and we had far inferior facilities. I'm going to say that these JUCO guys, overall, are superior in ability and we have far better talent already enrolled.

We are going bowling. Rock Chalk!

3

danno1313 1 year, 4 months ago

I look at it like these JUCO players CAN'T be any worse than what KU already has.

0

Robert Brown 1 year, 4 months ago

It's always hard for me to get too excited about recruiting because I don't know anything about it and it is an inexact science. I assume that each of the JUCO players have two years of eligibility. It really comes down to coaching next year. No excuses about lack of talent. Can our coaching staff take this talent get them to I prove the way Bill Snyder takes classes that yearly rank at the bottom of the league in recruiting and consistently wins conference games or the way Bill Self will take a player that is ranked 50th or 60th overall and make him an NBA draft pick.

0

leonard 1 year, 4 months ago

"And it’s why he hit the junior-college ranks as hard as he did this offseason, with 10 already signed and perhaps as many as 10 more coming in February." - Tait

10 more in February? If every commit actually signs and shows up...including 10 more in Feb...what's the total number of jucos for the coming season?

0

jay_cheese 1 year, 4 months ago

Unfortunate that Charlie can't talk his way into more victories on the field. I'm happy we landed some of these players and do think they will help the team improve, but let's not lose focus the real victories that actually count. Terry Allen did better than one win....

0

Jayhawk470 1 year, 4 months ago

I'll believe it when I see it. We all thought Dayne Crist was going to come in and be the next Todd Reesing, and we all know how that turned out.

0

Chuck Woodling 1 year, 4 months ago

Some may consider it merely coincidental, but I find it ironic that Kansas University football shifted to a wholesale juco recruiting philosophy at virtually the same time the school announced it would beef up its academic admission requirements.

0

gutter 1 year, 4 months ago

What Bowl game are we going to? I figure we should be at least a top 70 team. What excuse do we have not to be? How much money was spent to improve our football facilities so that we could recruit and develop top tier athletes? We have had one of the worst if not the worst football program/s in the country over the past 3 seasons. I am looking forward to seeing the benefits of our hiring Coach Weis to turn around or at least improve our program. It can only get better. I hope. I sure wish Coach Weis and KU Football the best. Go get 'em Charlie!

0

JHWKDW 1 year, 4 months ago

Well I love hearing about the guys we have gotten from Jucos. Hope they can turn this thing around, and bring some respectability here at KU. Way to recruit guys.

Question for you Matt Tait do they have a recruiting plan for the High School guys in place, or will this be nothing but Juco recruits this season?

0

Shawn Otrimble 1 year, 4 months ago

My friend, who is a K-State alum and a huge fan made a friendly bet for a steak dinner. I bet that Kansas will have at least 5 wins in football and K-State will have 5 losses. I believe I've got this bet won.

0

bville_hawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Success in the off-season will lead to success during the season.

Stay the course, keep the faith.

1

Commenting has been disabled for this item.