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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Charlie Weis goes far, wide to fill first KU recruiting class

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis talked to the media on Wednesday about his first recruiting class at KU.

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis talked to the media on Wednesday about his first recruiting class at KU.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters about his first recruiting class during a National Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has a simple philosophy when it comes to recruiting.

“I believe you have to have a foundation where people live a drivable distance from your campus,” Weis said Wednesday during his national signing day news conference. “I don’t know how long that ride is, but that’s where it starts. Kids want their families to come watch them play.”

Weis’ philosophy, shaped during his time at Notre Dame, is something he believes works year to year under normal circumstances. Of course, the situation he inherited at Kansas is anything but normal, and Weis already has adjusted his thinking to ensure that KU has as good a shot as possible to win this fall.

For Weis’ first recruiting class at KU, that meant pulling in players from as far away as California, Florida, Maryland and Washington. And that led him to land Tampa, Fla., prospect Schyler Miles, a three-star inside linebacker who just might be the headliner in this year’s class of 20 players.

Miles, a senior at Berkeley Prep, first met the KU coach when Weis was the offensive coordinator at Florida, and their relationship continued after Weis left for Kansas. Weis’ interest in Miles wasn’t the first time the 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker had heard from Kansas. In fact, KU was the first school to send Miles a recruiting letter during his sophomore year of high school.

“I was real surprised,” Miles recalled of receiving the letter. “I was just real hyped up, and since I had never got a letter before, I was just real excited.”

With that in the back of his mind and his newfound friendship with Weis at the forefront, Miles passed up an offer from in-state perennial powerhouse Florida and chose Kansas.

“There were people down there in Florida who were dead-certain he was signing with Florida,” said Jon Kirby, who has covered KU recruiting for 13 years. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen KU go against a program with that much tradition and success and beat them out for a kid in their own state like that. I think it speaks volumes about what coach Weis can do as a recruiter.”

Weis, who had the rare luxury of making two in-home visits with Miles — one as an assistant at Florida and another as the head coach at Kansas — said his ability to develop a solid bond with Miles helped seal the deal.

“I talked to him all year long, so Schyler’s here,” Weis said. “It really comes down to who you feel most comfortable with.”

Of course, when it comes to putting together the best football team you can, the elements on the field factor in quite a bit, as well. That’s not a problem either. Ranked by Rivals as the 27th-best linebacker in the nation and the 69th-best prospect in Florida, Miles finished his senior season with 123 tackles and earned multiple all-state and all-county honors.

“You put on a tape, he makes 20 tackles,” Weis said. “It doesn’t make any difference what game it is, it doesn’t make a difference who it’s against, he’s gonna go make 20 tackles. I really like the kid. I like his family, I like his coach, I like his school, and I’m glad to be able to get him out of Florida to have him come and join us.”

Never one to pass up an opportunity to send a message or set the tone, Weis referred back to the personal connections when he was asked if beating out Florida and West Virginia for Miles made a statement to future KU recruits.

“It tells you that if you have relationships with kids in any part of the country, regardless of who you’re going against, you can get him,” Weis said. “That’s what it tells you. I’m just happy to get him because I think the kid can play.”

Miles is hardly the only potential impact player Weis landed in the 20-man class. In fact, because of what Weis referred to as “glaring holes” throughout the KU roster, several of the newcomers could be in position to play immediately. That’s part of the reason this year’s class was so diverse. It included nine high school prospects, eight junior-college transfers and three four-year transfers. Eleven of the 20 newcomers are offensive players; the other nine are defensive.

In addition to Miles, the players Weis seemed most excited about were: juco defensive tackle Jordan Tavai, 6-3, 290 (“people were still trying to steal him at 20 after 11, last night,” Weis said); juco defensive tackle Ty McKinney, 6-3, 310, (“the big body that sometimes you’re missing”); and juco wide receiver Josh Ford, 6-4, 190, (“he just looks like what you’re looking for. The quarterbacks were real excited when they saw him on his visit, and they weren’t alone.”)

By the numbers

Even though KU’s class — which Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and Justin McCay did not count toward in the rankings — did not crack the Rivals.com Top 50, the Jayhawks were represented in some of the position rankings. KU’s tight-end haul of junior-college transfer Charles Brooks and Waco, Texas, freshman Jordan Smith, ranked 22nd in the nation; KU’s two linebackers (Miles and Courtney Arnick) ranked the Jayhawks 31st; and KU’s defensive-tackle pick-ups (Tavai, McKinney, Keon Stowers and Tyler Holmes) ranked 32nd. In addition, the Jayhawks ranked eighth of the nine Big 12 schools eligible, with an average of 2.82 stars per player. Iowa State was ninth and Kansas State was seventh.

More help coming

Without getting into specifics, Weis continued to point to the fact that there are more fifth-year transfers on the way. The most likely scenario is that they’re coming from Notre Dame or Florida, but they won’t become official members of the team until they graduate in May.

“There’s multiple guys that fall into that category,” Weis said. “Several of those holes are already filled, it’s just with names that I can’t give you at this time.”

Back in time

Because last year’s class was not full and because they arrived at semester, two of the three newcomers already on campus (Crist, Heaps and McCay) will count toward the Class of 2011.

“Of the three guys we brought in at mid-year, it didn’t make any difference which two, we can count two of them backwards so the maximum number we would be able to sign in this year’s class would be a total of 27 (instead of the norm of 25),” Weis said. “We’re well on our way to being very tight with our numbers.”

‘A good start’

Although Weis emphasized that coaches never get everything they want on signing day, he seemed genuinely pleased by the class he put together in a little more than a month and pointed to a couple of key positions for the reason why.

“When you bring in multiple defensive linemen, obviously you think there is a hole at the position,” Weis said. “When you bring in three quarterbacks in one year, you obviously believe there is a major problem at that position. ... I don’t have enough fingers to put in the dike. There’s plenty of holes yet to fill, but I think we made a good start. I really feel confident that we filled several (areas of need).”

Comments

missouricat 2 years, 2 months ago

Will, be glad when the move to the SEC is over and start recruiting in the conference. As everyone knows that the southeast is loaded with talent in football and baskeball. That is why the SEC is #1 in football. MU will fit right in. From the pass postings, looks like it is true about what the other schools in the big 12 say, that KU has a bunch of nobodies that don't know their hindend from their front end and runs off the mouth, like a person with a alligator mouth with a humming-bird butthole. How was your year in football the last couple of years. HAHAHA. Point proved.

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Jrb09g 2 years, 2 months ago

Oh, I'm sure he went wide...

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cconner79 2 years, 2 months ago

I think that the press confrence was great, and Weis did a good job in a short time recruiting. I think that I am still going to temper my excitment do get me wrong I am excited. I cant wait to see these prospects on campus. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!!!!

As it goes for Missouricat good luck in the SEC you are going to need more than one 5 star recruit to survive in SEC. Just remember Alabama Auburn Florida South Carolina Tennesse those teams recruit 7 and 8 5 star recruits on a yearly basis. I would say Pinkel will need to start drinking again after they get run over in the SEC. Have fun with those 5 and 7 records and all you missouri fans will be trying to jump off every bridge in the great state of Missouri

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troutsee 2 years, 2 months ago

Be excepting, I guess you also accepted, Einstein. And you know what they say about bad rubbish.

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missouricat 2 years, 2 months ago

Looks like we did a real bangup job in recruiting this year, as the # 1 WR signed with us not to mension the others that are highly rated players, which put us at # 20 in the ratings. A lot of that came about because of the move to the SEC, which will do us well. This move is going to be a real shot in the arm and will benefit MU in all sports ,especially football and basketball. It is great that the SEC came calling and we excepted.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 2 months ago

Mark Golic Jr down as one of those guys to come in after graduation. In addition to a few more o-line players and a linebacker.

I know people that know people.

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Keith Hummel 2 years, 2 months ago

"Once we get 'em here, the University sells itself" - Coach Weis

Love that quote from yesterday. This is something everyone innately knows that has ever stepped foot on the KU Campus. And it is why there is absolutely no logical reason why The University of Kansas cannot have one of the premier football programs in the country.

Given the incredibly limited time he had, I couldn't be more impressed with the 2012 recruiting class. I don't know what our record is going to be this year, but it's clear Coach Weis is doing all the right things to make this program better. We will see a vastly improved team on the field this year, But maybe more importantly, we will also see a vastly improved coaching staff on the sidelines. I have no expectation of a bowl game this year, but it wouldn't surprise me if we did go. The sky's the limit now.

Didn't think I would ever say this a few months ago, but I cannot wait for football season to get here.

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troutsee 2 years, 2 months ago

I love college FB. I am a college FB addict. I always look forward to the fall. This year I will be even more eager to see Sept come around. We have a coaching staff and a QBs with chips on their shoulders and something to prove. That, my friends, leaves this optimistic Jayhawk even more optimistic. Believe me, this staff will get the job done. In my long Jayhawk life, I have only witnessed this much enthusiasm for Jayhawk FB on rare occasions.

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KGphoto 2 years, 2 months ago

So do we really still have some of these guys on the radar?

http://kansas.scout.com/a.z?s=172&p=9&c=4&yr=2012

It's showing offers and lists remaining schools but I've heard nothing of them.

Robert Gregory: QB 6'2" 185, Chicago Jordan Armstrong: WR 5'10" 175, Miami Lamontiez Ivy: RB 6'3" 220, E. St. Louis Jamar Wimberly: CB 6'0"/190/4.41, Grand Rapids

Many, many others who have yet to commit that list KU as a possibility but have no offer. Interesting that we are not offering a guy like Bennett Moore a 2 star MLB from Wichita.

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quigley 2 years, 2 months ago

Thanks KGphoto, awesome article.

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hammerhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I was doing my usual walking yesterday when low and behold good ole 610 radio was airing Coach Weis and his press conference. Thank you, thank you, 610 for spending an hour of time on this significant topic in the lives of Jayhawks everywhere. I was astounded to listen to an extremely astute person/coach talk about his players and the great place we all know the Universityof Kansas is. I am so impressed with Coach Weis and his staff. This man and his staff are certainly light years ahead of the guy we had before (who was he??!!). There is no question in my mind that we will win next year in a big time way. And there Coach Weis was last night at the BB game. Fortunately, I was there too and enjoyed watching him enjoy the game. I am so ready for next Fall. Go Jayhawks!!!

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quigley 2 years, 2 months ago

Does anyone have enough of a knowledge of Florida/Notre Dame rosters to guess who might be a 5th year transfer?

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Wonder if he will be playing outside linebacker or running back... I'm guessing linebacker.

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Chris1955 2 years, 2 months ago

Nothing like a burning desire for a shot at redemption to serve as a catalyst for motivation! It seems like many of his assistant coaches fall into the same category.

There is no bigger high than achieving what conventional wisdom says is impossible; which would be turning the KU football program into a consistant national power.

Go Charlie go!

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SkullHawk 2 years, 2 months ago

This is AWESOME, Coach Weis was the answer we needed to get things moving in the right direction for KU Football. Imagine competing for a National Title in Basketball every season (given) and playing in BCS Bowl games. Remember 2007, how great it was to beat down Nebraska, how fun will it be to load up for Austin and giving Bevo a beat down Jayhawk style!! This is a dream come true! Go Jayhawks. It's Feb. and I spent half of yesterday morning watching highlight tape you all so kindly posted of kids coming to play for the Hawks. Tip when watching, turn off the sound.

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yates33333 2 years, 2 months ago

If Miles is a three star recruit I'd hate to play against a five star. Watch the clips they have of his high school game. He reads and gets to the ball faster than any inside linebacker I have ever seen. If they can't influence and fool him he is a one man defensive unit against the run. He's fast, he has great technique, he is strong, he appears smart, and he plays very, very hard. Miles is a five star recruit, period..... If KU could afford the luxury of playing him as an outside linebacker the opponents would never, never run to his side. He gets to the ball as fast as the running back. He also plays the pass decently. I don't know why or how, but then that's what great players do. I love KU BB, but hurry up September. Just maybe this coach can make us the Notre Dame of the Big 12 (or 10, or 9, or whatever).

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FSUJHAWK 2 years, 2 months ago

One of the reasons KU was able to snatch Miles from UFFF is because they wanted him to switch position whereas KU wants him at LB. Regardless, great catch!Welcome to Miles and all the new Jayhawks everywhere!

RCJHGKU!!!

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hammr25 2 years, 2 months ago

Weis never had a problem recruiting at Notre Dame and still got bad results due to his coaching methods. Hopefully he's learned a thing or two since his last head coaching job.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 2 months ago

Whoa, triple post from sevencupsofcoffeejayhawk!

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sevenyearhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

"Without getting into specifics, Weis continued to point to the fact that there are more fifth-year transfers on the way. The most likely scenario is that they’re coming from Notre Dame or Florida, but they won’t become official members of the team until they graduate in May."

Somebody pinch me ... uh, wow.

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sevenyearhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

"Without getting into specifics, Weis continued to point to the fact that there are more fifth-year transfers on the way. The most likely scenario is that they’re coming from Notre Dame or Florida, but they won’t become official members of the team until they graduate in May."

Somebody pinch me ... uh, wow.

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sevenyearhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

"Without getting into specifics, Weis continued to point to the fact that there are more fifth-year transfers on the way. The most likely scenario is that they’re coming from Notre Dame or Florida, but they won’t become official members of the team until they graduate in May."

Somebody pinch me ... uh, wow.

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kusportsdotcom 2 years, 2 months ago

"I don't have enough fingers to put in the dike." Charlie, why would you even want to?

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