Saturday marks the first of a handful of “junior days” for Kansas University’s football program this offseason.
However, as the program’s recruiting attention starts to turn toward the Class of 2013, there remains some work to be done in the Class of 2012, most of which officially signed with the Jayhawks on Feb. 1.
One KU target who remains unsigned is Tevin Shaw, a senior running back from Piscataway (N.J.) High, who will make his official visit to KU’s campus this weekend.
The Jayhawks began recruiting Shaw, 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, in mid-January and appeared to lose out on him as Shaw had planned to sign with Iowa on signing day. However, when the Hawkeyes ran out of room in their current class, that opened the door for KU coach Charlie Weis and company to step in, and, as of now, it appears that KU is the favorite for Shaw.
Both Weis and KU recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello have led the charge in recruiting Shaw, who ran for 1,600 yards and 24 TDs as a senior last fall and is billed by some who have seen him as a stellar athlete.
Shaw, also a standout wrestler, will be joined on his official visit by members of his family, several juniors from the Class of 2013 and East Los Angeles College cornerback Nas Moore, who signed with KU on Feb. 1 but just now is taking his official visit.
KU pro day set
KU’s annual pro timing day will take place at 9:30 a.m. on March 14. That’s the day scouts from around the NFL will come to Lawrence to watch several of KU’s outgoing seniors — along with a handful of former Jayhawks — run through a variety of drills that test their timing, agility and strength in anticipation of the April NFL Draft.
KU has a few players who figure to draw interest from the NFL. Included among them are: linebacker Steven Johnson, tight end Tim Biere, offensive linemen Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes and cornerback Isiah Barfield, whose speed could earn him a look.
The event will take place in the Anderson Family Football Complex and Memorial Stadium and will not be open to the public.
Martin worked with Weis
Last weekend, former New England Patriots running back Curtis Martin was one of six players selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
For his career, the tailback from Pitt finished fourth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 14,101 yards. He also ranks third in rushing attempts (3,518) and 12th in rushing touchdowns (90). Not bad for a guy who began his 11-year pro career under the tutelage of a man known for developing quarterbacks.
A lot has said and written about Weis being known as a quarterback guru. But, when Martin broke into the league in 1995, he ran for 1,487 yards and earned offensive rookie of the year honors under Weis, who at that time was the Patriots’ running-backs coach.
This, of course, was before Weis went on to become a successful NFL offensive coordinator, first with the New York Jets and later with the New England Patriots.
So enamored was Weis with the running back that after spending one season in New York without him, he influenced the Jets to trade for Martin before the 1998 season. During his two seasons with Weis in New York, Martin ran for 1,287 and 1,464 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. He also caught 88 passes for 624 yards and one more touchdown.
At the induction ceremony in August, Martin will join Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy and Willie Roaf as the latest NFL greats to make it to Canton, Ohio.
Rivera to stay with Patriots
Former KU linebacker Mike Rivera, who spent the second half of the 2011 season on the New England Patriots’ practice squad, has agreed to a contract to stay with the club in 2012.
Rivera, who has been on five teams during his first three years in the NFL, was one of five practice-squad players the Patriots signed to futures contracts just days after losing Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants.