Originally published January 15, 2012 at 02:15p.m., updated January 16, 2012 at 12:16a.m.
With less than three weeks remaining before national signing day, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis and his new coaching staff continue to make up for lost time by landing commitments in a hurry.
And their moves seem to be in direct contrast to the way Weis’ predecessor, Turner Gill, went about building his program.
Saturday night, the Jayhawks learned that junior-college All-American running back Taylor Cox and junior-college wide receiver Josh Ford had orally pledged their services to KU.
Sunday, junior-college tight end Charles Brooks decided to join them. All three were former three-star prospects, according to Rivals.com.
Gill did not bring in his first juco player until his second year in town.
In landing the three junior-college players, Weis adds both experience and talent to a KU offense that figures to look a lot different in 2012 than it did in 2011.
“At Kansas, there just aren’t enough BCS football players in the state to survive,” said Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com, who has covered KU recruiting for 13 seasons. “So you have to be creative how you build your roster, and I’ve always felt that junior-college kids can be a big part of that. From what I have seen so far, the quality of the junior-college players that they’re bringing in is a great sign for KU football because these are guys that I think can make contributions right away.”
Cox, 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, of College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., ran for 1,507 yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 games this season. Originally from Mill Creek, Wash., Cox owns the school record for rushing yards in a game (326), rushing yards in a career (2,744) and touchdowns in a career (31). He also knows incoming transfer Jake Heaps, a quarterback from Washington, and told JayhawkSlant.com he chose KU because of what Weis is building.
“I just know I want to be a part of it,” Cox said. “I think good things are going to happen. The coaches were all very welcoming but that they had that look they are ready to get to work. I know coach Weis wants good football players, but he also is looking for players with high character. I’m excited and honored to be a part of it.”
Ford, 6-4, 195, finished the 2011 season at Arizona Western with 845 yards and 10 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Long and tall, with 4.4-second, 40-yard dash speed, Ford, who originally hails from Washington, D.C., said he could flourish at his new school.
“I know in an offense run by coach Weis, I will get the ball thrown to me a lot,” Ford told JayhawkSlant.com. “It is the type of offense that can showcase wide receivers. Coach Weis is known for developing quarterbacks, and that is the receiver’s best friend.”
Brooks, 6-5, 245, comes to Kansas from Scottsdale Community College in Arizona as one of the top five junior-college tight ends available. He chose KU over offers from Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, New Mexico and Savannah State.
The addition of Brooks, Cox and Ford brings KU’s commitment list in the Class of 2012 to a dozen, about half of the yearly maximum (25) the program is allowed to sign. It remains to be seen just how many more prospects Weis will bring to town.
“I don’t want to undersign,” Weis said the day he was introduced. “I don’t want to go out there and sign 15 guys if I can sign 25 guys. I also don’t want to take people just for numbers. You want to take guys that fit what you need.”
Miller Tweets he’s gone
Darrian Miller, KU’s second-leading rusher during the 2011 season, announced on Twitter over the weekend that he is no longer a member of the KU football program.
Questions about Miller’s future at Kansas popped up shortly after Weis was hired in early December, and rumors ran wild throughout the past month about Miller’s status. The addition of Cox to an already-crowded backfield seems to indicate that the Jayhawks are prepared to move on without Miller, a freshman from Blue Springs, Mo., who missed the final game of the 2011 season because of suspension.
There has been no official word from KU officials on the status of Miller or any other current players.
Lineman to visit
Carlos Lozano, a 6-8, 360-pound offensive lineman from East Los Angeles College, is expected to take his official visit to KU early this week and may be in town today.
Lozano, who hails from Monterey Park, Calif., has scholarship offers from KU, Utah, Washington, Kansas State, UCLA and Utah State and is drawing interest from more than a dozen others.