Monday, January 23, 2012

Filling the gaps: Weis seeks jucos, transfers to bolster KU’s roster

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis talks with media members on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at the Anderson Family Football Complex. Weis introduced new members of his football team and also announced players that have left the program.

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis talks with media members on Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 at the Anderson Family Football Complex. Weis introduced new members of his football team and also announced players that have left the program.


Less than 10 days remain before the Feb. 1 college football signing day, and first-year Kansas University coach Charlie Weis and his staff continue to try to make up for lost time.

With 10 players from the Class of 2012 orally committed — cornerbacks H.B. Rosser and Derek Keaton both recently dropped off KU’s radar — and another three already on campus, the Jayhawks have as many as 12 spots remaining in this year’s class.

Although the final number in this year’s class remains up in the air, Weis said during a recent meeting with the media that it would be somewhere in the 20s. He also said he would save at least a couple of spots for future transfers who will graduate in May and be eligible to play right away, as was the case with new quarterback Dayne Crist, who graduated from Notre Dame in December with one year of eligibility remaining. Two possible candidates are: tight end Mike Ragone, of Cherry Hill, N.J., and offensive guard Trevor Robinson, of Elkhorn, Neb.

The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Robinson, ranked by some recruiting services as the top guard in the country during his senior season at Elkhorn High, was recruited to Notre Dame by Weis and started every game of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Ragone, who missed most of the 2011 season but made nine starts and appeared in 35 games during his first three years at Notre Dame, also was recruited by Weis. During his senior season at Camden Catholic High, Ragone, 6-4, 250, was ranked the No. 3 tight end in the nation, the sixth-best player in New Jersey regardless of position and 83rd on the Rivals 100. He caught 12 passes for 119 yards at Notre Dame. Should he choose to finish his career at Kansas, Ragone would be playing his sixth season of college football in 2012.

“Let’s use this fifth-year rule, where a college graduate that has another year of eligibility can move on to another place,” Weis said. “We only have one right now (Crist), but there will be others that will be a part of the program. Come signing day, they will not be a part of the mix because they have not graduated from college yet.”

The fifth-year rule is just part of Weis’ strategy for building a roster that can compete right away. With most of the top players in the country already committed, Weis and his staff have traveled from coast to coast during the past several days, mining the talent pool for impact players.

“Obviously, high school kids are always the bread and butter,” Weis said. “But the one problem when you come in late in the recruiting mix is that most high school players are greatly influenced by relationships they have with the coaches that are recruiting them. So when you do not have time to compete with relationships, you have to minimize that inventory and move in another direction to go fill holes.”

That’s why several junior colleges — locally and nationwide — have had KU coaches on campus during the most recent recruiting period.

As of today, KU has secured commitments from five junior-college players. Before recruiting the Class of 2012 is finished, Weis may have signed twice that many.

“This is a hotbed, rich and fruitful with high-level college football players in the state of Kansas,” Weis said. “We are tapping into that resource to try to fill some holes with players that are a little more developed and ready to go and that have a couple years under their belt walking in the door.”

KU’s quintet of junior-college pledges is: tight end, Charles Brooks, 6-5, 245, Scottsdale (Ariz.) C.C.; running back, Taylor Cox, 5-11, 200, College of the Siskiyous; wide receiver Josh Ford, 6-4, 195, Arizona Western; defensive lineman, Ty McKinney, 6-3, 310, Trinity Valley (Texas) C.C.; and defensive lineman Keon Stowers, 6-3, 273, Georgia Military College.

Although Weis quickly identified quarterback, where he landed Crist and BYU transfer Jake Heaps (eligible in 2013), and defensive line as areas that needed improvement, he was not shy about his assessment of the roster he inherited.

“Look, we could use help everywhere,” Weis said. “There isn’t one position on our team that I can sit there and say, ‘Hey, we don’t need help there.’ That’s a fallacy. So we’re going to spread that 20-some number across our roster and try to get us help at every position.”

Russell wooed by Baylor?

It appears that KU has some competition for Class of 2012 quarterback Seth Russell. And it’s coming from Russell’s home state of Texas.

Russell, a three-star, dual-threat QB from Garland High, committed to the Jayhawks last July. At the time, it was believed that KU would have a tough time hanging on to the 6-4, 195 quarterback, and, in recent weeks, Baylor has begun to target Russell.

A recent report from indicated Weis visited Russell last week. The KU coach made at least a good enough impression to keep Kansas in the mix. But Russell was expected to visit Baylor last weekend, so this is definitely a situation worth keeping an eye on, especially with KU’s lack of depth at quarterback.

Big weekend wraps up

As many as 10 recruits were expected to be in town this weekend for official visits, with some big-time players included among them.

Four-star cornerback Kenneth Crawley, 6-1, 170, and his H.D. Woodson High teammate and former KU commitment De’Jon Wilson, 6-3, 240, both came to town from Washington D.C. They were joined by Tampa, Fla., linebacker Schyler Miles, 6-2, 220, Houston cornerback Greg Allen, 5-11, 190, and current commitment and Bishop Miege High wide receiver Tre Parmalee, 5-10, 160.

In addition, three California junior-college players made the trek to Lawrence this weekend. Defensive tackle Jordan Tavai, 6-3, 280, of El Camino (Calif.) C.C., reportedly has Kansas in his final two; defensive end Markus Pierce-Brewster, 6-4, 230, of City College of San Francisco, also is looking at Syracuse and Indiana; and offensive lineman Fehoko Fanaika, 6-6, 340, of the College of San Mateo, is looking at a long list of schools, including Hawaii, Texas Tech, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Cal, and Fresno State.

Lozano likes Kansas

Carlos Lozano, a 6-8, 360-pound offensive lineman from East Los Angeles College, who visited KU last Monday, told Jon Kirby of that he was impressed by what KU had to offer.

“I liked all of the people I met,” Lozano said. “I liked all of the love the people and fans showed me at Kansas. A lot of them knew who I was, and I was just a visitor. I was speechless at the (KU-Baylor) basketball game. The crowd was amazing. I could barely hear the person next to me.”

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. He visited Washington State over the weekend and is hoping to narrow his list to two finalists in the next couple of days.


JayDocMD 10 years ago

DC CB just committed to Colorado on Twitter

april28 10 years ago

He seemed a little like he was a bit of a head case. Colorado? Well....okay.

Andy Tweedy 10 years ago

Have you ever been to Boulder? I love my alma mater, but Boulder is AWESOME!!! I'm always surprised the mountains don't entice more players.

april28 10 years ago

Yes, believe it or not, I've traveled outside of Kansas before. Boulder is nice but I wasn't aware that he was committing to the City of Boulder.

He is committing to one of the 3 or 4 D1 football teams that I think we could have beaten last year. There are a lot of schools that I could understand losing a recruit to, but Colorado isn't one of them.

KGphoto 10 years ago

"Boulder is nice" is an understatement. I lived there for 6 years, and believe me when I tell you, the City of Boulder gets a lot of kids to commit. It's not just the mountains either. That town is a diamond in the rough. You get a little charge just driving down the hill on 36 hwy into the valley.

I've been to every nook and cranny this country has to offer, and very few places can make you feel like Boulder makes you feel.

That said, I wouldn't necessarily want my kid going to school there. The campus atmosphere is comprised largely of silver-spooned sorority-frat misfits, and outside of engineering the top major might be keg stands or 4/20 at Farrand Field, but that just draws the recruits even more.

Losing a recruit to CU is nothing to be ashamed of, or something to worry about. Actually it might just be a sign that the kid wasn't serious enough to take on a school like KU.

april28 10 years ago

Yes, the many, many, many years of CU prominence in football and basketball prove your point.

The CU ski team certainly does well, though.

KGphoto 10 years ago

The football team has a national championship, a Heisman winner, endless NFL draft picks, and has always garnered top recruits. They usually have a 5 star running back sitting on the bench in waiting. Last year alone they had 2 cornerbacks drafted, one of them intercepted Tom Brady in the end-zone last night.

They live and breathe football in Colorado and couldn't care less about basketball. Just sayin', if I'm Crawley, I could do worse.

And don't forget cross-country where they dominate. :)

april28 10 years ago

You went a long way to prove my point. Natural beauty doesn't a football program make. If it did, CU would have far more than a single, split-NC.

I don't know anyone that would argue that Colorado is pretty. But it has had absolutely no impact on the success of CU's two major sports.

KGphoto 10 years ago

I'm not sure we accomplished anything here. Bottom line though. Football players like to go to CU for some reason. KU has never out recruited them. Ever.

Kman_blue 10 years ago

Come on now, you're getting a little carried away here. Crawley would be CU's first 4 star recruit in 2 years and they've only had 1, 5 star RB in their entire history and he didn't pan out to play like what you'd expect from a 5 star guy.

Has CU had some good historical success? Yes, but it's been 20 years since they've done anything noteworthy.

Also, if you love the mountains, then yes Boulder would be a great place to live, but if you don't really care for the mountains and the cold and the snow, then no it wouldn't be. Mark me down in the in the latter category. Oh, and the only thing that Boulder lives and breathes is pot and skiing in that order, not football nor basketball. :p

Dan Pawlowski 10 years ago

Typical brainless wonder whose knowledge consists of stereotypes.

KGphoto 10 years ago

Your ignorance of Boulder is astounding. The weather in Boulder is far superior to the weather in Lawrence. It's sunny 300 days a year and it's probably the healthiest city in America.

Your ignorance of CU's football success is a close second. They've been to 4 Big 12 Championships in the last 10 years.

The football program is 16th on the all-time win list and 22nd in all-time winning percentage. They have 26 conference titles and 30 All-Americans.

That's pretty successful.

Kman_blue 9 years, 12 months ago

Alright, calm down now. First, the pot and skiing comment was a JOKE, so lighten up Francis! And of course, there's nothing at all factual that backs up the joking stereotype about pot smokers in Boulder. It's completely unfounded! (sarcasm)

And like I said, if you like mountains and snow and cold, it's a great place to be. Personally, I'd rather visit than live there, but que sera sera. Despite plenty of sunny days(NOAA claims 245 sunny days a year and Lawrence clocks in at 211 and both have the same number of precipitation days at 93) Boulder still AVERAGES 7 FEET OF SNOW A YEAR! It's not some warm sunny paradise.

Second, did I ever say CU doesn't have any historical football success? No, in fact I said they DO. I said it's been 20 years since they accomplished something noteworthy. 2 of those division championships were extremely weak division champs with 5-3 and 4-4 conference records. In fact they got beat by a combined score of 141 to 13 in 3 of those conference championship games! They did however eek out a 2 point win 11 years ago(impressive, but 11 years ago). It's been 10 years since they had a great conference record and it's been 18 years since their 1 and only Heisman winner(still impressive no doubt) and it's been 22 years since their 1 and only national championship which was split BTW(again still impressive), and they went 12-29 in conference play over the past 5 years which is despite the atrocious recent record of KU in conference play is still worse than KU's conference record over the past 5 years, so it's been awhile since CU has done much noteworthy in football.

And just for accuracy they're #18 on the all-time wins list of current Div. 1 schools, but #36 in the all-time winning % list. No doubt, still good and admirable, but they're nowhere near the blue blood schools in history or success or NFL players or anything else, and they don't typically ever have 5 star players on their roster at any position much less riding the bench as a backup.

Cmill1221 10 years ago

I lived in Steamboat for a semester and I got to say there aren't many bad places in Colorado.

bad_dog 10 years ago

Aside from eastern Colorado that is. That trek from Goodland to Limon on I-70 is pretty bad. I used to say the only place more desolate than western Kansas was eastern Colorado. Some of the areas east of Pueblo are pretty non-noteworthy as well.

KGphoto 10 years ago

So true. and it's twice as flat.

Andy Tweedy 10 years ago

Tomorrow, I'm going to post something more about Boulder...see if I can get round 2!!! I happen to agree with you, KG, but I certainly can see why someone wouldn't be impressed by a kid picking CU, if only for the football team.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years ago

Eastern Colorado is twice as flat as western Kansas? Sounds like you are just repeating what someone told you. I make that trip a couple times a year back to eastern Kansas and I guarantee that western Kansas is much flatter. Besides the elevation rises as you go into Colorado. Geography dictates that.

KGphoto 10 years ago

And I've driven that route at least once a year for the last 25 years. I have my own pictures to prove what I say, but this should illustrate my point. Why are we even arguing this? And why would you tell me I'm repeating what someone else said. That's just being an ahole.

I've also flown over in a Cessna many times and I can assure you it's even more obvious from that view, especially around sunrise or sunset.

John Fryback 10 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years ago

Trust me. We could not have beaten CU last year and Boulder is awesome.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years ago

Let's lock up them D-linemen...and hopefully get this 6 ft 8 cat from east LA.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years ago

6'8" 360 pounds... Feeding him might put the Athletic Department into bankruptcy. HOW DO HUMAN BEINGS GET THAT BIG?!

Ben Kane 10 years ago

i'd like to see coach self pick him up for the basketball team, maybe as a bruiser ala hockey. can you imagine just having to work against him in practice?

Andy Hess 10 years ago

We also just picked up a commitment from 6-7, 290 lb OL Sean Connolly from Lakewood, Ohio.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years ago

I am usually very positive when it comes to the football team lately, but I might come off negative here about recruiting.

What Weis said about possibly coming in too late for some of the high school kids is probably more true than many want to believe. Transfers and JUCO guys primarily want to get on the field, but the HS players usually commit to a program based off of a good relationship with the coaching staff. That relationship takes much longer to build in many cases than a couple months. Why else would guys like Rosser, Keaton, and others leave Kansas after an apparent coaching upgrade? The relationship was with Gill, not Weis. I would be very surprised if this recruiting class is filled with a lot of good HS players. I believe next year will be.

I am really excited to see what transfers and JUCO guys Weis can bring in this year, but I think it is unfair to judge his HS recruiting ability until next year.

Joseph Kuebel 10 years ago

Agree 100%. It would be nice to not have to wait for freshman on 2013 not take the field for 3 seasons (assuming several redshirt in 2013)...

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years ago

In regards to Russell...

My guess is that he is gone as he should be. The guy is probably too good to be buried in a depth chart behind Crist and Heaps for 3 years. Weis has a reputation with QBs in a major way. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Weis comes up with a BIG TIME HS QB in the next couple of seasons. My other guess is that Weis lands a JUCO QB in this class and that Pick is the backup QB this year in addition to his receiver duties. Hope Crist and Heaps stay healthy!

If I am a stud HS QB, and HCCW comes knocking on my door offering a pro style offense and playing time, I am listening. Unfortunately I am out of eligibility, too short, hamstring injury prone, have never played QB in my life, and can barely throw a football across my front lawn. Other than that, I would be a star.

ozzzy 10 years ago

Bangkok- I respectfully disagree with this post. With our lack of QB depth, Russell will be able to compete for the #2 spot. Will we have an injury at QB in the next three years with our QB's who both have a history of injury...highly likely. He is then a likely candidate to start his RS jr and sr years for one of the best pro style QB coaches. If I were Russell I would jump all over that.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years ago

I definitely see your point, but I don't think he comes here to compete for a backup position if he can go somewhere else and compete for a starting position.

ozzzy 10 years ago

Guess you are right, as he has switched his committment.

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 10 years ago

"I bet I can throw a football over those mountains"

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years ago

At 5'11" 215lbs, I feel like the Carlos Lozano of Thailand.

kooky 10 years ago

6'6" 340 6'8" 370

Those are some big boys.

april28 10 years ago

Weis is going to have to throw together what he can and hope for some gems to emerge. He's probably planning on a good number of washouts from current players over the next year, so he'll have a full boat of schollies to offer again next year. That will be the class that he'll really have to crush. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see some JUCO guys in that group, too.

One thing to learn from Bill Snyder, there are also a few players floating around after LOI day (in addition to the graduated players). A couple here, a couple there....all of the sudden you have a decent recruiting class.

Nick Cole 10 years ago

Going after the top JuCo players. Something that helped the old man down the road get KSU to a top 10 ranking. Something Gill never really tried to do. Something Weis seems to understand that will help this team in the transition period.

Mike Nicco 10 years ago

Might be the best thing Coach Turner and his staff did. It showed his inability to coach players much faster and allowed us to move on much quicker.

FSUJHAWK 10 years ago

This temporary head to head competition with Bill Snyder is going to be interesting.


rockchalk80 10 years ago

I feel like we'll compete next year - we may not win a lot of ball games, but we're unlikely to see many 70-28 games.

Kevin Long 10 years ago

I feel the same way. I think we will win more of those close ones that Gill couldn't coach up too.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years ago

Still need more talent on the D-line if we're gonna win. That's the most important position group in college football.

Phoggin_Loud 10 years ago

I have to admit, I am disappointed in the Crawley to Colorado decision. He posted on Twitter last night:

RT @SupaStarLo_MMG My profile pic will change Tuesday and that avi will be the next school I will take my talents to #kufball.

I didn't expect to find out today that he didn't pick KU.

Oh well, Next!

JayHok 10 years ago

On his twitter he said ---- I can't lie Kansas was great.

So he gave the verbal to Colorado. I don't think this is over yet. Just listened to a radio show where a high school player from 20 years ago was recruited by Paterno. Paterno lost the recruiting battle and showed up at the kids' house, unknowingly interrupting a meeting between a rival coach, the player and the players mom. Before all was said and done, the two coaches began pushing each other in the kitchen, the kid kicks Paterno out of the house, shoving him outside. Before the kid can slam the door, Paterno says---- hope I didn't hurt you back there.

On national signing day the kid signed with Paterno.

The point being with Crawley is If Weis is second place by a hair in Crawley's mind with signing day eight days away, why not continue to pursue? That's eight days for Crawley to change his avatar.

Weis has already shown he's not afraid to get a recruit to switch schools after a verbal.

If only we had access to Crawley's twitter account.


JayHawkFanToo 10 years ago

There is no way that HCCW (or any other coach/recruiter) would ever tell a prospect that he will be competing for the #2 spot. He would likely say that although there is someone in the lead, there will be open competition and the best player will win the starting position; he said that much in his initial press conference.

I don't see why a talented QB would be afraid of the competition. Let's not forget that both of our recently signed QB were relegated to backups roles in their most recent season.

HC Snyder build a very good football program with Junior College transfers...and a schedule filled with cupcakes. It is a lot easier to move up from Junior College to D1 that it is from HS to D1. In many cases. the top JuCo players were highly ranked HS players that did not qualify for D1 because of grades; now they are still very good players with two years of experience. Not a bad deal.

danmoore 10 years ago

I like cupcakes. No reason to play good teams until we can compete with them.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years ago

I am not saying that we should play...what is the opposite of cupcake?...bran muffin? Maybe we should settle somewhere in between and play some ho-hos.

danmoore 10 years ago

Agreed. Playing a cupcake does count as one of your 6 bowl qualifying wins but the problem with playing a team like NDSU is you get criticized for playing them, no recognition for beating them, and embarrassed for losing to them. Conference play is tough enough but I’d prefer to play D1 schools from the non-BCS conferences.

JJHawq 10 years ago

I'll be in Pismo on Wednesday - one of my favorite places!

danmoore 10 years ago

What's that place that is famous for its clam chowder?

kureader 10 years ago

So far, 2/3 of Weis's signees are either 5th year players or juco transfers. It's clear he doesn't expect to take next year off and tell us to be patient until 2013. I like his aggressiveness. We're also bringing in players from new places, because of his previous recruiting experiences. It's beginning to look as though Zenger knew what he was doing. Go Hawks!

mjhawkchalk 10 years ago

Robert Gregory is very interested in KU. #12 QB on

JayHok 10 years ago

Nice find. Listed as high interest. Weis' four super bowl rings going against Arkansas, Minnesota and Purdue. I like it.

Looks like a pretty nice trade for the Gill QB lost today.

flyingfinn 10 years ago

Does any one understand why we recruited a JUCO running back with the horses we have coming back at that position. Also any one have any information on Tre Parmalee? 5'10" and 160 pounds seems awfully small??

Kman_blue 10 years ago

I think it's mostly because coach Weis wants some bigger bruising type RB's in addition to what we had and plus we lost Darrian Miller.

JhawkalumJB 10 years ago

It has been said that Parmalee was the best WR in Kansas City High School FB this year. I hope its true.

Plus, he's only an incoming freshman let him hit the weights and see how he does this fall.

I'm sure a lot of people have said Wes Welker "seems awfully small", but he has dazzled at every level.

Kman_blue 10 years ago

Tre was the 2011 Otis Taylor award winner which is given to the best WR in the KC are and voted on by the area HS coaches..

heartoftexas 9 years, 12 months ago

KU scouts need to get their lazy butts down to Brownwood, Texas and talk to Ethan Horton. This kid belongs at KU! High character, gifted student, natural leader, BIG hitter, and hard worker. He is a Smith Center type kid, with much more athletisism. I am sure that a call to Jaxon Shipley would confirm what I tell you. He played this year with a broken right arm and broken repair plate, and still had a pretty good high-lite tape. I would hate to see him walk on at UT and make us pay later.

squawkhawk 9 years, 12 months ago

Just heard one of our Juco DL decommitted and is now going to KSU. Who is it?

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