When Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis learned Monday that City College of San Francisco quarterback Turner Baty had orally committed to join the Jayhawks, he knew exactly the kind of player he was getting.
The reason? Weis kind of already has one like Baty.
During Baty’s visit to KU last weekend, he had the opportunity to catch up with old friend and current KU quarterback Dayne Crist for about five minutes upon arriving. That’s all it took for Baty’s mom, Kathleen, to get a feel for whom her son would be competing with and against for the next year.
“He was out of town this weekend, but he stuck around to say hi to me right when I got on campus,” Baty said by telephone Monday night. “Right after he left, my mom said, ‘He is exactly like you.’”
Both come to KU with playing experience at another college. Both are mature leaders who value hard work and a team-first mentality over everything else. And both will be vying for KU’s starting quarterback job this fall.
“Absolutely,” Baty said. “I think the biggest selling point for me was that I loved all the guys. But I think one of the other things is that the coaches told me, ‘Hey, you’ve got a chance to come in and play. We do not have depth at quarterback, and we will play the best guy no matter what.’ They said right away, ‘You’re gonna be competing for No. 1.’”
Baty liked the sound of that.
“Obviously, Dayne will have a leg up,” he said. “He’s been in the offense for three years, and he’ll be there in the spring, when I won’t. But I’ve had to work for everything I’ve got, and no one’s hungrier than me. No one will work harder than me. That’s the thing that I can control.”
During his one season at CCSF, Baty threw for 3,149 yards and 42 touchdowns while completing 64 percent of his passes. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he calls himself a pro-style quarterback but takes pride in his ability to make plays outside of the pocket if needed.
In addition to being thrilled by the chance to play for Weis and learn from quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus, Baty also was impressed by the man who will be responsible for putting him through the ringer in the weight room, strength coach Scott Holsopple.
“He blew me away,” Baty said. “He had a great presentation, and he coached Tim Tebow when Florida was winning national championships. They’re not just college coaches. These are guys that are the best of the best. To have that at such a special place like Kansas, like Lawrence, I really think it’ll go perfect together, and I know in a few years Kansas will be one of the top programs in the country. I know coach Weis will get us there. To have this be the start of my career is just awesome.”
Baty has one semester left at CCSF and will arrive at KU in June. He’ll have four years left on his clock and three years of eligibility remaining. He’s eager to play as soon as he can, but also mentioned that he’s aware that taking a red shirt in 2012 could be an option.
“I’ve won at every level, and I intend to do that at Kansas,” he said. “I intend to be the quarterback that helps turn this program around, whether it be next year or the year after. I’m just so excited to get going. I wish I could go now.”
Earlier Monday, Tyree Williams, a 6-foot, 190-pound athlete from Dulles High in Sugar Land, Texas, announced that he had orally committed to Kansas over SMU. Williams said the main reason he picked KU was the coaching staff and his love for Lawrence.
The addition of Baty and Williams brings KU’s number of commits in the Class of 2012 to 18, including the three transfers who already are on campus (Crist, Jake Heaps and wide receiver Justin McCay). Weis said earlier this month that he expected the class to be in the 20s. He also said he would save a few spots for more transfers.
National signing day is Wednesday, and the signing period runs through April 1.