Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grunhard, Bowen to lead KU football in recruiting Kansas

Kansas University assistant football coaches Tim Grunhard, left, and Clint Bowen will be responsible for leading KU’s recruitment of Kansas prospects under head coach Charlie Weis. Weis believes Grunhard and Bowen’s local connections will help lock up talent in the Sunflower State.

Kansas University assistant football coaches Tim Grunhard, left, and Clint Bowen will be responsible for leading KU’s recruitment of Kansas prospects under head coach Charlie Weis. Weis believes Grunhard and Bowen’s local connections will help lock up talent in the Sunflower State.


For the past few decades Kansas University football coaches have approached recruiting the state in a variety of ways.

From splitting Kansas into thirds to handing out a section of the state to each assistant coach on staff and everything in between, KU’s recent head coaches have attacked the home state with varying degrees of commitment and success.

For new coach Charlie Weis, the Sunflower State seems to be as important as anything in his recruiting philosophy, and his early emphasis on landing athletes from the area certainly has shown that.

“I think you better start winning on more of your local guys and not just concede ‘em to Missouri and Kansas State,” Weis said. “You just can’t do that. Now, are they gonna win their fair share? Yep, they’re gonna win their fair share. But we’re gonna win our fair share, too.”

The way Weis sees it, signing local talent early only can mean good things in the future.

“What happens is, when you start winning some of them, then you start winning more of them because those guys talk to the other guys about the experiences they’re having,” Weis said. “It’s all about word of mouth for the players.”

For Weis, it’s all about two guys. Although the majority of his coaching staff will have some kind of role in recruiting Kansas, Weis is basing his approach around special teams coordinator Clint Bowen and offensive line coach Tim Grunhard.

“Let’s realize what we’ve got here,” Weis said. “We’ve got two guys that know Kansas that have big names in Kansas.”

Weis is counting on Grunhard to deliver in the Kansas City area. Not only does his experience playing for the Kansas City Chiefs give him an automatic in, but his time as the head coach at Bishop Miege High in Roeland Park also figures to give KU an advantage. Since Weis hired Grunhard back in December, two players from Miege already have committed to Kansas. One, freshman-to-be Tre Parmalee, will be here this fall. The other, quarterback Montell Cozart, will come in with the Class of 2013.

“No one’s more known in Kansas City than Tim Grunhard,” Weis said. “There might be guys that might have been better players, but no one’s more known.”

It’s not just name recognition that Weis is expecting to make Grunhard a successful recruiter in the state.

“His personality’s infectious,” Weis said. “He’s hard-working, he’s diligent, he’s easy to talk to, he’s smart. So what kid in Kansas wouldn’t know Grunhard?”

As for Bowen, he’s the Lawrence equivalent of Grunhard. Well known by many around town, the Lawrence native has spent his life dedicated to the city he was raised in and has worked under three different head coaches at KU, where he played defensive back from 1992-93.

“There’s no one any more loyal to this school than Clint Bowen,” Weis said. “He might be the leader of the pack. Lawrence guy. Dad, brother, him, all went to this school. He’s come here three times. I told him he’s trying to set the record for most times fired and hired by the same school.”

It’s not just Bowen’s ties to his hometown that make him an asset in recruiting Kansas. Many guys that Bowen played with or against or even coached are now involved in coaching at the high school and junior college levels.

“A lot of his boys have all these junior colleges,” Weis said. “And when Clint calls up these head coaches and we’re not involved with somebody, the coaches get apologetic to Clint.”

Although just one member of Weis’ first class — offensive lineman Brian Beckman, of Blue Valley West — lists Kansas as his home state, the early returns on Class No. 2 have shown an increase in commitments from the state. Cozart, tight end Ben Johnson, of Basehor-Linwood, and quarterback Jordan Darling, of Shawnee Mission East, were among the first players in the Class of 2013 to commit to KU, and Grunhard was the lead recruiter on two of the three.

“We’ll sprinkle everyone else in,” said Weis, emphasizing that his entire staff would have a hand in recruiting Kansas. “But it all starts with those two.”

For Bowen, taking on such a responsibility has been a breeze.

“If you are a Kansas guy, you should have some state pride,” the former Lawrence High Lion said. “If you are from the Kansas City area, you should have some pride in your area and want to come help the local university.”

Added Grunhard: “We’re all on the same page and there are a lot of good guys here working hard to make this program the best that it possibly can be.”


Keith Hummel 1 year, 9 months ago

For something a little off-topic, check out the following parody video:

If you've seen the original one Texas A&M did recently, then this will make sense. aTm is already becoming a joke in the SEC, and they haven't played a single game.

And if that's not funny enough, consider the open letter at "SEC Jams" addressed to all MU and aTm fans:

I wonder if the SEC is regretting this little experiment yet.


Fototherapist 1 year, 9 months ago

It seems as though Charlie is taking a page from Bill Snyder's book on how to rebuild a program. Focus on local talent, use juco transfers to fill the holes, and foster a sense of family on the team.


JHWKDW 1 year, 9 months ago

Keep up the good work Coach Weis.I think you got a good plan.


Brak 1 year, 9 months ago

This is what I like to see, this shows that HCCW is learning from his mistakes at ND. He is utilizing his coaches and putting them in positions to succeed. This is the definition of a strong leader, someone who takes control of a program but can realize his own shortcomings and delegate those responsibilities to those who know are more capable. This is exactly the coach this program needed right now and I can only see things improving from here.


sideline 1 year, 9 months ago

Kansas State really is getting the best recruits in the state.


bville_hawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Keep the football articles coming (even the ridiculous ones: "Study finds KU's Memorial Stadium offers one of the top home-field advantages in college football")!!!


CheneyHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Glad to see this - I think it benefits the program in so many ways. The posts above seem to allude that the state line is near Topeka rather than the talent all across this great state.


Keith Hummel 1 year, 9 months ago

So impressed with the job Coach Weis is doing. It would be easy for him to concede the state and rely on his connections elsewhere. But time and again he has proven that he's committed to doing the right thing for KU long-term. It all starts with winning the in-state battles. Weis has held up KSU as our near-term litmus test, and for good reason. Until we can at least occasionally beat our in-state rival we will continue to lose recruits to them. Accomplish that first, then we'll talk about winning recruiting battles with the likes of OU, UT, and NU.


AirCapJay 1 year, 9 months ago

Recruits from Kansas are just as good as recruits from Texas. The problem is population, whereas the Dallas-Ft. Worth area has more population than the entire state of Kansas.

That being said, we need to keep the best Kansas recruits here. Kids want to be in a winning program so we have to start winning.


GoHawks1 1 year, 9 months ago

Get it going boys. We are currently an afterthought with the few decent players that we have from the state of Kansas.


Chris Bailey 1 year, 9 months ago

I read or heard somewhere that Kansas kids tend to bloom a bit later than other kids from other states. I'm sure this has to do with the amount of time they are allowed to spend on football. I believe this to be true. I think with a year or two of college coaching those kids are then where they should have been and mostly have caught up to kids from other states. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying we put out talent like Texas but we do have 10-15 kids every year than can play at the next level and be successful. Lock up the boarder and keep the big boys out. We want them at KU. ROCK CHALK!


Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 9 months ago

Forget k-state and Mizzou I am more concerned with Nebraska, OU, Texas taking the real studs. But we need wins, consistency in the program...hoping this regime can deliver that happens the pipeline is very possible.


april28 1 year, 9 months ago

KU could get up to a third of its yearly recruiting class out of the Kansas/KC area; three to four from the state and three to four from the metro area. If they are the right guys, solid 3 and 4-star players, then you have a foundation, every year, for a decent recruiting class.


Jeremy Bolinger 1 year, 9 months ago

I would love to see us get more involved with Jerel Morrow. That kid is a hell of an athlete. All in all though recruiting KC is critical to our success, moreso than Emporia. However, I still want the best player in the state at KU and nowhere else.


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