Weis’ candor draws star wideout to KU

Charlie Weis laughs with media members during a news conference on Friday.

Charlie Weis laughs with media members during a news conference on Friday.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Since arriving in town nearly six months ago, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has earned a reputation for being honest.

At times, Weis’ tell-it-like-it-is mentality came as a surprise and encouraged players to leave KU or at least consider transferring. Other times, Weis’ approach was met with open arms, just the kind of words guys needed to hear to inspire them to dig deeper and work harder than they ever had.

Before either took place, though, Weis’ brunt honesty landed him a couple of recruits in the Class of 2012. Nowhere is there a better example of this than nearby Bishop Miege High in Roeland Park, where Weis plucked wide receiver Tre Parmalee away from a commitment to Northern Illinois.

Throughout high school, Parmalee was one of the top offensive players in the Kansas City area and won several awards and honors to prove it. But as the recruiting process played out, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound wideout began to hear more talk about him playing defensive back and less talk about him catching passes.

“Here’s a guy who was the Otis Taylor Award winner and he was told by other Division I schools that, ‘Yeah, you gotta play defense. You’re a corner. You’re not big enough to play wide receiver,’” said KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, who coached Parmalee at Miege. “Coach (Weis) said, ‘Absolutely not. Here’s the guy who’s the best wide receiver in the KC Metro area; what kind of idiot would put you at defensive back? You’re a wide receiver, you’re the best in the area, so that’s what you’re playing.’”

Not long after Weis’ sales pitch, Parmalee committed to the Jayhawks.

“I think Tre wanted to hear that,” Grunhard said. “But I think his canned answer was that he was gonna be a defensive back.”

Grunhard said he tried to allow Parmalee to discover things on his own during the recruiting process and wanted his star receiver to make his own decisions. But once he signed on at Kansas, Grunhard’s excitement came across loud and clear.

“He does everything so good fundamentally,” Grunhard said. “He’s not the fastest guy, but he’s got great hands. He’s got great ball skills and he also runs routes as well as anybody. So he’s gonna have a lot of success.”

Asked if Parmalee reminded him of any recent Big 12 receivers, Grunhard pointed to one of the league’s all-time bests, former Oklahoma Sooner Ryan Broyles.

“He’s not that big, he’s not that fast, the guy just makes plays,” Grunhard said of Broyles. “And that’s what we’re hoping Tre turns into.”

Weis’ vision for his new receiver hits a little closer to home.

“Other people were talking to him about playing defense because of his size,” Weis said. “However, his dad, Bernie Parmalee, played in the NFL for 11 years and was the same size as Tre in high school.”

Like many in the Class of 2012, Parmalee was set to arrive on campus this weekend. He will room with lifelong friend and son of the head coach, Charlie Weis, Jr., who is a student at KU and also serves as a team manager.

McKinney delayed

Incoming defensive lineman Ty McKinney, a defensive tackle from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, recently hit a snag in his trek to KU.

One of McKinney’s online classes that he took during the past year was not accepted by KU. Instead of arriving on campus this week with most of the rest of the Class of 2012, McKinney will spend the month of June back in Texas, taking one more class to reach the proper number of credits necessary to transfer.

“I’m disappointed because I was really looking forward to getting up there,” said McKinney, noting that his grades always had been good and that the issue was about an acceptable class and not a poor grade. “The way I look at it is it’s just a minor setback.”

Since January, McKinney said his goal was to come to KU and start on the defensive line. That’s still the goal, he said, and he believes that getting to campus in July will still give him plenty of time to achieve his goal.

“I’m about to up my workouts now just to make up for the time that I’ll miss,” he said.

As of Friday, McKinney weighed in at 297 pounds, the lightest he had been in a few years. He said his ideal playing weight at KU was right around 300.

KSU offers Cozart

Montell Cozart, the 2011 Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year who committed to KU back in March, has continued to receive serious interest and even scholarship offers from other schools. Along with an offer from Illinois, nearby Kansas State recently became the latest program to offer a scholarship to the Bishop Miege High quarterback.

JayhawkSlant.com’s Jon Kirby caught up with Cozart a couple of days ago, and Cozart painted a picture that he remained happy with his oral commitment to KU.

“I’ve been building a strong relationship with the coaches there,” Cozart told Kirby. “I’m still solid with KU. It is a great feeling to get offers because it shows a lot of the hard work I put in has paid off. It shows coaches have taken the time to evaluate my film and then offer.”

Some believe Cozart, 6-2, 180, may be waiting to see what happens with fellow-Class of 2013 quarterback Jordan Darling, 6-4, 226, who hails from Shawnee Mission East High. The Jayhawks, should they choose to go this route, certainly would have room for both Kansas City-area QBs in Weis’ second recruiting class.

Jayhawks offer Newell

Hiawatha High defensive end Peyton Newell, 6-3, 270, received an official offer from Kansas last Friday, according to Rivals.com.

Newell, who currently has offers from Baylor, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, TCU and UCLA, is one of the top players in the state and is receiving interest from more than a dozen other BCS-level programs. Despite all of the early interest, the defensive lineman told Rivals that he was thrilled to get the offer from KU.

“In the back of my mind I was wondering,” Newell said, admitting that he was not sure that the Jayhawks would want him. “This offer makes me feel good. I know KU’s process is to get a lot of information before they offer. ... It’s a good feeling knowing they want me to play there.”

Newell has a busy summer ahead, with visits to some of the top schools in college football as well as multiple elite camps.

Robinson to TSU

Former KU cornerback Chris Robinson, who red-shirted the 2011 season and was dismissed from the team by Weis in April for violating team rules, has landed at Tennessee State, the school announced Friday.

Robinson, a native of Sanford, Fla., ranked as one of the top 100 players in the state of Florida during his senior season at Lake Mary High.

Capital One Cup ranking

With time running out to make a move in the annual Capital One Cup Standings, the KU men and women both are looking to jump a few spots with their showing at next week’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

As of today, the KU men are tied for 16th overall and the women are tied for 39th overall, with KU’s men ranking second among all Big 12 schools — Oklahoma State is 10th — and the women ranking fourth behind Baylor (7th), Texas (17th), Oklahoma State (28th) and Iowa State (37th).

There are six men’s Big 12 schools and seven women’s Big 12 schools ranked in the top 100. They are: Men — OSU (10), KU (16), OU (36), UT (41), BU (55) and A&M (75). Women — BU (7), UT (17), OSU (28), ISU (37), KU (39), A&M (44), OU (61).