Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kansas snags commitments from state’s top football prospects


Late last week, released its state-by-state rankings for the top prospects in the Class of 2013, and the Kansas University football team appears to be doing quite well in the Sunflower State.

According to the rankings, KU has secured oral commitments from the fourth, fifth and sixth best players in the state.

Basehor-Linwood’s Ben Johnson is ranked fourth and was given three stars. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end was the first in the Class of 2013 to commit to KU. Last season he caught 59 passes for 954 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Bishop Miege quarterback Montell Cozart, 6-2, 180, ranks fifth and also is a three-star prospect. Cozart, who played for new KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard last season, led the Stags to a 9-2 record and the second round of the postseason.

Shawnee Mission East quarterback Jordan Darling, 6-4, 226, is the most recent KU commitment and ranks sixth on the list. Darling, a three-star QB, played at Waco Midway High as a junior and led his squad to a berth in the state title game.

Missouri (offensive lineman Clay Rhodes, ranked second) and Kansas State (linebacker Tanner Wood, ranked third) each have one commitment from the list and the other five remain undecided.

They are: Emporia’s Jerel Morrow, a four-star athlete who is ranked No. 1 in the state; Mill Valley’s Skyler Windmiller, a two-star quarterback ranked seventh; Marysville’s Brady Moore, a two-star tight end ranked eighth; Mill Valley’s Coleman McCann, a two-star offensive lineman ranked ninth; and Bonner Springs High’s Tyler Howell, a two-star offensive lineman ranked 10th.

According to Rivals, Morrow is the only player remaining on the list to whom KU has offered a scholarship.

In all, the Jayhawks have received five commitments from this class, three from Kansas, one from Missouri and one from Texas.

St. Louis-area linebacker Kellen Ash, 6-3, 194, is ranked as the ninth best prospect in Missouri, while Dallas area defensive back Colin Spencer did not crack’s Top 100 in Texas.

Habitat for Humanity

Several KU employees and student-athletes offered their services to the Habitat for Humanity project in Lawrence on Wednesday.

Included among them were defensive tackle Keon Stowers, a junior who transferred from Georgia Military College and arrived on campus earlier this month, and tight end Justin Puthoff, a junior from Goddard. Both KU football players tweeted about their experience and, not surprisingly, touted “hard work” as a key ingredient to the project’s success.

Facilities fail?

On Thursday,’s David Ubben unveiled his rankings for the top football facilities in the Big 12 Conference.

Even though Ubben noted that he took into account more than just each school’s stadium, he ranked the Jayhawks dead last and seemed to penalize them for the state of Memorial Stadium.

Here’s Ubben’s take: “Want a good way to say — intended or not — that “We don’t care enough about football?” Put a track around your football field. Kansas’ facilities are nice, and like I said above, it’s not all that far behind No. 4 Texas Tech, but the stadium is holding KU back.”

Summer camping

This weekend was big for the KU football camp circuit. After hosting the annual Friday Night Lights camp from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, KU’s coaching staff welcomed some of the top athletes from around the region for 7-on-7 and Offensive and Defensive line camps from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Both camps featured some of the top talent from all levels of high school football and each gave the KU coaching staff a close-up look at some of the players they may wind up recruiting during the next couple of years. This year’s camps were closed to the media and will wrap up with an individual camp on June 27 and a Super Tuesday camp July 31.


ukanjhox 6 years ago

The headline made me think we recently snagged some new commitments... False advertising.

John Brown 6 years ago

I am glad we got the top Kansas prospects especially since we couldn't compete for them in years past. However, find it interesting that the states best is its only 4 star. The one kid out of Texas didn't crack the top 100 for the State of Texas. I wonder if any of our top Kansas would make the top 100 for Texas?

Dirk Medema 6 years ago

The top KS recruit (Emporia’s Jerel Morrow, a four-star athlete who is ranked No. 1 in the state) is uncommitted, and the only player on the list that currently has an offer from KU.

Unfortunately, mizzoo got #2 (offensive lineman Clay Rhodes, ranked second) and KState got #3 (linebacker Tanner Wood, ranked third).

1, 4, 5, 6 would be nice, especially with McCay coming home as well.

BillSelf4Prez 6 years ago

David Ubben hit the nail on the head.

Michael Pannacciulli 6 years ago

We need a serious benefactor like Booth to get this ball moving. Money talks.

stinkybulldog 6 years ago

Memorial Stadium is a joke. It should be ranked last in the Big 12.

april28 6 years ago

Well....if we can close the deal on Morrow, then we've done about as well in Kansas as could be expected.

Though I'm not a huge believer in the "star" system, the law of averages does apply and it seems that Weis is doing a good job of getting to 3-star players. If he can load a class up of mostly 3-stars and get lucky with a handful of 4-stars, then the recruiting class would have to be considered a big success.

As far as the stadium is concerned, there is a simple solution, require every poster on this board to contribute $10 every time they complain about the track. Folks, it's simple, it only takes money. are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

texashawk10 6 years ago

The star ratings are right far more than they are wrong. The players that are generally considered to be the best players on KU's roster are also for the most part the highest rated players KU has.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 6 years ago

How hard/expensive would it be to put up some limestone on the stadium, replace the chain link fence with a more visually appealing wall, and remove the track? There is no excuse for the eyesore that is Memorial Stadium. I understand if we can't put 10s of millions into renovations but I will never understand why they can't make some decent and much cheaper changes to make the stadium at least tolerable in the eyes of fans and recruits.

Dirk Medema 6 years ago

Bcause removing the track means building a new facility somewhere else?

It's interesting that Ubben has TT at 4 even though they are one of the few programs w/o indoor facilities. It would be interesting to see an objective analysis with some weighting of the factors. I'm recalling one program being penalized for the press box or something like that. Similar comments significantly diminished my opinion of the substance of the article regardless of how he ranked KU.

TKHAWK 6 years ago

Glad someone else has noticed how bad that chain link fence looks. Its so ugly on ESPN when they pan the coaches and players on the side lines with that chain fence in the background. I agree the ultimately the track needs to go, but you are right, there are some cheaper touch ups that can be done in the short run. A KU blue paved track would be less ugly than the standard red dirt track color as well and would certainly look sharper on TV.

bjejayhawk69 6 years ago

Good point about the limestone. Look at the Oread hotel and both high schools in Lawrence. Limestone must be readily available in Lawrence plus it looks really cool. Some kind of renovation incorporating that would really make a statement about KU.

Eric J. Baker 6 years ago

There is limestone everywhere in Lawrence. When you're driving on I-70 and it cuts through the hills, you can see layers of it. KU is built on a giant limestone deposit, Mount Oread. That's where the "chalk" in Rock Chalk comes from, chalk is limestone.

Matt Kenton 6 years ago

Did the writer tour all 10 facilities and make a fair assessment? No, but if this is the negative attention it takes to get something done, then so be it.

That being said, do it the RIGHT WAY. We can't just take out the track and put up some limestone here and there. Like or not, the Kansas Relays are a big event and we need to get moving on a new track facility now. Then, lower the field, add more seats, etc. And do it the best way possible.

In reality, you could probably just cover up the track during fb season and perception would change!

AirCapJay 6 years ago

Did you see the new website for the new up-coming Baylor football stadium?


Zenger needs to start drinking whatever Baylor's AD is drinking!

Gary Wirsig 6 years ago

Baylor's definitely got a big vision. After seeing the video though, I was a little surprised at the relatively small capacity of 45,000 with a planned future expansion to 55,000. Those are probably practical numbers for their market, but the stadium looked a lot bigger than that in the video.

texashawk10 6 years ago

Baylor's new stadium is being funded by the profit Drayton McLane made from selling the Houston Astros.

kellerman411 6 years ago

It says capacity is 45,000. I hope they're playing in a fishbowl, otherwise those games are going to sound like grandma's funeral.

Kevin Heath 6 years ago

The field cannot be lowered and more seats added by removing the track. Walk the stadium from bottom to top sometime (or top to bottom). The higher rows are steeper and the lower rows "flatten out" if you will.

Think of it like this. The top row in the stadium is both behind AND significantly above the row in front of it. When you get to the bottom of the stadium the second row is largely behind and just slightly above the row in front of it.

By lowering the field and adding to the current structure there would be seats that would move from say the 10th row (currently) to the 30th row (just a random number) who would have obstructed views. The obstruction comes from the large number of rows in front of them without sufficient decrease in elevation to see the field completely

The athletic department has been working on this for 10 years or more at least. What you will find is that there is going to be a track removal eventually, but there will just have to be a way to cover it up, no seats can be added, at least without major structural renovation to the entire stadium. In essence you have build a new track facility, but be aware there is not a good way to make the football stadium more profitable by removing the track, maybe more aesthetically pleasing, but not definitively more profitable.

Randy Bombardier 6 years ago

I like your recommendations on the stadium. Good common sense.

741hawk 6 years ago

Okay, let me post it again. In the early '90s, Dolph Simons, Jr. and I were the only people left on the west side of the stadium during a rain-soaked game vs Wyoming. (That stellar Jayhawk band even left at halftime, as did our AD). Dolph and I talked about the track.

Three months later he sent me a three page copy of the cover letter of an engineering study commissioned by Bob Frederick at Dolph's urging.

Summary: The track can be torn out and the field level dug down the equivalent of seven rows. The same sight lines would be maintained. If it were done as Colorado did it years ago, and the horseshoe maintained, seven rows would be the equivalent of 7,000 seats -- a perfect next addition in terms of number of seats. (Of course, it would be much better to tear down the horseshoe and add seats across the back of the north end zone).

No mention of a spring was included in the report. It can be done. It is exactly what OU did in 1949 (no less) when they did their first stadium expansion after the stands on both sidelines were complete. Please note the dominance of Bud Wilkinson /Sooner football in the 1950's!

With Washington's $250 million reconstruction of Husky stadium, Duke joins KU as the ONLY Division I program with a track inside its stadium!

texashawk10 6 years ago

Boise St. still has a track and they're doing pretty good for themselves.

741hawk 6 years ago

Correction: Only two BCS schools with tracks.

Dirk Medema 6 years ago

No need to lower the field. Raze the eastern stands (after building a new T&F facility - in northwest Lawrence?) and build them back 20 yds (2xtrack width) closer, and with a steeper angle. The next year, raze the north bowl, and match it to the new eastern stands. It would be more of a challenge to match the western stands, so the following year, they could be rebuilt to match around the existing pressbox (wasn't it rebuilt a few years, decade? ago?).

Bee Bee 6 years ago

Here's a thought. Leave the stadium as it is and...... FIX THE DANG TEAM! USC, Notre Dame and other PRETTY good football schools play in old stadiums. I ve been to the LA Coliseum many times. It's virtually the same as it was when it was built in 1921! (other than video board etc) USC has done okay in that old building, like Notre Dame has. Both places are FULL more than not.

KU was the joke of the nation last season. The defense was the worst in the history of organized football!!!!! Fix the TEAM! If they win games the place will be full every Saturday. I don't care if they play in a Walmart parking lot, WIN GAMES!

machinegun 6 years ago

No need to waste money. Paint the concrete crimson and blue. Plenty of cheap labor with students around.

rockchalkblock 6 years ago

How bout bring back the ivy that use to climb the walls of the bowl and since we already have the ring of honor on the inside add pictures of those athletes to the second story arches outside the bowl.

Brian Skelly 6 years ago

I think the idea that any renovations (significant or minor), are going to up the capacity of the stadium by leaps and bounds strikes me as a little foolish. Not because we shouldnt do it -- adding several thousand more makes sense... and if its major maybe 10k more.

Clearly the ideas are out there its just a matter of whats feasible or not.

I like the idea of 'closing' the South end of the stadium, even if its not some huge thing (multiple decks, etc). I personally think that the "Touchdown Club" looks cheap and temporary. It doesnt help anymore than the concerns about the 'track' as far as im concerned. Even if that south end was lower level luxury sitting it would be progress.

But either going the limestone route or something else, simply sprucing up the concrete behemoth there would help. I remember when Mizzou's stadium wasnt all that different than KU's (15 years ago). They did some asthetics (brick and black rod iron) around the stadium and it transformed the look. They eventually got more aggressive about it, and now what that have dwarfs what we have. And my guess is they didnt break the bank doing it, no more than we would at least. I cant see how this doesnt get done 10 years ago, but somehow we've just ignored it.

If there was a crazy desire to really kick up the capacity, couldnt you just put a 2nd deck on the North side? If im correct, isnt it still essentially that original (or somwhat original) bowl?

Im glad the Anderson complex got built and it IS great. But all it really dead was move us up to the middle of the pack with that. Im glad it happened and it does help. But it just seems like there isnt the drive to do this stuff, at least not on a huge $$$ drive. Clearly Zenger would love to get the ball rolling on this, but its going to take big $$$ from lots of folks.

Randy Bombardier 6 years ago

I think we got a steal in Collin Spencer. Watching his video it is hard to believe that he did not crack the Texas 100. He is fast and decisive.

741hawk 6 years ago

A shout out to Dads on Fathers Day. Most of us were introduced to KU Athletics by our Fathers. My first football game was vs Santa Clara Broncos -- 1952. I was at the first game in Allen Field House. (I have the program to prove it.) I have a memory of KU vs TCU circa 1960 and hearing from a friend of my Dad's at halftime that Bob Lily was too slow to make it in the pros! Many, many more great memories. Thanks, Dad. I miss you.

kranny 6 years ago

2 maybe 3 years and 2-3 good consecutive bowl games later and we might see serious thoughts about renovation. No sense in renovating something that nobody is going to come to if we can't win games.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years ago

As president of the track bashing fan club I must comment. This dude spent one day surfing google images and compiled his list. Yes the track does make us look foolish, but there are few better locations than memorial in the fall. Bottom of the hill looking up at campus, plenty of room to tailgate, suites, and fairly recent renovations to concessions and restrooms do not land us in last place.

Sorry, ever been to Ames? KSU has no suites and NASCAR bleachers were added during their most recent renovation. Baylor is throwing dynamite at their current stadium as we speak. I can't speak on Texas Tech, but I can only imagine. Heck even UT is one giant parking garage outside of the stadium!

gorilla10 6 years ago

Memorial needs upgrades bad and we all know it. The new football facility and practice fields are great but only the players see those. KU needs to come up with some money to make this happen soon!!! If you ranked the stadiums by location, KU would be in the top 5! Kstate would be dead last......There is absolutely nothing special around that stadium but a couple parking lots and some western KS fields to the north....

RJ King 6 years ago

In the meantime, paint the locker room pink and baby blue. It worked for Iowa. oh wait . . .

ltownatrain 6 years ago

The misery grad Ubben can talk all he wants but at the end of the day what do you expect from the oldest FBS stadium west of the Mississippi? Don't get me wrong I am all for upgrading memorial as it does need some work (and I like the idea of removing the chain-link in favor of something more Kansas such as limestone) however, I get tired of sports commentators bashing KU's stadium and almost advocating for a new stadium elsewhere. I think Memorial Stadium with a little facelift would be one of the best if not most picturesque stadiums in the country. Also even though improvements could be made, to me there is something about going and watching football games at the same stadium that KU and NFL greats Gale Sayers and John Riggins played in.

Also I agree Gorilla10 nothing special about K-state, it's in the middle of a bunch of farmland, I would much rather not have parking and walk up over the hill from Downtown Lawrence before and after the game.

rob4lb 6 years ago

The track has not bothered me as much as much as cameras panning up the hill and showing the tents and inflatable balloons It looks more like a carnival than a BCS football game. I'd rather have a stadium with smaller capacity that is full compared to adding, say, 10,000 seats that are rarely sold. Empty seats look bad on TV. I think the only time KU has consistently drawn 50,000 per game was the last years of Mangino's tenure. I thought there was a plan to add some luxury boxes. My understanding was there was. It enough demand so the project was cancelled.

kureader 6 years ago

If my math is correct, KU only signed one Kansas kid, from outside the Kansas City area (and that's if you want to call Basehor, outside the Kansas City area). And, they made only one other offer to a kid from Emporia, that may or may not be accepted.

In years past, the state of Kansas (excluding the KC area) produced at least a dozen D1 football players each year. I guess it doesn't matter, but it appears that either Kansas doesn't produce very many D1 players anymore, or KU is "passing" on them.

NikeCortez 6 years ago

KU landing the 4, 5 and 6 ranked players in the state of KS is worthy of a write up? God how sad. Chaz Bono is an awful recruiter...too many unnecessary pieces. What a train wreck this will become.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.