Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new as Weis era brings big changes to KU roster

The Jayhawks sing the Alma Mater before the band and the student section following the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

The Jayhawks sing the Alma Mater before the band and the student section following the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.


When the 2011 football season ended last November, 92 Kansas University football players expected to be back with the Jayhawks for spring football in 2012.

Only 75 were.

When KU coach Charlie Weis was hired to replace Turner Gill last December, he said the normal rate of attrition among college football programs with incoming coaches is anywhere from 10-15 players.

Chalk up the ability to do math as another one of Weis’ strengths. Since taking over the KU program, 20 of those 92 players who expected to be on the roster in 2012 are gone. What’s more, one-third of the names on the final 2011 roster — 20 who left plus 15 who graduated — were not listed on KU’s 82-man spring football roster.

“This is everywhere,” Weis said. “When people say, ‘So-and-so came in and 12 guys transferred,’ every other coach, when they go in, the same thing happens. The same thing happened my first year at Notre Dame. I went to Notre Dame, and I think 13 guys left in the first year. Some of them, I was very happy they left.”

The reasons for the departures at KU include everything from dismissal for disciplinary reasons to leaving for personal reasons and all scenarios in between.

In mid-January, Weis announced the dismissal of 10 players, which included one group — JaQwaylin Arps, Dexter McDonald, Darrian Miller, Adonis Saunders, Brock Berglund and Keeston Terry — that simply was asked to leave, another group — Jordan Webb, Tyrone Sellers and Tom Mabry — that reached a mutual decision to explore other opportunities, and one player — Travis Bodenstein — who elected to transfer.

Shortly after that, the roster shrank further when former tight end Brandon Olson left and Weis revealed that walk-ons Malcolm Walker, Chris McEnaney, Isaac Wright and Blake Abbott would not be back.

A couple of months later, after spring drills began, Weis removed five more players from the roster, as Collin Garrett, Julius Green and Chris Robinson all were kicked off for violating team rules and Tanner Gibas left for personal reasons. Defensive end Javonte Daniel is the only player no longer on the roster who disappeared without an official explanation.

Of course, 35 players disappearing from a football roster does not happen without the coaching staff replacing at least some of them. That, too, has happened at KU.

Three mid-year transfers — Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and Justin McCay — already are here, and the other 24 members of Weis’ first recruiting class are expected to report to campus this summer. Add to that five names that did not appear on the roster last November — wide receiver Jon Jones, cornerback Jackson Long, defensive end McDouglas Archibong, tight end Scott Baron and linebacker Ricky Speer — and the final tally, at least for now, comes out to 35 gone and 32 in to replace them.

Many of those players, fifth-year seniors and true freshmen alike, will be counted on to contribute right away, which means when Aug. 2 rolls around, Weis and his coaching staff will have a lot of work to do to get the newcomers ready and just four weeks to do it.

Of that, Weis is very aware. And, as with everything else so far, he doesn’t appear to be worried.

“I think it forces you to have a fast track program for these guys coming in here so that you don’t try to do too much with them the day they walk in the door and get them confused,” he said. “You have to get them lined up and ready to go, but we have a gameplan in place. If you know anything about me, you know there is a plan in place. We’re not going to say, ‘Okay they’re coming in, let’s wing it now and see how it goes.’ I think we have a pretty good idea of how we are going to handle this.”

Exploring Kansas

Weis on Tuesday made the first two stops in what figures to be a whirlwind tour of the Sunflower State during the next couple of weeks.

Officially dubbed “The 2012 Kansas Football May Tour,” Weis and special guests from the KU athletic department and alumni association will meet fans across the state at luncheons and happy hours.

Tuesday, Weis and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger were the featured guests at a luncheon at The United Wireless Arena in Dodge City early in the day and wrapped up the first leg of the tour at The Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City.

Here are the dates and locations for the rest of the tour:

Today — A luncheon at Smoky Hill Country Club in Hays, 11:30 a.m.

Today — A happy hour event at Salina Country Club, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Thursday — A luncheon at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, 11:30 a.m.

Thursday — A happy hour event at Larry Bud’s Sports Bar & Grill in Wichita, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

May 22 — A happy hour event at Chatters Grill in Pittsburg, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

May 23 — A luncheon at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka, 11:30 a.m.

May 23 — A happy hour event at LiveStrong Sporting Park’s Member’s Club in Kansas City, Kan., from 5:30 to 7 p.m.


Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Sad to see several of the guys go. Garrett, Terry, Gibas, and Miller to name a few. That being said, a good football team demands chemistry and also demands that guys buy into the system. If losing those guys is what it takes then so be it.

I'm optimistic that Kansas football will be fun to watch again.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

And by the way... Screw the NCAA for the McCay ruling. I don't care if it is old news... I'm still pissed!

hometownhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Which specific aspect of his appeal are you referring to? i.e. Which hardships do you believe warranted the waiver being granted? I have no idea what the hardships were, so I don't feel qualified to applaud or condemn their ruling. Do you?

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago


I understand what you are saying and agree to an extent. I don't know a lot, but the little I do know is enough to upset me.

-Oklahoma found the situation bad enough to allow him the transfer. -Everyone who does know the situation thought it was grounds for the waiver. -The best explanation the NCAA gave was that It wasn't a singular catastrophic event but rather a series of really bad events. -The NCAA basically initially said "No, we don't have the ability, but we believe your case is good enough to appeal." WTH!?

At the very least, those points put the burden of explanation on the NCAA... Not on KU, Weis, or McCay.

Dennis Mahorney 8 years, 5 months ago

A lot of other KU fans are upset for the same reasons. Reasons made clear in several articles and commented on in a myriad of posts. We knew what you were getting at.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow! A third of the team turned over.

Do we know anything about Jon Jones, Jackson Long, McDouglas Archibong, Scott Baron and Ricky Speer? Are they walk-ons for now or part of the next wave of 5th year players?

Jackson Long - (Smart with a good nose for the ball.) McDouglas Archibong - (Determined) Scott Baron is a RS from SoCal

Dirk Medema 8 years, 5 months ago

Should leave lots of room for the next recruiting class as well.

Alex Berger 8 years, 5 months ago

Do we know how many scholarships will be available for the upcoming recruiting class? With all these changes and 5th year seniors coming in it seems it might be between 30-35.

jaydee909 8 years, 5 months ago

Matt, you left out Coach Weis and Dr. Zenger will be in Hays at the Smoky Hill Country today at 11:30 for a luncheon. Can't forget Dr. Zenger's hometown for a few years in his teens.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

“The same thing happened my first year at Notre Dame. I went to Notre Dame, and I think 13 guys left in the first year. Some of them, I was very happy they left.”

Ha! This made me laugh out loud. The more I hear about Weis, the more I like him.

He kind of reminds me (with the things he says) of Bum Phillips of the Houston Oilers back in the 80's.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 5 months ago

Good comparison. I liked Bum Phillips. The thing I like about Weiss that I did not get when he was hired is that he is kind of a players coach in that he will be good to you if you buy in, obey the rules, go to class and do everything asked of you. Yet, he is tough, too. So, he is relational but tough. That is a good combination. He is not going to ridicule someone or explode on the sidelines like MM, he'll just tell you to pack your bags, you're not cutting it as a Jayhawk and we do have options. That, I have to like.

Martin Shupert 8 years, 5 months ago

He has never proven he can coach college football. He's still taking millions of dollars from Notre Dame. His buy out was amazing, but they spent the money more wisely by paying him to leave than they did paying him to coach there. I would love to be wrong about Weis, but he has yet to prove he can coach his way out of a paper bag.

KGphoto 8 years, 5 months ago

Nice. That kid knocked down about 6 passes and blocked 3 kicks, just in that video. Only problem I saw is that he also overshot and missed about 3-4 one-on-one tackles. He needs a tackling coach and a weight room but I like him.

Kip Reiserer 8 years, 5 months ago

I must have missed the dismissal of Darrian Miller back in January. Where did he get picked up?

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 5 months ago

I read on here sometime ago one of the posters said he ended up at N. Illinois.

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 5 months ago

I think it was actually Norther Iowa not Northern Illinois.

Sayers44 8 years, 5 months ago

What percentage of Division I athletic scholarships are multi-year?

The answer: zero.

There are no NCAA Division I athletic scholarships that go longer than a single year at a time.

Players are exploited. They can be cut after any season—and not just because of failing academic standards or breaking school rules.

Players can be cut for injuries, for not playing well or even merely having the bad luck of being around when a coaching change occurs (and since many coaches like to bring in “their guys,” that doesn’t always leave room for previous team members to remain on scholarship).

More than 75 schools are asking to override a plan approved in October to allow multi-year athletic scholarships rather than the one-year renewable awards schools currently provide.

"The NCAA and presidents step up with this legislation and then the universities want to vote it down. They say, `We don't have enough money,' and then the coach gets a $2 million raise,"

The one-year renewable scholarship, with a limit of five years of athletic aid, has been in place since 1973. And while the National Letter of Intent signed by most top recruits includes that caveat, some athletes say coaches on the recruiting trail routinely make more grandiose promises they know they can't fulfill.

Think about all of the hardship of these KU players mentioned in this article - having to transfer or losing their scholarship. It is not a pretty picture. At the same time Weis draws a $3,000,000 salary that is guaranteed for 5 years....

There is a lot wrong with NCAA athletics and changed need to be made in favor of the Student - Athlete..

Tony Bandle 8 years, 5 months ago

To borrow a phrase from the Liam Neeson movie "Taken".........." Good Luck!! "

The only change that will work is to totally replace the NCAA..the student athlete will always be second to the almighty dollar with these current idiots.

Bville Hawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow, Ralster. Good points all the way up and down.

kureader 8 years, 5 months ago

You'll get no argument from me regarding bonehead decisions by the NCAA, including decisions about player eligibility or rediculous rules and punishment handed down by the NCAA.

However, your rant about multi-year scholarships is misleading and off base. Perhaps you'd suggest that college players should have a "players union" like the NFL or NBA to prevent new coaches from improving the caliber of their teams?

While these players technically have one-year scholarships, it's not common practice to yank player scholarships as long as the player is going to class, staying out of trouble, showing up for practice and making an honest effort to contribute to the team. With or without a new coach, 10 or 12 players will leave each year between seasons ... this year there were 20.

None of those mentioned had their scholarships "yanked". Four of them didn't even have scholarships. The others left because they knew they wouldn't play for Weis, because they got in trouble with the authorities, couldn't honor team rules, or they left simply for personal reasons. Except for a few behavior problems, these players left on their own and would have left the program, even if they had multi-year scholarships. Your point was irrelevant, because the term of their scholarship was irrelevant.

Player turnover is not necessarily the fault of the player OR the coach. Playing major college football is a 30+ hour per week commitment and it's hard work. For some players, once they believe they won't play, it's not worth it. They'll either quit or transfer to a school where their hard work results in playing time. I don't see the problem.

Coach Weis is doing what every coach does. He's trying to earn his $3 million, win games, recruit better players, and he expects his current players to work hard whether they get to play or not. Scholarships are not entitlements! For some, it wasn't worth it. Good luck to them. From what I can see, Coach Weis, so far, is holding up his end of the bargain. RCJH.

Incidentally, great article LJW! I was wondering how many of the players in this year's spring game were new to KU. Sounds like there are 24 MORE players coming to KU this summer! Awesome!

kualum95 8 years, 5 months ago

Actually KUREADER your facts about the players losing scholarships under Weis is wrong. He has and continues to go after scholarships for those fitting your description of being a "student-athlete roll model", which by the way to your point isn't the norm under D1 programs. I think it is great the NCAA has gone back to multi-year scholarships....after all it seems to be acceptable in college sports to guarantee 4-5 yr $2.5M+ contracts with horrible coaches!!

741hawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Yep. Up until the late 70's, scholarships were for four years. As long as the student athlete "participated," regardless of development or lack of development, regardless of injury, etc., the scholarship was for four years. The student made a commitment to the university and the university made a commitment to the student!

Under VERY FEW circumstances does the NCAA look out for the student-athlete. Like most "too-large" organizations, they're only looking out for their own welfare.

Did you ever visit their offices in KC? You'd understand. Mahogany office furniture. Mahogany desks for the secretaries. Mahogany wainscoated hallways! Marble floors and mahogany walls in the elevators! Can't imagine how they decorated their Indy offices.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 5 months ago

I agree. But I do not have much faith in the system to fix itself.

kualum95 8 years, 5 months ago

Very good write up Sayers44...You are spot on. No one out there is looking out for the student-athelete just trying to play a game they love and for the possibility of getting their school paid for. The $2.5M / yr coaches have all the power, in the mean time the student gets screwed in the end. When Gill left he wasn't hurt financially....ask what happens when a student gets their small scholly taken away....its life changing for them....

KGphoto 8 years, 5 months ago

"Weis on Tuesday made the first two stops in what figures to be a whirlwind tour of the Sunflower State during the next couple of weeks."

I see what you did there Matt.

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Very clever with the tornado reference. Hail

Tony Bandle 8 years, 5 months ago

Establishing a football program is kind of like constructing a building:

  • first, you clear the site of all debris and hazardous material -second, you dig out and install a deep foundation and all supplemental utilites -then you construction a sturdy frame that wll last for a long, long time -finally you supplement the interior and exterior to make an environment both workable and attractive.

It appears Charlie has pretty much finished up the demolition stage and is well into the excavation portion of the project.

As building owners, we all need to show patience, but it will be fun to see our program rise out of the ground!!

Lance Cheney 8 years, 5 months ago

And then you run cable and decide what kind of chairs you want.

KGphoto 8 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately, selling it in this economy is a biatch.

flyingfinn 8 years, 5 months ago

Okay, I am not tyrying to defend the NCAA here because yes they do have their problems, but on the flip side there has to be some set of rules and someone to enforce them. Otherwise we have another professional football and basketball league where the rich schools dominate even more so than today. The NCAA is not the only bad guy here, there are many coaches and administartions that would run wild in trying to win at any cost and some one could argue try to do so today.

quigley 8 years, 5 months ago

I love the name "McDouglas Archibong"

april28 8 years, 5 months ago

One more time at the trough....

If a school goes on any form of probation: kids are free to transfer. (USC, for instance)

If a coach changes at a school: kids are free to transfer. (Gill, Martin, etc.)

If the original school gives the kid approval: kid is free to transfer. (Oklahoma-McCay)

No sit-out year. No punishment to the kid.

This tilts the scale back a little to the student athlete without disrupting things too much. It covers most "unfair" situations for the student athlete, or special circumstances, yet doesn't allow willy-nilly transfers because a kid is 3rd on the depth chart.

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 5 months ago

"Add to that five names that did not appear on the roster last November — wide receiver Jon Jones, cornerback Jackson Long, defensive end McDouglas Archibong, tight end Scott Baron and linebacker Ricky Speer — and the final tally, at least for now, comes out to 35 gone and 32 in to replace them."

Does anyone know anything about these guys? I'm curious to know where they came from, what they're 'star' ratings were/are, and if they did good where they were at before. Seems like these are the only players we haven't heard anything about. Any information would be appreciated! Thanks!

Matt Tait 8 years, 5 months ago

They're even new to me and I'm assuming they're all walk-ons... Tough to get info and access right now, but I'll see what I can find out.

Lucas Town 8 years, 5 months ago

I am excited to see what the fall will bring, but due to the change in coaches and players I think we are fooling ourselves into thinking this will bring immediate W's. Look at Iowa St. Rhodes will be in his 4th year and they are a 6-6 to 7-5 team recently. Their situation is and was much better than what Weis has to fix. Synder at K-State also in his 4th year, probably a 7 to 8 win team this year, and their situation was better from Princ to Snyder than that of Gill to Weis. I will guess 3-9 or 4-8 this year. Everyone else will be better than they were last year, and if they aren't they will be better than us.

Lance Cheney 8 years, 5 months ago

True, but at least we SHOULD (hopefully) be competitive this year with a lot of teams. Still in the game in the 4th quarter, and with just the right lucky bounce of the ball, we have a shot at winning... you get the picture. Hopefully there will be no more games (at least not as many) where it's over at halftime and gets exponentially worse in the second half. These are MY hopes, anyway...

RickGrimes 8 years, 5 months ago

This comment section thread is better than the article. And it was a good article.

machinegun 8 years, 5 months ago

Coach Weis is rapidly changing the culture of losing and those players who do not perform on and off the field will be gone. There is a psychology to sports that many people do not understand or appreciate. For 2 plus years our Hawks have taken the field with the wrong mindset for a football team that expects to win. Coach Weis knows all about this stuff and is changing that mindset on the fly.

The home games will be much more enjoyable for young and old alike so tell family and friends to get their tickets now.

Coach Weis and his staff have already demonstrated that they can recruit top talent. We will have a high powered offense putting up lots of points on the scoreboard. The defense will do a better job slowing down the top teams. Overall execution on both sides of the ball will be improved. I can really see us beating the crap out of Texas!

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