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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring game visit fires up incoming KU QB Turner Baty

Kansas receiver D.J. Beshears takes off for a touchdown on a reverse during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas receiver D.J. Beshears takes off for a touchdown on a reverse during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

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The announced attendance for this year’s Kansas University football spring game was 15,000 — one of the largest turnouts for the annual game in years and the fourth highest total in the Big 12 Conference this spring.

But it was not just KU fans who came out in record numbers to watch the scrimmage on the last Saturday in April. Nearly half of the Jayhawks’ 27-man recruiting class, which is expected to arrive on campus next month, was on the sideline for the spring game. Many of those who made the trip said they felt a strong bond with their new teammates.

“We were like a little family,” said City College of San Francisco quarterback Turner Baty. “It was really cool.”

For Baty, who will be eligible to play in 2012 and is expected to challenge for the second-string quarterback position behind Dayne Crist, the chance to make one final visit to KU offered the opportunity to meet future teammates and friends who he had only known through Twitter. The weekend was packed with events, including dinner with the entire team following the spring game, and the Class of 2012 recruits who were on hand had the chance to get to know each other a little more. What Baty discovered was that many of them were alike.

“We’ve all been talking to each other, and I think the coolest part about this group is every single one of us was overlooked,” he said. “We’re the underdogs. And this is a place where we can all come together. Everyone’s a hard worker, and I think the most dangerous thing for a player to be able to have is to play with a chip on his shoulder. And I really think we all have that, and I think it’s going to serve us really well.”

Despite being more than 1,000 miles away in California, Baty said he could sense the excitement around KU football building by the day. That surge helped reassure him that Kansas definitely was the place for him.

“As soon as I committed, I gained like 700 Twitter followers,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was so cool to receive that kind of support right away. You really don’t get that anywhere else. I think that’s probably the coolest part about KU. Maybe it’s that Midwest vibe, but everybody’s just nice to each other. That was something I saw on my visit, too. Everyone really likes each other. And I think that adds to the family factor, and I think that will help lead to success.”

During his recent trip to Lawrence, Baty, who has known fellow 2012 signee Tre Parmalee since the two were babies, spent a lot of time with Crist — another old friend — and stayed with sophomore running back Brandon Bourbon, who hosted Baty on his official visit. While that kind of one-on-one interaction with friends new and old made him even more excited for the next few years, Baty said the turnout at the spring game had everyone jacked up.

“Seeing how many people came out was awesome,” he said. “I live out in the Bay Area and I went to Stanford’s spring game and I have friends who went to Cal’s spring game and I have friends who went to Cal’s spring game, and no one goes. No one cares. It was so cool just to see that amount of KU people there and see everyone into it. Just the excitement that’s surrounding the program is huge, and I think that will really help us.”

Asked to recall the spring game plays that stood out most, Baty, like most, pointed to sophomore running back Tony Pierson’s big day.

“Obviously, Tony Pierson had that break-away run,” Baty said of Pierson’s 88-yard touchdown run. “That was sweet. Not only that, but (senior wide receiver) Kale Pick did an awesome job. He looked awesome. I’m a little bummed that he has my number and I have to wait a year to get number 7, but he’s a stud.”

Instead of wearing No. 7 next season, which he has worn his entire life because of his fondness for and his father’s connection to former Stanford and Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, Baty will wear No. 6.

“(Quarterbacks) coach (Ron) Powlus just told me I’m gonna be No. 6 and he said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get you No. 7 again next year, but you’re gonna have to wear 6 this year,’” Baty said. “It’s OK, though. I’m a big LeBron (James) fan, too.”

Baty, like most of KU’s incoming class, will report to campus on June 3. He has spent the past couple of months working out, going over his playbook and watching film of the New England Patriots’ offense. None of those three has taken as much of a toll as his least favorite part of the past few months — waiting.

“I’m counting down the days,” he said. “I’m working hard out here at my training facility, doing lots of two-a-days, watching a lot of film, studying my playbook the best that I can, but I’m excited to just be out there.”

The biggest reason? What he saw at the spring game.

“You can’t say a lot from the spring game because it was mostly ones against mostly twos,” he said. “But I think what you can say is that, just by watching it, you know we have talent. Whether that’s at O-Line, wide receiver, running back, on defense, whatever; I know we have the talent here to win.”

Comments

John Gallup 2 years, 7 months ago

Seems solid, I wonder if we ever see him start.

Joseph Kuebel 2 years, 7 months ago

True... Hopefully we watch him take the reins to start the 4th in a couple blowout KU wins this year. I'd deal with that, for his sake hopefully he gets a take chance to compete for the starting job next year. R.O.C.K. C.H.A.L.K.

itdontmtrtome 2 years, 7 months ago

I believe he may be our starter next year. This guy has been a winner everywhere he has played and i like his attitude. We were lucky to get him, some heads up by the coaching crew. Lots of big name schools were interested but were mistaken in thinking he was coming out next year.

Steven Mathew 2 years, 7 months ago

Don't know about that. Jake Heaps looked pretty good in the spring game.

flyingfinn 2 years, 7 months ago

Agree, don't think 5 star Heaps came here to be a back up. Always good to have competition at a position to keep players sharp though and there is always the injury factor so can't have enough good players.

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

Good head on him. Thanks, Tait. Good article.

Jayhawker111 2 years, 7 months ago

Junior college quarterbacks are always an unproven gamble.

Baty was benched early last season for not taking care of the football.

If you cannot take care of the football in JC ball you are going to get torched in the Big 12.

Wies had to recruit somebody, as he has not established any relationship with any high school QB players.

What is of concern is that no other schools went after Baty, --that tells volumes.

I would hold off on anointing Baty as a player until he proves himself against something other than JC competition.

Everyone loved Brock Berglund and declared him the savior and he never even put on pads in a practice.

Just because KU gives them a scholarship does not mean they are players - am I right Berglund?

machinegun 2 years, 7 months ago

Coach Weis offered Junior QB Jordan Darling from Shawnee MIssion East in February. The Kansas City Kid is 6"4"plus and 225-230 pounds. He's a pro-style QB with a rocket arm.

KUFAN02 2 years, 7 months ago

Great point Jayhawer.. I wouldn't even consider him a shoein as the back up for next this year. Weis has mentioned how strong an arm cummings has. Baty has good size, and maybe all he needs is wies's coaching for him to florish. Im certain Jay Cutler im mean Heaps will be the starter when he's eligible.

Jayhawker111 2 years, 7 months ago

The roster at San Francisco lists Baty as 6"2 ".

I have seen Baty and he is either 5" 11 or 6' tops.....

Those roster stats are always inflated.

The ND transfer Crist is as big as advertised --they guy is huge.

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

The thing is we had an area of need and even if Crist starting is a given, then we need a good backup this year, now. So, at minimum I would say he fills that need. Beyond that who knows. I like the fact that he has four years to play three. That could be very significant, too. Watched some of his high school video and even though I am a real amateur I saw some things I liked. His ball placement seemed very good to me. He can put zip on the ball but seemed to loft the ball more. He may need some adjustment there, yet that also allowed him to get rid of the ball pretty quickly, especially in pressure situations.

I don't think we are going to know what to expect until we see him in a game. Can you imagine the evals one would have given Reesing prior to him coming in? I can hear it now, "why doesn't this kid get rid of it? Just throw it out of bounds." That would have been the "safe" thing for Reesing to do. I contend that Todd Reesing was the greatest quarterback in KU history because of his tenacity. No play was over until he said so. Yet, it seemed the stars aligned for TR. Maybe they will for this young man, too.

vd 2 years, 7 months ago

Meachum or Whittemore? Time will tell.

Billy Derringer 2 years, 7 months ago

I am a true jayhak fan all the way....I have been cussing o'l lew ever since all that stuff went down, was a total mistake, the fire, the hire, we were finally after years of being in the sh!t hole an getting our azzes handed to us by both our rivials....the program had stoped that bs an was making strides at becoming a dangerous team to play with (no one wanted to play us) BCS BOWL WINNERS....then poof!!!....... start over an try again....wrong hire (most knew this from day one).....then poof....start over an try again, only this time i think the program has a real shot at being a yearly bowl team an maybe higher deterimed on how long coach CW plans to stay. whats your over under for hhcw staying longer than 5 yrs.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

I totlally agree with your thoughts but, just curious in good fun, of course ...what was your final grade in typing class in high school??

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

At least I don't see us getting out-coached so much. KU has always had more talent. It we line up on Klein this year and make him throw the ball who knows how we will come out. But one thing you have to give them credit for is the idea of improvement week in, week out, year in, and year out. That is what we absolutely have to have. And if Weiss is open to other opportunities down the road I sure hope he is mentoring they next great coach. We need stability. Hopefully in the next few years Briles and Rhoads will be hired elsewhere, Mac Brown will retire, Snyder will retire. If we are stable at that point in time, then we will be in a really good position. Who knows, perhaps it is his son that he is grooming to take over. Once Patterson leaves TCU I don't see them at a level above us. Personally, we need to get behind and stay behind any coach that gets us to a bowl game year in, year out. A lot of us were not happy about the 2008 season. Heck, I'd take that in a heartbeat now. We need to remain supportive.

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