While most of April was spent coaching the players they had in front of them, a good chunk of May has been spent trying to find new ones.
Led by head coach Charlie Weis, the Kansas University football staff was all over the map during the first two weeks of May, mining all four corners of the country for new talent to help bolster the rebuilding project they inherited in Lawrence.
From Texas and Oklahoma to Washington D.C., Georgia and California, as well as many areas in between, KU’s assistant coaches were on the road nearly non-stop since the spring game wrapped on April 28.
Last Friday, KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard summarized KU’s efforts in fewer than 140 characters.
“Recruiting is over and the Jayhawks covered everywhere from New Jersey to Hawaii,” Grunhard’s Tweet read. “Next week we will grind out 150 prospects film. KU is back.”
With 26 players filling the Class of 2012, Weis and his staff addressed many of KU’s biggest needs despite having less than two months to do so. Given an entire year and a better understanding of what they have and don’t have, Weis and his staff should be able to demonstrate better what kind of recruiting pull they possess.
So far, KU has secured three oral commitments from players in the Class of 2013. Local prospects Ben Johnson, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, a tight end from Basehor-Linwood High, and Montell Cozart, 6-2, 180, a quarterback from Bishop Miege High, were the first to commit. They were joined a few weeks later by St. Louis-area linebacker Kellen Ash, 6-3, 194.
A believer in putting as many of the best athletes on the field as possible, Weis does not appear to be limiting the scope of his search in the Class of 2013.
Here’s a quick look at a handful of KU’s targets. There are, of course, dozens more players that the Jayhawks are going after in this class, and many recruiting analysts expect KU to hand out more offers and land more commitments during the early part of June. This is just a brief look at several players who have received official scholarship offers from Kansas, according to JayhawkSlant.com:
- Jordan Darling: 6-4, 226-pound quarterback from Shawnee Mission East High. Darling, a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.com, also has an offer from Kansas State.
- Keith Watkins: 5-11, 175-pound running back from Moeller High in Forest Park, Ohio. Watkins also is another three-star recruit, who currently has eight offers, seven of which come from BCS programs.
- Eric Harrell: 5-8, 188-pound running back from Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, Fla. KU is one of two schools (Florida International) to offer the powerful back.
- Mario Alford: 5-9, 175-pound running back from Georgia Military College, the same school that produced Class of 2012 defensive lineman Keon Stowers. Alford also has offers from Arizona and Texas Tech.
- Duane Thompson: 5-10, 185-pound running back from H.D. Woodson High in Washington D.C. Kansas is one of five schools to offer the tailback, but so is Colorado, which last February, signed three players from Woodson High.
- Kyle Meadows: 6-5, 270-pound offensive tackle from Lakota West High in West Chester, Ohio. Meadows has more than a dozen offers from some pretty big-time programs, including Florida State, Louisville, N.C. State, Pitt and West Virginia.
- Joey Bloomfield: 6-6, 315-pound offensive tackle from Ballard High in Louisville, Kent. KU, Colorado and Wyoming are the three schools that officially have offered Bloomfield.
- Sam Coverdale: 6-7, 280-pound offensive tackle from Kenston High in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Northwestern appears to be the leader for Coverdale, who received an offer from KU last week, but more than a dozen others have offered him.
- Matt Beyer: 6-6, 275-pound offensive tackle from Ronald Reagan High in San Antonio. KU is one of two Big 12 programs (Baylor) to officially offer Beyer.
- Desmond Harrison: 6-8, 320-pound offensive tackle from Contra Costa CC in San Pablo, Calif., who has more than a dozen offers including eight from BCS programs.
- Marquis Wallace: 6-5, 310-pound offensive tackle from Lackawanna CC in Scranton, Pa. Juco lineman also has offers from East Carolina, Houston, Pitt and South Florida.
- Zach Hannon: 6-5, 295-pound offensive guard from Rockhurst High in Kansas City, Mo. Hannon, who ranks 12th at his position nationally, has no shortage of offers from nearby programs. KU, K-State, Missouri, Nebraska and Arkansas all have gotten into the race.
- Landon Stokes: 6-4, 220-pound defensive end from Lake Highland High in Orlando, Fla., whose offer list has reached 25 schools and seems to be growing by the day.
- Sione Sina: 6-4, 245-pound defensive end from College of San Mateo. Weakside end also has offers from BYU, Cal and Hawaii.
- Paul James: 6-2, 242-pound defensive end from Miami (Fla.) Norland High. Interest from powerhouse programs Alabama, Miami, Fla., and Tennessee makes KU a longshot here for the three-star end.
- Jamone Boyd: 6-4, 245-pound defensive end from Lee’s Summit (Mo.) West High. Similar to Hannon from Rockhurst, all of the local schools are in on Boyd, who has offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Oklahoma State.
- Marcus Hardison: 6-4, 260-pound defensive end from Dodge City CC. Hardison’s 4.7-second 40-yard dash speed make him an attractive option. Already has offers from KU and Arizona State and is receiving interest from K-State.
- Eric Beisel: 6-4, 235-pound inside linebacker from Rockwood Summit High in Fenton, Mo. Arkansas appears to be the leader for Beisel, who is still hoping to land an offer from Northwestern. Also being pursued by Arizona State, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska.
- Al-Rasheed Benton: 6-2, 220-pound inside linebacker from Shabazz High in Newark, N.J. Most of Benton’s offers are from back east, as Penn State, Pitt, Boston College, Maryland and West Virginia are among the dozen or so schools to have offered.
- Brandon Hines: 6-2, 182-pound outside linebacker from Kimball High in Dallas. Only in-state offer so far for the three-star linebacker is from North Texas. KU and K-State both have offered, as has UNLV.
- Marcus Jenkins-Moore: 6-2, 205-pound outside linebacker from Pierce CC in Woodland Hills, Calif. Has eight offers from BCS programs, including Kansas, and the list appears to be growing by the week.
- Jordan Smith: 5-11, 180-pound cornerback from H.D. Woodson High in Washington D.C. Another Woodson product means more interest from Colorado. KU and Ohio State round out his early offers.
- Carroll Washington: 6-0, 180-pound cornerback from Hartnell CC in Salinas, Calif. Finished 2011 with five interceptions and also has offers from Mississippi State and San Diego State.
- Malik Rucker: 6-0, 175-pound safety from Cooper High in New Hope, Minn. Ranked as the 25th best safety in the country, Rucker has nearly 20 offers from all corners of the country. Iowa State, the only other Big 12 school to offer Rucker so far, seems destined to crack his list of finalists.
- Solomon Warfield: 6-0, 170-pound safety from St. Edward High in Cleveland. Three-star prospect being pursued by KU’s Rob Ianello has more than 15 offers and interest from at least a dozen more schools.
- Taion Sells: 5-10, 170-pound safety from MacArthur High in Irving, Texas. Strong safety from the same school that produced KU running back James Sims has seven offers from the region but seems to be picking up steam out west.
- Darwyn Kelly: 6-1, 194-pound safety from H.D. Woodson High in Washington D.C. Colorado pops up yet again, joining Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina and Purdue as the only BCS schools in on Kelly at this point.
- Michael Minter: 6-1, 180-pound athlete from North Star High in Lincoln, Neb. Three-star play-maker with sub-4.5 speed has offers from KU, Purdue and South Carolina but has not yet received one from the hometown Cornhuskers.
- Derrick Mitchell Jr.: 6-0, 185-pound athlete from Vashon High in St. Louis, Mo. Serious Midwest flavor so far for Mitchell, who has offers from Indiana, Iowa, KU and K-State.
- Edwin Delva: 6-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Antelope Valley CC in Lancaster, Calif. Currently has seven offers, including two from the Sunflower State in KU and Kansas State.
- Ben Hughes: 6-2, 310-pound defensive tackle from University High in Waco, Texas. Hughes has three Big 12 offers already but none of them come from Baylor, the Big 12 university in his hometown. Still, an offer list that includes KU, K-State and Oklahoma State is not too shabby.