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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Juco commit follows familiar path to KU

Kansas University football recruiting.

Kansas University football recruiting.

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When Kansas University football commitment Keyon Haughton, an offensive lineman from Georgia Military College, first arrived at his junior college, he made fast friends with a player who shared his name but not the spelling.

When Haughton first arrived on the Georgia Military campus, Keon Stowers, a GMC graduate and current Jayhawk, was on his way out the door, having just signed with Kansas. Although the two worked out just a couple of times before Stowers hit the road, it did not take Haughton long to become impressed by the man who would go on to become a KU captain during his second season in Lawrence.

“When I first got there and heard that he was going D-I, I was surprised and excited that people from the school I was at were going D-I,” Haughton recalled during a phone interview Tuesday night. “It just made me want to work that much harder.”

Now, more than two years later, Stowers once again is in a position of making Haughton want to work harder than ever before.

Haughton, one of two junior-college players expected to sign national letters of intent with the Jayhawks today — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M cornerback Ronnie Davis is the other — saw and heard all he needed to hear from Stowers earlier this month, when the KU co-captain served as Haughton's host on his official campus visit.

“He told us basically everything we wanted to know,” said Haughton of Stowers. “He answered all of our questions and he gave us every answer we wanted to hear, so that made it easy. He's an impressive guy and he's come a long way. Seeing that just makes me want to get up there and work even harder than him.”

That role is one Stowers has become accustomed to playing during his time at Kansas — leader, mentor, motivator. And having players like him is vital to the future of the program.

“He basically just told me to work hard and to make sure I'm ready to come do my best and ball out,” Haughton said of Stowers' message.

The connection with Stowers was one reason Haughton chose Kansas, but the 6-foot-2, 295-pound offensive guard said there were others. The family atmosphere impressed him. The facilities wowed him. And the attention he received throughout the recruiting process was second-to-none.

“The coaches are really respectable and they showed me a lot of love,” he said.

Haughton will come to Kansas with Georgia Military teammate Devon Williams, a 6-5, 335-pound offensive tackle who earned first-team juco All-American honors this week but won't be able to report to campus until June. Getting to town early — he'll arrive Jan. 17 — gives Haughton a leg up and will allow him to gain valuable experience during spring drills.

Haughton, who is back home in Baltimore, Md., for the winter break, plans to sign his letter of intent at 6 a.m. and fax it to KU immediately. He'll have a signing party this weekend.

“It's gonna be a little emotional,” he said. “But I already know a little about what's to come. It's going to be more emotional for my parents, I know that. They've seen me go through high school, prep school, junior college and now this. They've seen me go through a lot to get to the point where I can take a big step like this.”

Asked if the KU coaching staff told him much about the new offense that's coming with offensive coordinator/offensive line coach John Reagan, Haughton laughed.

“Not too much,” he said. “They just told me that when I get there I'm going to be studying a lot of plays.”

With recruiting, there's always the potential for last-minute surprises, both good and bad. So there's a chance that KU could add an additional player or two today or at any point during the mid-year signing period, which runs through Jan. 15. But whether they add more — 6-2, 285-pound offensive lineman Dontae Levingston (Santa Monica C.C.) could finalize his choice of KU or Texas Tech as early as today — or stand pat with the additions of Davis and Haughton, it's safe to say that this year's December recruiting excitement won't be anything like 2013, when the Jayhawks signed a massive haul of six defensive players, two offensive linemen and one punter — all of whom arrived in time for spring practice — and saw the birth of the #DreamTeam2013 hash tag on Twitter.

That's just fine with Haughton, who said the excitement of signing his own letter of intent was enough for him.

Comments

Brett McCabe 12 months ago

Haughton seems like a good kid who has worked hard to achieve a dream of playing D-1 football. He and his teammate would help us fill a problem area on the team, and having him early will be a real bonus. Welcome aboard!

Doug Cramer 12 months ago

Recruiting class 2014 is not looking good folks, especially if Weis considers recruiting his strength.

We are dead last in the Big 12, and 77 out of 124 in national rankings. Our D-line is going to get destroyed next year.

Even Gill's classes ranked higher than this.

Zenger made a big mistake.

Dirk Medema 12 months ago

Lots of time, and lots of really good recruits still considering KU. Lot's more spots though. Also 3 recruits currently committed that are as good or better than any before them, but then you probably judge the team performance only by the W's & L's.

Doug Cramer 12 months ago

Hey Matt - have you seen this yet ? Former KU basketball staffer Barry Hinson...tells the media how his wife could play better than his players LOL

http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?NoCache=1&Dato=20131218&Kategori=SPORTS04&Lopenr=312180081&Ref=AR&sf20770216=1

Eliott Reeder 12 months ago

That was awesome, thanks for sharing...

Dirk Medema 12 months ago

Maybe there is a reason they are doing so poorly this year, and why he flamed so badly at previous stops.

Doug Cramer 12 months ago

Dirk - Obviously you have no clue what you're talking about. I live in Springfield...and watched Coach Hinson lead a Missouri State team that was steady...year in and year out. He missed out on making the NCAA tourney three of those years...when his RPI was in the teens...and had over 20 wins.

Also - if you think Coach Weis is going to pull top notch recruits this year after his dismal performance these past two season...you're dreaming. Did you not see the lack of discipline and intelligent play on the field this season. By the way...the lack of discipline and playing smart football has nothing to do with player talent. It does have everything to do with how the players are being coached.

Erich Hartmann 12 months ago

Doug, hate to play devil's advocate, but you ALSO could be describing Bill Self's current team (at this point): "lack of discipline and playing smart"...but would you say that has "everything to do with how they are being coached"?

Let me simplify KU football for you: 47 drops. Absolute drive-killers. Not able to do anything when the defense held and forced a punt numerous times. Ultimately defenses tire, and opposing BigXII OC's will figure out KU's defense, and they will score. How many 1 possession games in the 2nd half were lost because offense was inept? Turzilli needs to GO. McKay was MIA.

You are not going to believe the change when we have Harwell+Pierson at WR, and Johnson (250lb TE with hands) pushing Mundine, and RB ready to go with Cox + Bourbon + Miller. Oooodles of O-linemen. And a true 3 or 4 way QB competition. Turzilli should give up football, as its not his thing.

Doug Cramer 12 months ago

  1. Erich - We see this every year with our basketball team. Freshman learning Coach Self's system. It takes a while. The basketball team will be fine.

  2. 47 drops: Do you think Mangino's team would drop 47 passes ? Do you think Snyder's Wildcats would drop 47 passes ? Do you think Leach's Wash St receivers would drop 47 passes ? Do you think Sabin's Tide would drop 47 passes ? Yes...the lack of mental discipline is a big reason why we drop passes week in and week out.

  3. Regarding the change when we Harwell gets on the field ? We heard this about McCay last year. We heard this about Rod Coleman pre-season last year. Pierson was a different player (less effective) after his concussion. OOoooodles of O-lineman doesn't mean anything unless 4 or 5 of them actually have talent. And finally...I'll say the same about the QBs. The previous two seasons...QB was supposed to be a strength in Crist and Heaps.

  4. In summary...what am I saying. Be careful about drinking the kool-aid. This program has a loooooooong ways to go before we compete in the Big 12. Our current recruiting class is in the 70s and dead last in the Big 12.

Norm Jennings 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Doug, don't know you from Adam, but you might want to have some egg-nog and lighten-up. Drinking Kool-Aid isn't always worse than standing on a high ledge looking down!! Post above might have been meant as collegial and courteous?? maybe just missed a little??

Perhaps this will help? I think I recall more than a couple of calls for Mangino's firing before an favorably unbalanced schedule, stumbling into Reesing, and Perkins' maneuvers got the Big Man into the OB (unfortunately all collapsed in the 7-game losing streak when these factors no longer were in effect).

Things may turn quicker than we think.

Merry Christmas!!

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