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Sunday, February 3, 2013

KU football recruiting draws to a close

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With national signing day set for Wednesday and Kansas University’s football program still with two scholarships to hand out, the next couple of days figure to be interesting and exciting as KU’s coaches wait to hear if there are any last-minute commitments who join what is regarded as a top-40 class by many recruiting outlets.

Twenty-five prospects in the Class of 2013 already have committed to KU, and 11 signed national letters of intent in December. The rest are expected to sign Wednesday, but getting to that point has been tough for a few of them.

Most notable on that list is Iowa Western defensive back Isaiah Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety who committed to Kansas in December and has remained committed to the Jayhawks despite receiving interest and offers from other schools in the weeks since.

A couple of weeks ago, Texas Tech made a strong push at Johnson, who initially set up a visit with the Red Raiders but later canceled because of his comfort with Kansas. More recently, Missouri and Wisconsin also made late pushes, but Johnson rejected both.

“It’s frustrating,” Johnson admitted. “I think it’s kind of tough when you’re committed to one school but other schools keep calling. It’s hard.”

Johnnson isn’t the only KU commitment to endure such action. Louisville, Ky., offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield also has continued to rack up offers, and Pierce Community College linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore often fielded questions from other schools about why he picked KU.

“No other schools have really called me lately because I already told them I’m committed to KU, and I’m going to KU,” Jenkins-Moore said. “In the beginning, a couple schools respected it, but a lot of schools were questioning me on my decision and asking me why I was going to a school that’s 1-11. But it’s all good. They should be happy for me.”

With such activity being the norm in college football these days, coaches know they have to do as much recruiting after landing a commitment as they do before. During the past several weeks, KU’s coaching staff has double- and triple-teamed already-committed athletes to make sure those commitments stick.

Although Johnson admitted to being flattered by the continued interest, he said the work the KU coaching staff has done since he committed easily matched the work it put in to get him in the first place.

“Coach (Buddy) Wyatt has been doing a real good job,” Johnson said “If another school comes after me, I tell him, and he, coach (Dave) Campo and coach (Rob) Ianello all came to my school to let me know how much they wanted me. That just shows they really care. They’ve been with me throughout the whole process. They’ve been at my house. They’ve done everything they can to get me.”

Because of that, Johnson has rejected all other offers and, long ago, started counting down the days to signing day.

“I’m still committed to KU,” he said. “I can’t imagine anything changing that. It’s coming down to the wire, but I’m just ready to get it over with; I’m ready to sign right now.”

There is good news for Johnson and the rest of the commitments still hearing from other schools. Coaches have reached another dead period, so no contact of any kind is permitted between now and signing day.

Savage still thinking?

KU’s late-game wish list still includes a few high school seniors and junior-college prospects, and one name seems to have climbed to the top.

Arizona Western CC offensive lineman Dionte Savage, a 6-5, 345-pound guard who previously committed to Baylor, has reopened his recruitment and has been as busy as any prospect in the country during the past couple of weeks.

KU has put the full-court press on Savage, with head coach Charlie Weis and assistants Tim Grunhard, Jeff Blasko and Reggie Mitchell all playing a part.

Savage visited and loved KU during the final weekend of January and also has taken visits to Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Baylor remains a player and has done its best to hang on to Savage, who is expected to take his decision down to the wire.

Comments

cjp22152 1 year, 2 months ago

OK, everyone cool it with all the "We're going bowling" and "Heisman candidate" talk. This team will be making leaps and bounds just to win a couple conference games this year. Don't put high expectations on this team just because they landed a decent recruiting class. Not to mention, there's still 2 more days left until they sign (we probably won't get all these guys). I sure hope good things are to come, but let's be realistic. Let's crawl and then think about walking.

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Jim Jackson 1 year, 2 months ago

Savage committed to OU. Wow have we EVER beat OU for a prospect? Anytime they jump in we seem to lose out. SOBs

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Boouk 1 year, 2 months ago

New starting OLine projection for next season if we land Savage: LT-Spencer LG: Fusimalohi/Savage C: Smithburg RG: Fusimalohi/Savage RT: Sterling. With an OLine that big and the RB's we have, we should be able to run the ball very effectively next season.

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canuckhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Hold your horses on celebrating a TOP 40 class.

First, our recruits are mostly finalized and other are still adding, so we are likely to slide down the ranks a bit before this all ends. You'll remember that we were around no. 32 a few weeks ago and now we are no. 43 (rivals).

Second. Do you know our rival rankings from previous years? Lets ignore last year's no. 74 showing given that it was a coaching change year. What about 2011? No. 34. (um, thank you HCTG?). The three years prior? No. 55, no. 31 and no. 40.

Over the same time period Rivals gives the following to the purple cats (2013-2008): 53, 58, 68, 63, 92, 27.

What this means is that I put almost no credibility in the Rivals system for predicting on-the-field success. Especially when you get beyond the top 10.

I do find some optimism in the fact that many of our recruits are also getting offers from winning programs. I also think our team showed some development last year and was a few straight kicks and a handful of completions shy of a much less embarrassing, but nevertheless losing, record.

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Jim Jackson 1 year, 2 months ago

We are going to be a much improved team next year! With the talented JUCO overhaul and the RB tandem along with Heaps, we are going bowling!!

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CrystalJones 1 year, 2 months ago

Agree completely with VaJay. We have a TOP 40 CLASS. That means only 39 teams are ahead of us, but a whole lot more are behind us.

Maybe that doesn't impress too many other people, but for KU that's pretty darn good. And when you combine that with the No. 1 head coach in the country (4 Super Bowl rings), a former NFL head coach as D-Coordinator; an All-Pro coaching the O-line; a Heisman candidate at running back; the best running back unit in the Big XII; and the best incoming QB in the conference...it all adds up to one conclusion:

KU is the rising football program in the state of Kansas. Despite their conference titles and all that, KSU currently has NONE of the above attributes in their sinking program. Old Man Snyder just signed up for another 5 years LOL. You can't last forever buddy!. KSU's glory days are over, as Charlie & Co. begin their own march towards a Big XII title.

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Dyrk Dugan 1 year, 2 months ago

LAJayhawk....the difference is, the athlete himself re opened his recruiting. it's really not right when the player stays committed, and he still gets the calls.

Roy Williams in Bball talked about that when he landed Keith Langford. Keith was committed to Ole Miss, and he called Roy and asked if he was still interested. and Roy told him he would re recruit him, but only if he publicly declared he was decommitting from Ole Miss. only then would he re offer the schollie.

i know these athletes want to get this over with, but i would extend it as long as possible....then commit close to the end, that way there's none of this "they're trying to steal players" stuff.

it would be awesome to land Savage...after Koehler went to Arkansas, this would be a great final coup.

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KGphoto 1 year, 2 months ago

To kellerman's point, we are blessed at RB. Weis wisely retained Reggie Mitchell but I haven't heard a peep about the position since Cox transferred. Any word on some RBs Reggie and Charlie have an eye on for next year?

I have heard the name Traevohn Wrench, but only in a sentence that included "no way he picks KU'.

Certainly there are some nice prospects Reggie is looking at.

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Bob Bailey 1 year, 2 months ago

There are still questions on our ability to teach the Belt Buckle Rule, Wrapping Up, and the right level for tackling. No runner will drag his tackler very far if his legs are held tight.

Barring some improvement, we're still in line for another 1 - 11.

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Jason Keller 1 year, 2 months ago

This shouldn't be anything new but unfortunately it is. We finally are recruiting people who other BCS schools want. Get used to it, people.

I gotta say that I am really looking forward to seeing next year's defense. I can't wait to see what Campo can do when he has some horsepower under the hood.

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Doug Cramer 1 year, 2 months ago

Isaiah Johnson must be a stud if all these other schools are courting him at the last minute. Thanks for your loyalty Isaiah !!! Rock chalk Jayhawk !

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LAJayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

A little ironic that the first 3/4's is about us trying to hang on to our recruits, then finishes with us trying to take someone else's. Yes, I understand that Savage has "reopened" his recruitment, but, at the very least, it is a little bit of humorous duplicity.

But that's how the game is played. So I hope no one blames other coaches for going after our guys. Everyone plays the game. Including us.

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