Sunday, January 20, 2013

KU football misses out on recruits


It was a rough weekend for Kansas University’s football program, which lost an assistant coach to TCU and then watched a couple of its top remaining recruiting targets commit elsewhere.

Just days after learning that linebackers coach DeMontie Cross was leaving to take the same job with the Horned Frogs, a pair of highly sought offensive linemen said no to the Jayhawks and yes to other BCS-conference programs.

Honolulu offensive lineman Reeve Koehler, a four-star guard from St. Louis High who was at or near the top of KU’s remaining wish list in the Class of 2013, committed to Arkansas over the weekend.

Koehler, who took an official visit to Arkansas this weekend, said last week that he would weigh his options after returning home from the visit. Arkansas and Kansas were his finalists, but evidently Koehler saw enough from new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema and the rest of the program on his visit to commit orally while on the trip.

Koehler, 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, told Danny West of that there were multiple things about the visit that he liked. One of the biggest factors was the team’s bond.

“The highlight of the visit probably was seeing how tight the players are,” Koehler told West. “I like that kind of brotherhood. I knew this was the place I wanted to be.”

Not long after learning of Koehler’s decision, the Jayhawks also lost out on another offensive lineman when College of DuPage tackle Matt Finnin, a three-star prospect who had listed KU among his five finalists, orally committed to Nebraska.

The 6-8, 330-pound juco standout told Mike Matya of he was wowed by his visit with the Cornhuskers and did not see any reason to wait.

“I loved everything about it,” Finnin told Matya. “I don’t see myself playing anywhere else next year.”

KU coach Charlie Weis still has two spots remaining in the Class of 2013, which can include up to 27 players because two of the midyear transfers can be counted backward to last year’s class. Eleven of the 25 commitments in the class officially signed with KU in December. Many of them — mostly junior-college transfers — are in town already and will begin their lives as Jayhawks on Tuesday when the spring semester begins.

In addition, those players will be eligible to participate in spring practice, which begins March 5 and wraps with the annual spring game on April 13.

National signing day for the rest of the class is set for Feb. 6, which gives Weis and company a few more weeks to fill the remaining spots should they choose to do so. Weis has said consistently since taking over at KU that he would not sign guys simply to bring in bodies, so the possibility exists that the class is complete as is. There are a few uncommitted targets still out there, but Koehler and Finnin certainly were at the top of KU’s wish list.


milwaukeeJAYHAWK 5 years, 5 months ago

Bummer...but losing recruits to Arkansas and Nebraska sure beats losing them to some no-name teams I suppose. I remember the days we'd constantly lose recruits to random schools like Northwestern and Memphis...ugh.

utahjayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I'll give you Memphis, but Northwestern, "random"??

kellerman411 5 years, 5 months ago

Koehler committed to Arkansas a long time ago... It's called Rivals, you guys should try it.

Brak 5 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like someone is just bitter that Koehler was all but "locked" up for the Jayhawks then he decided to go somewhere else. Wish the man all the best in college......It's called humility, you should try it.

kellerman411 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't even know what that means... my comment was in regard to the article being late to hop aboard the We Missed Out On Koehler train. No malice about the kid committing somewhere else.

I can't believe I just responded to someone's comment on my post. Ahh, I'm no better than the trolls themselves.

Larry Smith 5 years, 5 months ago

I guess I don't understand your comment either. I know that he was an Arkansas lean, but he had stated KU was on his final list, and he just committed to Arkansas this weekend. That was a long time ago?

Rick Arnoldy 5 years, 5 months ago

Conjecture is not commitment. Koehler is the only one who knows when he made up his mind.

Larry Smith 5 years, 5 months ago

I guess I don't understand your comment either. I know that he was an Arkansas lean, but he had stated KU was on his final list, and he just committed to Arkansas this weekend. That was a long time ago?

Matt Kenton 5 years, 5 months ago

Does the departure of Turner Baty free up another scholarship, or is that included in the 2 remaining?

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 5 months ago

It frees up a scholarship to the total of 85, but it doesn't free up another scholarship for the recruiting class.

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 5 months ago

rough weekend for sure.....Koehler was really coveted. i figured it was almost a sure thing since his teammate was coming.

well, who's left to get? unless there is a superstar out there who at the last minute will decommit and then come to us, i think we're done. it was a good class.....the key is to keep building on it, in the next few classes.

that is what has happened to KU football in the last six, seven years....and historically frankly: we get a few quality guys, and maybe one pretty good overall class, but then it's never built on. we fail to recruit in the following years...and the program goes to stuff. let's stop that trend.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

KU still wants the 6'5 295 pound Poet Thomas. Could play OL or DT.

Matt Kenton 5 years, 5 months ago

And speaking of Rivals, they say we have signed 9 (all JC) and have 15 unsigned commits (7 JC, 8 HS). That's 24 total.

This article says we have 25 total with 11 signed.

Ryan Knuth 5 years, 5 months ago

Ty McKinney counts towards this year haul even though he is not listed on Rivals. Also, Colin Spencer graduated early and is enrolled I believe, which means they make 10 and 11.

hawkdds 5 years, 5 months ago

There is always some talented but overlooked kids out there eager to prove themselves(think Todd Reesing) lets go hunting.RCJH

David Meredith 5 years, 5 months ago

Can't get them all... would have been nice to get an O-line stud though to fill out the class. I was losing hope with Koehler when he was going to visit Arkansas.

Hey Matt, what does our potential starting O-line look like next year?

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

LT: Riley Spencer, Brian Beckmann, Sean Connolly, or Zach Fondal LG: Mike Smithburg, Ahongalu Fusimalohi, or Damon Martin C: Dylan Admire or Smithburg RG: Fusimalohi, Smithburg, or Martin RT: Aslam Sterling

David Meredith 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the info...looks like a lot of competition. Hopefully Grunhard gets them ready.

David Meredith 5 years, 5 months ago

What about Randall Dent and Gavin Howard though?

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

Forgot about Dent and Howard. They'll compete with Smithburg, Fusimalohi, and Martin at guard. If I had to guess a starting 5 right now it'd be Spencer at LT, Admire at C, Sterling at RT and Smithburg and Fusimalohi at guard. I give the edge to Smithburg and Fusimalohi right now at guard because they're enrolling early and ESPN's scouts really seemed to like them. Fusimalohi's # 95 in ESPN's JUCO 100 and Smithburg's # 41 in rivals JUCO 100.

Matt Tait 5 years, 5 months ago

It's early and there's a lot of competition to be waged, but my guess for the starting O-Line would be this group:

LT - Riley Spencer LG - Damon Martin C - Mike Smithburg RG - Ngalu Fusimalohi RT - Aslam Sterling

That would leave a bunch of experienced depth behind those guys, which can only help — Dent, Howard, etc. Still wouldn't hurt to beef up the tackle spots. I'm sure they're looking.

Micky Baker 5 years, 5 months ago

Even with losing a couple of these guys, Rivals has KU as the highest riser in the recruiting class from 2012's, up 39 I believe from a year ago from 74. Of course, it isn't like we didn't fill positions we didn't need, but filled the ones we needed the most.

Ray Winger 5 years, 5 months ago

Sometimes it is good to keep a couple of slots available. HC Mark Mangino, would pick up someone that has fallen through the cracks. Look at A&M's overcommitment, and one would anticipate someone becoming available.

55jayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I wish Mr. Koehler a great career with Arkansas but as I stated in my Post last week about him, I was not impressed with his play in the H.S. all star game for being a 4 star player. This has been a good year recruiting for KU and Coach will pull a couple of rabbits out of his hat if he needs to. I agree with Raydude, there may be some good players who have fallen through the cracks or colleges who have overcommitted their programs. We are not going to be able to fix everything at once but it will happen over time with each year getting better and better! Semper Fi

Reuben_J_Cogburn 5 years, 5 months ago

Fantastic week....

Three magnificent blunders by this program, staff and players alike:

  1. The Koehler recruitment screw up

  2. Losing Turner Baty

  3. Mr. Heeney's Wild Ride

Stay tuned for more to come....

Ray Winger 5 years, 5 months ago

I think this may be good news: 1: Mr Heeney will have learned a valuable lesson and go on to a great career/here and NFL (ala Ray Lewis) 2: Koehler will be a ok player for Ark. but we will find someone better (remember when Bubba Cunningham changed/waffled and some jayhawks were moaning....we rebounded and found gold in Dr. Zenger (Serious gold) Look how all the 'other sports and other nonrevenue athletes are winning and happy, and football, too. 3. Turner Baty will get better and have good CC career. We will open up a slot for someone else...or...he will return more experienced and improved than he would have riding pine.

Boouk 5 years, 5 months ago

Losing Turner Baty will have no impact on our next season whatsoever. Losing a recruit to Arkansas is better than losing out to KSU, and besides, our staff still did a good job at at least giving us a chance at landing him. The biggest hit this program took might've been losing our LB's coach if Weis doesn't hire a good coach in place of Bowen leaving to coach the LB's.

Jack Jones 5 years, 5 months ago

Lighten up, Reub. "Magnificent Blunders"? Excessive rhetoric - at best.

texashawk10 5 years, 5 months ago

Three things:

  1. Koehler was a Tennessee commit originallyand when the Vols fired Dooley, he reopened his recruiting and KU became the favorite for Koehler. The guy who recruited Koehler to Tennessee gets hired to be part of Bielema's staff at Arkansas and the Hogs enter the picture and land Koehler because of that. Not a screw up on KU's part, but disappointing none the less.

  2. Losing the likely third string QB is not a huge deal. Baty would have likely been running scout so it may hurt the scout team, but I imagine Darling, Cozart, and Jablonski can handle it. I don't blame Baty for wanting to play, he is leaving KU on good terms unlike a certain QB last year who also never saw the field for KU. Losing Baty's mom is a bigger deal.

  3. This is the only "blunder" this past week and Weis has already said Heeny is still part of the team and handling the discipline internally so moving on.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 5 months ago

We lost out on one player, I wouldn't call that a rough weekend on recruiting. If we lost out on 3 or more then maybe. Assistant coaches leave all the time so that's no big deal. Our recruiting class is pretty good and if this was all we got for this year I think it was a good haul.

We have more depth on both lines, improved the secondary and receivers and have players ready to play now. It's been a good offseason for football.

BCS_BOUND_KU 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey Matt, Any news on New NIKE UNIFORM's coming?

CrystalJones 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh, wow...I didn't even know about this Nike possibility. Seriously, if HCCW is open to variety in uniforms, instead of the same old traditional uni's every week, it will be just one more confirmation that KU football is rising towards a powerful status, IMHO.

Look at the schools that have opened their minds to futuristic uniforms, such as Oregon and Oklahoma State. Even Notre Dame went with a different texture on their helmets this year. Those are all powerful college football programs.

We will look back on these days fondly. Charlie Weis will end up being the greatest thing to ever happen to KU football. He obviously has the best football mind among BCS head coaches (3 Super Bowl rings) and he has put together all the components for football greatness at KU:

-- The best defensive coordinator in the Big XII (former Dallas Cowboys head coach Dave Campo; -- All-Pro offensive lineman Tim Grunhard as O-Line coach; -- The best running back unit in college football; -- A clear Heisman Trophy candidate in Sims; -- The best incoming quarterback in the Big XII.

Add to this the excitement the players will feel when they know they're putting on the latest in uniform fashion, and we'll be among the toughest teams in the country to contend with week in and week out...beginning THIS YEAR.

The uni's will also attract top-flight talent, just as Oregon and OSU get.

I am so pumped for KU football that I can't wait for the spring game.

Topher Peters 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow, you have some very lofty expectations. I hope everything turns out this way too, but I'm not holding my breath. Sims-Heisman? If KU wins 5 games next year that would be an awesome improvement. Again, I hope for the best. But let's be honest, it's gonna be a few years before this ship gets turned around.

Kovo12 5 years, 5 months ago

Is there anyway we can get an update on JUCO commit Isaiah Johnson? Word on the street is he is visiting Texas Tech and is close with one of the coaches and a player on the team. I read it in an article, but now I can't seem to find it. Any information on the subject would be nice.

Matt Tait 5 years, 5 months ago

Pretty sure Johnson's taking a visit to TTU but everything I'm hearing is that he's still strongly committed to KU. Sometimes these guys just like to use up all of their visits for the experience/memories.

Worth keeping an eye on, though...

Doug Cramer 5 years, 5 months ago

Whats up with Baty's mom ? Is she hot ?

Jackster 5 years, 4 months ago

Arkansas has a great story to sell....SEC, new coaching staff and a $30MM investment upgrade in their football facilities on top of what is already one of the best in the US. They get huge $ from Walmart and the fan support is 2nd to none (No NFL teams to follow in Ark). At the end of the day, the Big 12, in general, comes late to the recruiting party. The SEC offers the top prospects scholarships in their Junior year of high school and the Big 12 doesn't show up until weeks before signing day. Aside from OU and Nebraska, the rest of the Big 12 is way behind relative to recruiting.

SUNGOD 5 years, 4 months ago

There's a very talented running back out of Washington,DC,named Greg Bryan;H.D Woodson High: still keeping the door open till the last sec,....Kansas should hurry and pick that gem up.Track Speed,tenacious at the point of attack,tough and is very versatile(good hands) and a solid kid,that works hard.University of Kansas...what are you waiting for...there's not much time left.

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