Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Jersey defensive end picks KU football


Austin Stevens, a 6-4, 245-pound defensive end from Montclair (N.J.) High orally committed to KU on Thursday, according to

Stevens, a two-star prospect, chose KU over offers from Boston College, Buffalo, UMass, Rutgers and Temple.

Stevens and Montclair teammate Darius Slade — a 6-5, 237-pound three-star defensive end — have said throughout the recruiting process that they like the idea of playing college ball together, so this could be a good development for the Jayhawks. Slade currently has a top five of Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Rutgers, and West Virginia. There is no known timetable for his decision.

Stevens becomes the eighth player in the Class of 2014 to commit to Kansas, joining offensive linemen Jacob Bragg and Apa Visinia, Free State High safety Joe Dineen, defensive back Andre Maloney, wide receiver Tyler Patrick, linebacker Kyron Watson and running back Traevohn Wrench.


Red Demon 8 years, 4 months ago

Not an overly exciting commitment, but very solid nonetheless! It's also easy to forget that some of these less-heralded recruits can turn out to be diamonds in the rough. Nice pick up!

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

There's a reason he's a 2 star kid and his best offer is Rutgers or Temple. Sure he could be an under the radar kid, but the recruiting services are in the ballpark on these kids far more than they are completely wrong. Because this is likely a way to significantly increase KU's odds at landing his teammate (who has a much more impressive offer list), this isn't a bad offer but it's nothing to get overly excited about on its own.

Alex Berger 8 years, 4 months ago

Think of the star system as more of a percent chance that a player will be a stud. 2 stars could be diamonds in the rough but with football players you never know until they get on campus and start playing.

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

You're right, he COULD be a diamond in the rough and we don't know definitively what he'll be until he gets to KU, but let me ask you something. Who are the highest rated recruits currently on the roster that KU recruited meaning either KU recruited them straight out of HS or straight out of a JuCo (excluding transfers like Heaps and McCay). That would be 4 star players James Sims, Tony Pierson, Darrian Miller, and Brandon Bourbon. Is it a coincidence that KU's best players also happen to be their highest rated players coming out of HS? Recruiting services like Rivals, ESPN, and Scout are not perfect (no service is), but they are in the ballpark with their ratings of players far more than they completely miss on someone.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 4 months ago

Sims was a 3, which was still better than 2 recruits Aquib Talib, James Holt, Chris Harris, Jake Laptad, Jeff Spikes, Charlton Keith, Joe Mortensen, Athony Collins, J Vaughn, ---- Oh forget it.

Ben Kliewer 8 years, 4 months ago

Most of our great players from our Orange Bowl season were not highly rated kids coming out of high school. For example - Kerry Meier was a 2 star (at QB), Aqib Talib was a 2 star, Todd Reesing was a 3 star. It all depends on the system they're coming into and what a coach can do with them.

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

Answer me this, is it a coincidence that a school like Alabama is almost always in the top 5 in recruiting by the time the final ratings come out and that Alabama is also almost always a top 5 team? Or is it a coincidence that KU is almost always near the bottom of the Big 12 recruiting rankings and almost always finishes near the bottom of the Big 12? There will always be exceptions, but the fact of the matter that rankings matter and teams usually finish within a position or two within in their conferences relative to where their recruiting classes from 3-4 years prior because that's when those kids for the most part start to play major snaps for their team.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 4 months ago

That's the difference between the probability of the whole vs. whether an individual player can excel. In this case, we're referring to an individual player, and there are plenty of examples of individual players that were not highly recruit and still achieved considerable success. The probability of success increases with the *'s, but it is not determinant.

It's why they play the games.

Rivethead 8 years, 4 months ago

The schools that offer them also impact their star rating. If this kid were to have suddenly been offered by Bama, his star rating would have suddenly become 5 stars instead of 2.

Darren McSweeney 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes, but all things being equal, you'd like to start the hand of Hold 'Em with aces instead of 4 - 10 off suit. Sure, you might win with 4-10. But over the long run, you're going to have, well... the history of KU football.

Cmill1221 8 years, 4 months ago

Don't put too much into the recruiting services. Todd Reesing and Aqib Talib were 2 stars. Dwayne Cryst obviously 5 Stars. You can never tell.

Lucas Town 8 years, 4 months ago

Exactly, a lot of it depends on the recruit, how they adapt to the college level and the amount of coaching that player up that takes place. Reesing and Talib were exceptional football players, but they had to be groomed and coached in the systemand their desire to be better players helped put them over the top as some of the best Jayhawks ever.

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

For those you listing off the 2 star players who have overachieved, where has recruiting low 3 star to high 2 star (where the majority of KU recruits are rated), where has that gotten KU over the past 50 years? 3 or 4 really good seasons.

The principles of having a great football team are the same as having a great basketball team. You need great players and you need great coaching and KU football has been devoid of that for the better part of its existence. Y'all can go ahead and be happy with a 2 star DE and say "he's going to turn into the next (insert 2 star who overachieved name)" while those who pay attention to recruiting know there is a much, much higher chance this kid plays and develops like the 2 player he is a KU will continue to stay at the bottom of the Big 12 far more regularly than they compete for a good finish with kids like this.

Some of you were the same ones saying KU would go down and handle Rice with ease just because they're Rice and their history isn't much different than KU's in regards to being a bottom most years. Those of us who said Rice had a very good chance at winning and there was a reason they were a TD favorite over KU might actually have a clue about what we're talking about. KU's history is that KU competes for a conference title about once a decade. KU will NEVER compete for conference titles on a regular basis with low 3-high 2 star kids as the majority of the players on the roster. That is reality and there is decades of history that prove this.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 4 months ago

Let's stick to the JUCOs Chuck; we need immediate impact players.

kellerman411 8 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like Nick Saban might be coming to the Big 12. Texas is gonna make a Texas sized run at him and that means a blank check. Nick Saban is gonna be paid 7.5 million per year to coach the Texas Longhorns starting next year. Book it.

Jim Stauffer 8 years, 4 months ago

He may well choose the money, but he would be a fool to leave a place where it has been proven he can win the big one over and over again.

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

It will take more than $7.5 million to get him to leave Bama. If Saban chooses to leave for Austin, he'll be getting $10 million per year at least.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 4 months ago

You might be right, but I imagine the story is more to do with that fact that Mac Brown can pretty much kiss his job goodbye than it is about who will take it. But Nick does like to travel!

Robert Brock 8 years, 4 months ago

Not going to happen. Bama can even the bid and he can stay with the champs and avoid the chumps.

Chase Topliff 8 years, 4 months ago

More money. He would live in a recruiting hot bed. He would play in a conference that isn't as strong as the SEC. If he gets the same players to Texas as Alabama, everyone else in the Big 12 is competing for 2nd every year. Hope he DOESN'T come.

kellerman411 8 years, 4 months ago

There is no other place that it is easier to win than Texas. Southern Cal is a close second because recruiting is so easy in Hollywood with the girls, weather and celebrities but even there you don't have quite the boosters that UT has. USC and Texas will have a heavyweight battle royal for the services of Nick Saban and it is gonna get ugly. Whoever wins is gonna have to reach down in that pocket and grab a fist full. Personally, Saban doesn't strike me as the Southern Cal type, then again, he did coach in Miami.

As Jayhawks, we want him at Texas. He single handedly secures this conference as a power. He'll bring that system to UT and run the table year 1. The Big 12 pie will get bigger which is what we all want. Just pray that they can get him.

KGphoto 8 years, 4 months ago

You could be right but I have a little different view of it.

Not everybody wants to go to Cali. Ask our latest QB addition. Texas is probably the country’s richest recruiting state, but it’s not like Saban is having trouble in the SEC. Saban is in a recruiting heaven of his own, and there are many other reasons for him to stay.

-Those southern boys like to stay home and play in front of mama. Saban has about 6 rich recruiting states to syphon right in his backyard.

-From a Big 12 perspective, I could see you thinking that Texas is the grandaddy of college football, but in the last 35 years they have only one national championship. Alabama has six. Oklahoma, Nebraska and many other schools all have multiple NC’s in that span. Having the #1 recruiting class every year doesn’t equal NC’s.

-Why would Saban want to leave the country’s most stable conference for what is almost certainly going to be another round of re-alignment in the Big 12? He doesn’t strike me as a person who digs instability.

-He hates spread offenses, and that’s about all we do. On principle alone I don’t think he’d take the Texas job.

Just a few thoughts.

Kevin Millikan 8 years, 4 months ago

Anyone else click through those stupid questions as fast as they can?

Andy Hess 8 years, 4 months ago

i don't know about you guys, but whenever it asks me to type anything in order to get to the article, i tend to just type in random profanity. if i have to type something, they can take whatever I give them.

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

Or you could click for another question that doesn't involve typing an answer.

bigboypants 8 years, 4 months ago

I always click for another question just so I can give them random profanity. It takes a few more seconds, but its worth it!

Sf Boggsz 8 years, 4 months ago

<p> is your friend. I don't know why everyone complains when simply you can no script them out and other annoying ads.

chalkman 8 years, 4 months ago

The kid Stevens is a beast. I know a lot of people from jersey that have seen him play. Stay on this kid coaches. Def a D1 tight end too.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 4 months ago

He maybe just a two star player, but his game can get a boost by getting his teammate. Often times friends help push each other. This could turn out as a sweet deal. Lets see how it plays out. We said we wanted high school kids to develop, well here you go.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 4 months ago

I get what you're saying. My point is maybe they will push each other to be even better than what the stars have them at. I'm not advocating to do a 2 for 1 often, but with the right circumstance it can be win win if there's potential for both.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 4 months ago

If Alabama wins this year, it would be interesting if Saban left for a new challenge. of course if USC fires Kiffin, that maybe an option.

BringBackMark 8 years, 4 months ago

There are so many ridiculous posts on here that it makes one wonder if half of these folks have ever seen a football team develop. One guy/gal wants more juco's for immediate impact..... That's been successful. Instead of juco's let's try to find a bunch more of those senior transfers. That really works well.

There were several trashing comments about getting a 2* recruit. Hogwash! All that means is that Texas, or some of the other big name schools aren't recruiting the kid. If they'd sniff a little bit he'd be a 3 or 4 star overnight.

Snyder has built not one but two programs at K-State with this exact player. Recruiting them is just 1/2 of the process, now you have to develop them. That's where my faith in Weis begins to dwindle.

Good find. Get him in the weight room, red shirt him, and wait and see what he turns in to. These are the players (coachable high school seniors without baggage) that we need to turn this thing around. Not more Juco's or senior transfers. Get these kids in the program for 4 or 5 years and we'll at least be competitive.

actorman 8 years, 4 months ago

"Is their a component of the plan you would like to have explained again?"

You were clearly right when you stated that "their" is no evidence that you're a genius.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 4 months ago

We're stigmatized as s basketball school and we have very anemic in-state talent; in order for us to be competitive;we will have to go the JUCO route and I hope we do.

Works well for the guy in Manhattan.

KGphoto 8 years, 4 months ago

And the guy in Manhattan had it WAY worse in the recruiting dept., at least the first time around. They weren’t known as anything except the worst football program in history. He had NO tools to work with.

Being known as an elite basketball school is better than nothing. You get to entertain them with AFH instead of 4H.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 4 months ago

If it takes bringing in Juco players to become successfully so be it. You do what it takes to get the talent in here. It's not a big deal if that's what Weis is doing. He already said he wasn't going to continuously bring in big classes of Juco players, but in the short term getting this team to be more successful is the key. Besides, if you've noticed, our next class is heavy on high school players so far, but I'm sure a few Juco players will be sprinkled into areas of need for immediate improvement. Weis is sticking with what he said and this won't get fixed over night, but we are getting better.

chalkman 8 years, 4 months ago

The rivals ratings are a joke and mean very little. This kid and his friend the other D end will both have 15 more offers each before the process is over. He must have faith that the program will develop over the next few years.

Michael Maris 8 years, 4 months ago

It says that Rob Ianello is the lead recruiter for this kid. Well, I'm telling you, I sure like the way that David Beaty recruited players much better than Ianello's recruiting. But, in regards to 2 Star rated players. One of the top running backs in the NFL a few seasons ago (now) was a 2 star rated player. Who is that player? Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. He was a 2 star rated RB out of Florida and ended up at East Carolina. And, I'm pretty sure that Aquib Talib was a 2 star rated player in his High School days in Texas. Football players are unique individuals. Some guys are not nearly as athletically talented as the next guy. But, they have heart and continue to make plays. It takes a coaching staff with an eye for talent that best fits their program and to plug those players into the position to execute plays to their highest level.

Course, I have NO idea as to why T.G.'s staff thought that Toben Opurum was best suited to be a DE or LB. Complete waste of Opurum's ability to run over people. Makes me sad to see that Opurum's talent was wasted on the Defensive side of the ball. But, that's all water under the bridge (now). So, I'll wait and see what these 2 star rated players can do in their KU Football careers. But, I thought that KU might be able to gain more traction with at least 4 star rated players. So far, KU's only got 1 on the board. And if playing times is the selling point. My lord, I would think that a 4 star rated player would want to start playing right out of the gates (in their Freshman season). Just goes to show, even high school players still want to play for a WINNER!

Jim Jackson 8 years, 4 months ago

Love the 2 star NFL success stories; what % of 2 star guys make it the NFL .0001%? There is a correlation there and it is blatant.

I'm certain, we are all of the understanding that way more 4,5 star guys make it to the league.

Unfortunately, we can't get too many of those right now out of the HS ranks because of our porous record the past couple years (among other factors).

However, we can get them out of the JUCOs.

Rock Chalk!!

KGphoto 8 years, 4 months ago

There is a blurred line between each ranking number, up until the super-elites.

Is he a high 2 star? A low 3 star? High 3, low 4?

Maybe the 2 stars are a low percentage of NFL players, but 3 star players litter the NFL. Some of those guys had to fall in the blurred area between 2 and 3.

More importantly, we aren’t recruiting these guys for the NFL. We are recruiting college players, and I think the recruit rating services get caught up in their NFL potential a little too much. It might have been the case with a guy like Reesing.

Lot’s of our 2 star guys who carried us through the Orange Bowl season, never caught on in the NFL. But they were great players for us in college.

texashawk10 8 years, 4 months ago

And what about all the other 2 star guys that led KU to more 2 and 3 win seasons than anybody would care to remember?

chalkman 8 years, 4 months ago

I viewed the kids game video and the kid is real good and plays for a group 5 school in jersey. Will be a high ranked kid once season is over.

ForeverLoyal2KU 8 years, 4 months ago

A lot of people get too caught up in recruiting rankings. They can be a good guide and trigger some excitement, but before a player plays a play on a college field/court, it doesn't mean much. Look at KSU's recruits versus Texas'. Who has had more success? We always have higher rated recruiting classes than Iowa St and we can't beat them. Dayne Crist was the 25th rated player in the nation!!! Definitely proved that throughout his college career. Are North Dakota State's recruiting classes better than the division 1 schools they have knocked off the past few years? What about Northern Illinois who played in a BCS bowl last year? There are so many other factors that go into being successful and that play into how a player performs at the next level. When you think about it, out of ALL of the high school kids in America, isn't it kind of crazy to be able to make the statement that he's the number 25th (or 5th or 75th or 1st, etc.) best player in the nation? Comparing guys and rating guys is an inexact thing. Additionally, it doesn't take into account how the players will fit into a given system and culture. Aqib Talib was a two star, so was Todd Reesing. I'd take those players any day.

And it's not just football. Look at basketball. Did Josh Selby deserve that #1 ranking? I don't know, maybe he did, but it didn't work out too well once he got to KU. Xavier Henry was ranked high by rivals and #1 by ESPN if I remember correctly and while his performance was very solid and he had other very good players around him, there were other guys from that class that you could say were more productive and have gone on to better NBA careers. Tyshawn Taylor, the Morris twins, and Thomas Robinson weren't top 25 guys but had very good college careers and are playing in the league. What about guys like Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar who played HUGE ROLES by their senior year?

Rankings are great for interest and talking points, but nothing to get hung up on.

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