Newly hired David Beaty and his mostly new coaching staff, which hasn’t yet been announced, enter an exciting time, and they’ll need every ounce of adrenaline to recover so much lost time in recruiting.
Good news already has come in. Michael Mathis, the 6-foot-2 juco defensive back who covers like a shut-down cornerback, tackles like a middle linebacker and was recruited by Dave Campo, reportedly remains solid. Bishop Miege quarterback Ryan Willis appears solidly committed as well.
More potential good news, even if it’s of the long-shot variety: Some Nebraska commitments re-opened their recruitments after the firing of Bo Pelini.
Elsewhere, UAB dropped its football program last week. Nothing indicates that Kansas has joined the long line of schools knocking on the door of junior-to-be Jordan Howard, a 6-2, 228-pound running back who rushed for 1,587 yards and 13 touchdowns, but why not give it a shot? Wisconsin, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Louisville and Boise State reportedly want him.
Here’s guessing Beaty will be able to recruit a quality staff filled with energetic recruiters who know how to make players better. Why? Because he’s not a jerk. Unlike many head coaches, he won’t make a really tough life that much tougher for assistants just for the joy of it. The next challenge regarding the staff will be developing it, setting the right tone so that assistants work tirelessly, efficiently and with 100 percent follow-through, knowing there will be consequences if they don’t. That’s new territory at the college level for Beaty. He last headed a staff at MacArthur High in Irving, Texas (2002-05). Beaty went 33-11 in four seasons at MacArthur, which went 22-20 in its next four years.
Regardless of how much ground the new staff can make up recruiting the next couple of months, 2015 has a shot at shaping up as KU’s least-talented roster since Glen Mason took over in advance of a 1-10 1988 season. Look for a shift from Charlie Weis’ juco-heavy approach to high school-leaning recruiting classes. Rare is the true freshman ready to compete in the Big 12.
Next season’s roster looks shy on depth at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker, punting and kicking. In short, everywhere, except for tight end. Beaty knows what he inherited, and Sheahon Zenger signed him to run a marathon, not a sprint. In the case of KU football, it’s going to require running a marathon at the pace of a sprint.