Advertisement

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Friends Bates, Banks among KU signees

Former Trinitiy Valley Community College offensive lineman and new Jayhawk D'Andre Banks, right, took time during his recent campus visit to pose for a photograph with new Kansas University football coach David Beaty. Banks was one of eight junior-college players to sign letters of intent with the Jayhawks on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, the first day of the mid-year transfer signing period.

Former Trinitiy Valley Community College offensive lineman and new Jayhawk D'Andre Banks, right, took time during his recent campus visit to pose for a photograph with new Kansas University football coach David Beaty. Banks was one of eight junior-college players to sign letters of intent with the Jayhawks on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, the first day of the mid-year transfer signing period.

Advertisement

Even though Trinity Valley Community College teammates Bazie Bates IV and D’Andre Banks committed to the Kansas University football program six months apart, the two friends and teammates spent plenty of time talking about the Jayhawks during the wait.

Bates, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back who signed his national letter of intent with Kansas on Wednesday, was the first to commit. He visited KU last summer and saw all he needed to see to pledge his services to the program.

“There are so many great people in the KU program and in Lawrence itself,” Bates said. “And I feel like going there will help me become a better person overall.”

At the time, Banks, a 6-3, 320-pound offensive lineman, had committed to Louisiana-Lafayette but was thrilled for his friend and held out hope that he, too, eventually would get an offer from a program in a big-time conference. KU’s coaching search delayed things a bit, but shortly after David Beaty was named the Jayhawks’ new coach, Beaty made a trip down to Trinity Valley to visit Bates. It was on that visit that he learned about Banks.

“I think people kind of slept on him,” Bates said of Banks. “When coach Beaty came down, he was talking about how they needed offensive linemen and I told him about D’Andre and he watched his tape and liked what he saw and talked to him after our visit.”

Things moved quickly from there, as Banks set up an official visit for last weekend and committed just hours after the visit ended.

“He was giving me updates all weekend,” Bates joked. “I gave him the gist of what to look for, and when he went up there he saw it all and loved it.”

Although he loved the facilities, enjoyed the players and coaches he met and was more impressed by Lawrence than he expected to be, Banks said one aspect of what KU had to offer made it a no-brainer decision.

“I feel like I can play at any level,” he said. “But it was a relief. You work so hard for a Big 12 or SEC offer and when you finally get it, it’s like, ‘Wow, all the hard work’s paid off.’”

Like Bates, Banks signed his letter of intent Wednesday on mid-year transfer signing day, making their commitments to Kansas official. Both guys signed early in the morning and spent the rest of the day celebrating.

Although they won’t report to campus for another four weeks, both said the chance to put this part of the process behind them eased their minds and had them counting down the days already. The two plan to room together during their time at KU and also hope to make an impact right away.

“Any time you can go somewhere with some teammates and some friends that you already know, it’s always a big plus,” Banks said. “I’m just ready to get to KU and start the grind.”

Added Bates: “It just feels like a big weight off my shoulders and I can take a deep breath and just relax because I know where I’m going now.”

Late Wednesday night, news broke on JayhawkSlant.com that another Trinity Valley player had planned to join Banks and Bates with the Jayhawks next season. Brandon Stewart, a 5-11, 175-pound cornerback who appeared to be headed to California, switched his commitment to Kansas. KU got in on Stewart late, but his fast bond with Beaty and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen played a big role in Kansas landing him. So, too, did another relationship from Beaty’s past. Stewart’s Cedar Hill (Texas) High coach, Joey McGuire, and Beaty are close friends.

“I just made my decision today and I told coach Beaty I wanted to go to KU,” Stewart told JayhawkSlant. “Coach Beaty was excited when I told him. Coach Bowen was fired up and happy for me. We were joking about who is happier and I think he was.”

Stewart recorded 52 tackles and snagged three interceptions last season and also had offers from East Carolina and Louisville.

“We are really pleased with all of the guys we’re able to have join our program today,” Beaty said in a news release Wednesday night. “I said when I came here that we want to build our program on high school players, and that is certainly the long-term vision. With these eight players signed today, we have addressed some of our immediate needs. Having the opportunity to get these guys on campus in January is crucial for our team moving forward.”

Five other future Jayhawks got the chance to feel the same way on Wednesday after they signed their letters of intent, and all seven guys are expected to arrive on campus in January and be ready for spring football. Joining Banks and Bates in signing on the dotted line Wednesday were:

— Jacky Dezir, a 6-3, 305-pound, two-star defensive lineman from College of DuPage, who committed to KU in early June and drew interest from Illinois, Minnesota and Northern Illinois.

— Ke’aun Kinner, a 5-10, 185-pound, three-star running back from Navarro Junior College, who committed to KU earlier this week and was named a first-team Juco All-American on Tuesday.

— M.J. Mathis, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound, three-star cornerback with a good mix of physical presence and legit speed, who picked KU over Kentucky.

— Jayson Rhodes, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive guard from Blinn College who had offers from Grambling State, Hampton, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Southern Miss and UT-San Antonio.

— Will Smith, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound, three-star offensive guard from Butler Community College, who committed to KU in early June and drew interest from North Texas and Iowa.

Comments

Bryce Landon 4 years, 10 months ago

On a side note, remember when Bo Pelini was fired from Nebraska, and some of us (myself among them) wanted to see him hired here? After this, I'm glad we passed him by.

http://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/football/pelini-s-final-meeting-with-players-included-profane-shots-at/article_97320c71-c7ed-517e-be01-81f0f47fa93f.html

Greg Ledom 4 years, 10 months ago

For the record, I was not one of them. Once an ass, always an ass.

Raymond Wright 4 years, 10 months ago

up here in nub, i don't think any of the skers are surprised by the article. most of them feel the same way about their ad

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 10 months ago

I haven't read any Nebraska fans disagreeing with Pelini's comments even if they think he's an a-hole.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

Getting another CB is great, and Brandon's Hudl highlights are encouraging. We really need to reload back there.

8 is a lot of JC's, tho it is good for Beaty to reiterate the commitment to growing HS players.

Glen Miller 4 years, 10 months ago

Normally I would say that this is too many JUCO players.... but we are losing a ton of our better players this year and next. These type of JUCO guys that can come in and get a half a year head start in a situation where we need players that can play is huge. I expect for our JUCO number to decrease a bit as the years go by as Beaty gets players in here and is able to look a little further down the road. But I do not have a problem with this as these guys are probably a bit more prepared to come in and contribute than a high school player.

Ron Franklin 4 years, 10 months ago

“I feel like I can play at any level,” he said. “But it was a relief. You work so hard for a Big 12 or SEC offer and when you finally get it, it’s like, ‘Wow, all the hard work’s paid off.’”

Nope. Hard work has simply opened the door to opportunity where even harder work awaits you.

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 10 months ago

I like the approach Beaty has taken so far. If you are a JC you have to be a mid term signee or we pass.

Most of these guys will either be ready by Fall practice or we can redshirt them. This will go a long way toward fixing our numbers crunch due to a large Sr class. Next year we can load up on HS players because these guys will allow us time to get them ready for RS Frosh or Soph years to contribute.

Lance Cheney 4 years, 10 months ago

"M.J. Mathis, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound, three-star cornerback with a good mix of physical presence and legit speed, who picked KU over Kentucky."

Finally, we stole a recruit from Kentucky!!!

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

Right sport, or were you expecting a cornerback to play the outfield for the baseball team?

It's also worth noting that we have taken players from UK in other sports as well, such as Wiggins last year in BB.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 10 months ago

The off-handed joke was that we stole a recruit from KY... because they seem to corner all the 5*s in Basketball. Sorry if that bothered you.

Michael Sillman 4 years, 10 months ago

It does sound like the new CB, Brandon Stewart, is a mid year transfer.

Terry N Tom Denner 4 years, 10 months ago

Its exciting to see Coach Beaty stepping up and recruiting some offensive and defensive players to help fill the void of this years departure. But this is not why I am on to post about. What I have been reading about the Stupid Big 12 Commish and his Stupid idea of staying with 10 teams instead of expanding to 12 or maybe 14 teams. He is asking the NCAA for a wavier to allow the Big 12 to make the playoffs with a 10 team conference. NOT going to happen BOWLSBY !!! This MORON will be the DEATH of the BIG 12. One more year of getting snubbed will destroy the conference. You can bet your sweet ass that TEXAS is behind this 10 team Bull CRAP !!! Wish the hell they left with Missouri & Tex A&M.

Jordan Brown 4 years, 10 months ago

Are there any rumors at all on assistant coaches? This kind of stuff keeps KU football relevant and makes me look forward to daily articles!

John Randall 4 years, 10 months ago

Logistical answer: Yes. Obviously, some coords carry more clout than others. HC's responsibility #1 is providing a staff that helps move program forward.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.