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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Big visit weekend leads to 3 more commitments for KU football

Kansas University football recruiting.

Kansas University football recruiting.

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The Kansas University football program appears to have put the finishing touches on its 2015 recruiting class.

KU coach David Beaty and the Jayhawks picked up three more oral commitments over the weekend, bringing the total to 24, which, because of the blue-shirt scholarship given to former wide receiver Nigel King who recently declared for the NFL draft, is the maximum number allowed in this year's class.

Offensive lineman Clyde McCauley, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound offensive tackle from Bowie High in Arlington, Texas, Tyrone Miller, a 6-foot, 178-pound safety from Saline (Michigan) High, and Denzel Feaster, a 6-3, 190-pound safety from Manor (Texas) High all announced their decisions on Twitter this weekend.

KU's newest trio of commitments was in town with eight other athletes this weekend for official visits.

"We talked a lot when we could," Miller told the Journal-World of his bond with the other guys on his visit, which included four players who already had committed to KU. "Mostly, we just talked football and about why we picked KU."

Miller summed up the answer to that question for each player in two words: "Coach Beaty," he said. "I like his vision of the future and I just can't see him as a losing coach."

Each pick-up addresses an area of need for the Jayhawks, who emphasized the secondary and offensive line during the final surge in recruiting this class.

All three of the weekend's pick-ups had previously been committed elsewhere, with Feaster having pledged to Miami (Ohio), McCauley to Fresno State and Miller to Central Michigan.

Feaster's recruitment came late in the plans, but the hard-hitting safety, who switched to defense from quarterback midway through his senior season, told Jon Kirby of Rivals.com that his bond with wide receivers coach Klint Kubiak made KU an easy pick.

"I'm happy I picked Kansas," Feaster told Kirby. "It feels like a great place. Coach Kubiak filled me in on everything when he was recruiting me. He hasn't recruited me that long but I feel like I've known him for five years."

A deeper bond helped land McCauley, the big, athletic offensive lineman who played in the Bowie High program when new KU defensive backs coach Kenny Perry was the head coach there.

In addition to Fresno State, McCauley, who was a first-team all-district left tackle last season, also had offers from Louisiana-Monroe and San Diego State.

The final piece of the puzzle came from a familiar place, as Michigan native and KU running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell helped pull Miller out of his home state.

Miller, who called himself "a physical, in-your-face cornerback," first opened some eyes at a camp last summer, when in-state programs Michigan and Michigan State began pursuing him. He lost touch with Michigan when the coaching staff was let go and Michigan State filled up their cornerback spots early.

That left the door open for KU to swoop in late, and Miller said he was very excited about the chance to play Big 12 football.

"All Coach Beaty said he needed was a couple of good classes to get things going again," Miller said. "I've already bought into what he wants to do and I'm looking forward to playing for Kansas and getting started."

None of KU's oral commitments are binding, so nothing will be official until the prospects send their signed letters of intent to the football offices on Wednesday. It sounds like most, if not all, of the athletes currently committed but unsigned are solid with their choices of Kansas and are planning to make things official bright and early Wednesday.

Here's a quick look at the 2015 recruiting class as it stands today:

OL D'Andre Banks – 6-3, 325, 3 stars – signed

DB Bazie Bates – 6-1, 195, 3 stars – signed

DT Jacky Dezir – 6-3, 305, 2 stars – signed

RB Ke'aun Kinner – 5-9, 185, 3 stars – signed

DB M.J. Mathis – 6-2, 205, 3 stars – signed

OL Jayson Rhodes – 6-4, 310, 2 stars – signed

OL Will Smith – 6-4, 315, 3 stars – signed

DB Brandon Stewart – 5-11, 175, 3 stars – signed

DE Dorance Armstrong – 6-4, 220, 3 stars – committed

DB Shola Ayinde – 6-0, 168, 2 stars – committed

WR Jeremiah Booker – 6-3, 187, 2 stars – committed

DB Denzel Feaster – 6-3, 190, 2 stars – committed

OL Aaron Garza – 6-2, 287, 3 stars – committed

WR Chase Harrell – 6-4, 200, 2 stars – committed

RB Taylor Martin – 5-9, 187, 2 stars – committed

OL Clyde McCauley – 6-5, 275, 2 stars – committed

DB Tyrone Miller – 6-0, 178, 2 stars – committed

WR Emmanuel Moore – 6-0, 190, 2 stars – committed

LB Osaze Ogbebor – 6-1, 195, 2 stars – committed

DB Shaquille Richmond – 6-0, 180, 3 stars – committed

WR Steven Sims – 5-10, 165, 2 stars – committed

QB Carter Stanley – 6-2, 188, 2 stars – committed

DE Jace Sternberger – 6-4, 225, 2 stars – committed

QB Ryan Willis – 6-4, 201, 3 stars – committed

  • All star ratings courtesy of Rivals.com

Comments

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 10 months ago

I had to look up what "Blue Shirt" was... (http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/story?id=10431213). So does that mean that Nigel belongs to this year's class? If we get the "24", then are we done for the year? I am assuming that we will have to get a kicker from the walk-on route?

Matt Tait 4 years, 10 months ago

Yeah. Once a guy blue-shirts, which essentially allows you to count him forward to the next class if your current class is already full, he counts toward that class' 25 whether he stays around or not.

So, with King declaring for the draft, he still counts, which drops this year's class from 25 guys to 24. Not a huge deal and worth the risk in some cases, but, since he's gone, KU would definitely love to have that scholarship back right about now…

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 10 months ago

Can we blue shirt someone this year too (and keep the saga going?).

Jonathan Briles 4 years, 10 months ago

A little bittersweet in my eyes. I really wanted Johnson and Philbert. Johnson because I wanted an in state kid and to keep him away from KSU and Philbert because he could have been a beast and helped us a lot next year and the year after. The bright side is that this offensive lineman is a high school kid and can develop nicely in our system for years to come and all two of them are from Texas and are just widening our pipeline to that area. Feaster won't contribute very soon, but he could be a hidden gem. Serious athlete who has no fear of laying into someone. He will need some time and coaching to get used to defense especially at the Big 12 level, but his upside is really nice. This class does not look good star wise, but the coaches seem really high on some of these kids and they know better than the scouting people. I guess we will see how good these coaches are at development. They already have a huge advantage over the last staff in that They will have more years to develop most of the players instead of relying so heavily on the JC route. Pretty excited to see the steps forward this year.

Jonathan Briles 4 years, 10 months ago

Hey Matt, I know you said a little while back that you were going to put together an article that talked about the walk ons Beaty was able to bring in. I've seen on the Jayhawkslant twitter that several have committed to us and a nice number of them have talent and could contribute sooner rather than later. Do you have any time table as to when that article will be up? No rush at all I'm just excited to see some names because I have heard good things, but don't know much about any of them.

Matt Tait 4 years, 10 months ago

It could be a little while. I don't want to put it together prematurely because often times kids who say they're walking on either wind up never coming or end up quitting during the spring or summer… I'm sure I can still throw something together, but I would like to talk to some of the coaches about those guys before I do…

Dale Rogers 4 years, 10 months ago

I also had to look up "Blue Shirt" but haven't quite figured out how any of the explanations fit King's situation. He's not a new recruit. It wasn't stated for sure but it appears this is some method that holds a scholarship for him should he change his mind about the NFL at this time.

Another question, is football like basketball that after a specified date the person who announced for the draft is no longer eligible to return to college ball? Or does it differ in football and he can come back so long as he doesn't practice/play for an NFL team or maybe doesn't get drafted?

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 10 months ago

Not sure but I think once they sign with an agent they can't return.

Matt Tait 4 years, 10 months ago

Correct. And King has done that, so he's not coming back. He never was anyway, but definitely can't now.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the info. In this case, then, what's the Blue Shirt if he cannot come back?

Mark Lindrud 4 years, 10 months ago

6'3 190. I can't help, but wonder if he gets redshirted to put on size and turned into and OLB down the road. I am glad this class is big on high school kids so that we can develop them, and I am glad we got another offensive lineman.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 10 months ago

Looks like we may be ranked around 60 as of today: https://rivals.yahoo.com/kansas/football/recruiting/teamrank/2015/all/all which by numbers only is worse than the last 3 years. KState is just 2 positions over us, and they always contend, so the position in this list is not important. We just need to make use of the available players better!

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

Jonathan - "They already have a huge advantage over the last staff in that They will have more years to develop most of the players instead of relying so heavily on the JC route."

The 8 JC's in this class as the same # as in the last class, and 1 off of Weis' first class. The 15 or whatever in the middle was completely a function of losing more than an entire class of upperclassmen (29?) during the coaching change, and more of an aberration than the norm (as Weis said so repeatedly if anyone was listening - or not).

What is different and encouraging is that they are all signed already and (hopefully) on campus, though there has been no actual report on their presence on the hill. Maybe Matt will give us something in the next few weeks as the coaches settle in and the team gets ready for spring ball.

It is also encouraging to hear of many of the coaches using existing relationships to bring recruits in. It leaves hope that even better results could be coming with a year to work on recruiting with continued enthusiasm and a few more W's.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

Rivals has Jaypee going to ISU, but no word on Jackson committing yet (or at ESPN).

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

From ESPN (http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/story?id=10431213)

A blueshirt is a player who arrived on campus as a "preferred" or "recruited" walk-on and goes on to earn a football scholarship. The NCAA doesn't allow for schools to produce written promises of scholarships to walk-ons, but that doesn't stop a school from telling a prospect who walks on that an offer is coming after a certain point.

"There are a couple of different ways you can award a blueshirt scholarship," one Big 12 coach said. "We'll have some cases of a player arriving for the start of fall practices, and we'll then immediately put them on scholarship after the end of fall camp, then count the scholarship forward - against the (next) class, for example - and announce them on the following signing day.

"The other way is if there's a player, and we know we'll have a scholarship coming open at a certain position. We tell them if you come as a freshman, pay your own way, a scholarship will come open at this point in time, and it's yours."

King appears to have fallen into the first category. Though I was thinking he was taking the stole Wrench left behind vs 1 for 2015 year.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 10 months ago

There was a recruiting article from last week where we had a really good discussion in rankings, 2 stars, 3 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars, etc.

I think rankings and especially stars beside someone's name in football is a little ridiculous considering there are So many different positions.

With that said...take a look at the rankings of the starters in the super bowl between Seattle and New England. There is definitely a niche out there that KU can carve. It's just up to finding the right coaches to exploit that talent.

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football-recruiting/2015/1/21/7861989/super-bowl-2015-patriots-seahawks-high-school-recruiting-ratings

Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 10 months ago

what happened to Mathis? i thought he signed early...and now, no commitment, and no commitment anywhere else? some strange stuff this recruiting season. :)

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