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Monday, April 18, 2016

Second Kansas Blast underway

Kansas head coach David Beaty gives some instruction to his players during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty gives some instruction to his players during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

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Monday marked the start of the second incarnation of a recruiting phenomenon known as the Kansas Blast for the Kansas University football program.

With spring football in the books and a long list of desired targets in the 2017 recruiting class warranting a little attention, several KU coaches hit the road on Monday with the goal of visiting as many high school football programs in Kansas as possible.

The David Beaty initiative resembles the same trailblazing effort the KU coaching staff went through a season ago. Even though the effort only produced one Kansan in the 2016 signing class — Free State High standout Bryce Torneden — Beaty talked then about the importance of landing in-state talent and appears to be making it a priority once again.

“We worked our tails off at it with a bunch of guys in state,” Beaty said last February. “You know what, didn’t work out. I’ll tell you this, we were in it with a lot of guys. I think we made guys take pause and think that probably normally wouldn’t have. That’s a step forward.”

The next step, which officially began Monday, is to land more Kansas players. However, Beaty made sure to caution both at the conclusion of last year’s Blast and throughout his time as the head coach at Kansas that, as much as they’d like to keep as many athletes home as possible, that is not the end-all-be-all goal.

“Listen, we’re trying to win the Big 12,” Beaty said. “You can’t do that with just signing guys that are from a certain place. You got to go sign Big 12 football players. We are working diligently to get that done here in our own state.”

Using the hashtag #KansasBlast, several KU assistant coaches Tweeted about their progress on Monday, with water towers around the state and photos of the schools they visited being the most popular subjects of their Tweets.

Despite the fact that last year’s Blast did more to lay the groundwork for the future than pay off immediately, Beaty was thrilled with the results and made it clear then that it would continued well into the future.

“One high school coach at a time,” Beaty said. “That only continues to build when you feed into it and you continue to make them true relationships. We’ll continue to do that. We just got to prove to (the Kansas athletes) that it’s worth staying at (home) because this is their university.”

Comments

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's go through some names shall we? AJ Davis- Blue Valley (Missouri) Xavier Kelly - Wichita East (Clemson) Isaiah Simmons - Olathe North (Clemson) Scott Frantz - Free State (K State) Amani Bledsoe - Lawrence (Oklahoma) Christian Gaylord - Baldwin (Nebraska) Isaiah Loudermilk - West Elk (Wisconsin) All three or four star rated football players from KS the last couple of years and KU landed none. This wouldn't be a bad, core group of players to have on your roster, with the variety of positions they play....and Kansas whiffed on every darn one of them.
We're already off to a bad start in state wise for next year (although the class of kids isn't near as strong as it has been). Until we start seeing the good KS players become Jayhawks, this program isn't going to get where we would like to be.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 7 months ago

Dyrk, I think that it will be hard for KU to succeed in Kansas for the next several years. If you are a player in Kansas, you hear about the foibles of KU football year-around. And you hear about Saint Snyder year-around.

However, if you are a kid in Texas or Louisiana, you are not nearly as close to the constant criticism that the program receives. You know that we haven't been good, but you are buffered from the constant stream of bad news and bad reviews.

Beaty is taking the right approach: laying a foundation. This is a step that cannot be skipped, even if it is not profitable right now. The payoff will come in a couple of years when the program has improved, and Beaty has developed a sound relationship with coaches, players and families in the state.

If you want to look at the bright side of recruiting in Kansas, look no further than the fact that K-State has also whiffed on most of the big-name recruits in Kansas the past several years. This tells me that kids are wary of the imminent retirement of Saint Snyder.

I agree with your primary point - that we need to do better in KS/KC. I've always felt that 5-7 top recruits from KS/KC-metro should be a part of every recruiting class. However, I don't think that we can expect the staff to turn the recruiting around in one or two years.

If you are looking for other good news on the recruiting front, you should note that we already have more 3-star commitments in the next class than we have had in several years. We also have commitments from 3 kids in the Texas top-100. And it's really early. This recruiting class is shaping up to be the turn-around class that Beaty was hired to produce.

Benny Armstrong 5 years, 7 months ago

Dyrk, I think you are foolish to believe that we were going to bring in players that have signed with schools that were either in last year's CFB Playoff (Clemson/OU) or that were in the upper half of their respective conferences (with the exception being MU). Those players were being recruited by the big names starting back in the Weis era so to think Beaty could come into their homes late in the game in year one on the job and get them to come to KU is a joke. Not saying we can't do it eventually, but as Brett noted and I've said previously, we have to lay the foundation and build those relationships with high school coaches so they trust our staff and want to call us up when they have a player they think we should recruit. We'll get there, but it'll be a few more years of hitting the road creating relationships until it starts to pay off. Have patience and trust the process. Beaty seems to be all in with building a program and not just chasing the short term.

Waylon Cook 5 years, 7 months ago

Dyrk is clueless. Kstate got one of those kids. One. Hell the big 12 got two total and 1 was close to ku bound. A first year coach didnt whiff on recruits in his first season. If you don't understand recruiting, then don't try and criticize beaty

Doug Wallace 5 years, 7 months ago

Nothing happens overnight! I do not care If you brought back from the dead Knute Rockne, or Bear Bryant, or hell even living Saban here they would have issues starting out!

If you want good players to come here you got to build something good here,That is what Beaty is trying to do.It will be from the ground up. If you want to compare a pro football team think of Dallas with Jimmy Johnson. He didnt start out at the top.

It will take some time but if we hang in there I think things will turn around!

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