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Friday, June 10, 2016

KU lands 4-star CB from New Orleans

Kansas University football recruiting

Kansas University football recruiting

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Tyriek Starks, Travis Jordan and now Mike Lee.

If these are a few of the names KU fans talk about that are responsible for the Jayhawks turnaround a few years from now, first-year running backs coach Tony Hull will be the man to thank.

Since joining the KU staff a few months ago, Hull has been on fire on the recruiting trail, landing some talented and overlooked athletes from his native New Orleans in the Class of 2017.

Late Thursday night, Hull landed his biggest prospect to date when four-star cornerback Mike Lee, of Landry-Walker High in New Orleans, orally committed to Kansas.

The 5-foot-10, 162-pound Lee, who also had offers from Arizona State, Cal, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M; and Texas Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin, visited KU in early April and immediately felt comfortable with the facilities, the coaching staff, the players and the environment.

Above all, though, he felt comfortable with Hull.

“It was very important to know there is someone who comes from New Orleans because it is tough,” Lee told Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com. “Some coaches end their careers as high school coaches here in New Orleans, but not coach Hull. He is a great high school coach and will be a great college coach. He is like a father. We stay in communication every day.”

In addition to his four-star pedigree, Lee recently earned MVP honors at the Rivals.com camp in New Orleans. Rated as the top athlete in New Orleans, Lee said the KU coaches like him for his physical style and play-making skills.

He becomes the seventh commitment in the Class of 2017 to pledge his services to the Jayhawks and credited the bond he built with Hull, Kenny Perry and second-year head coach David Beaty for his desire to pull the trigger and pick Kansas.

“(Coach Beaty) was real and he told me right away how he felt about me,” Lee told Kirby. “When I looked into his eyes I could tell there was a lot of trust. I know if I go to Kansas he will have my back.”

Landing four-star prospects is a rare feat at Kansas. The most recent four-star prospect to commit to KU was Class of 2014 Gardner-Edgerton High running back Traevohn Wrench, who never wound up playing a down with the Jayhawks.

KU also landed a pair of transfers who were former four-star prospects in the 2013 class — Chris Martin and Marquel Combs — but neither player stuck with the program either.

Class of 2011 running backs Tony Pierson and Darrian Miller were the last four-star pick-ups to make an impact at KU, but even Miller left the program before his career was finished.

Including Martin and Combs, Kansas has signed just 14 four-star prospects since 2007.

Recent 4-star prospects to sign with Kansas

2014 – RB Traevohn Wrench

2013 – DE Chris Martin, DL Marquel Combs

2011 – RB Darrian Miller, RB Tony Pierson

2010 – RB Brandon Bourbon, DB Keeston Terry

2009 – WR Bradely McDougald, DE Quintin Woods, RB Toben Opurum, DB Prinz Kande

2008 – RB Jocques Crawford, OL Nathan D’Cunha

2007 – DB Ryan Murphy

Comments

Benny Armstrong 3 years, 6 months ago

And now the hard part begins... holding onto this commitment until signing day.

I believe that Beaty and Co are going after the right guys for the program that want to be Jayhawks and will give it their all, but it gets hard when the school you've picked is struggling to win games and there's a host of other programs interested in you that are winning and going to bowls or the playoffs. Unlike the two recent de-commits though, I think we'll see Mike sign with us because he was getting recruited by those programs before us and wasn't someone we picked up early that suddenly shot onto the radar after a good camp showing, and the relationship he's build with Hull/KP/Beaty seems to be really genuine. Hopefully I'm right, and this pipeline from LA will continue to grow and ultimately allow us to prosper again as a program. RCJH

Brett McCabe 3 years, 6 months ago

My take as well, I think that it's a bonus that he had already been offered by those schools.

Can't echo enough the value that Hull has brought in a short time.

David Robinett 3 years, 6 months ago

Loving it!

Hopefully it can become fashionable for Louisiana prospects to head to Kansas.

Nick Adams 3 years, 6 months ago

I can't get excited about a football recruit until the LOI is signed. Unfortunately, commitments mean absolutely nothing. Wake me on signing day.

Benny Armstrong 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't disagree with the sentiment. Giving a verbal to a school isn't binding or a guarantee they'll come here as we've already witnessed, but I don't see them as totally meaningless either. These kids are impressed by the facilities, coaching staff, and team to the point that they are willing to pledge their services now. In the case of Mike Lee, he has offers from some great schools and could probably contribute to their success. Getting him to look at us at all was a big step in light of the results the last several years, and committing means he sees something here that he wants to be a part of, both great signs for the program.

As I said, keeping them after they commit is the hard part, but being on the radar and getting this kind of attention can only help us as we build the program back up.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

As the article indicates, you might even want to hold on the excitement until after they've played a while. 21%? Yikes.

That being said, while a commitment doesn't seem to be any sort of guarantee these days, it is far from meaning nothing. Good players want to play with other good players, because they want to win and they all know it's not a one man game. Good recruits recruit good recruits.

It means something, just not as much as when they sign, as when they arrive, as when they get on the field, as when they contribute, as ...

Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow, if that list doesn't put the sorry state of KU football in perspective, nothing will. McDougald, Opurum and Miller are the only ones that contributed at all; and two of them switched positions. None had a major impact: no All Americans, 1st team all league, no KU records. No quick fixes, we need to develop o line and front 7 on D; and get QBs that can master the air raid....and we go from there. All that being said, welcome Mr Lee! :)

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 6 months ago

Opurum switching positions marked the first time I though Turner Gill was a fool.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 6 months ago

So Tony Pierson didn't have an impact at KU?

McDougald was always projected out as a safety. The only reason he came to KU over Ohio St. was because KU let him play WR for the early part of his career before moving to safety.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

Obviously, you missed Tony, but Miller is even a miss in my book. 600 (?) yds his freshman year is nice, but you don't recruit 4*'s for their freshman production. Did he even make it on the field after that?

Matt Tait 3 years, 5 months ago

Pierson was in the list and I added him back in to the story but something happened while saving it initially. My bad. It's in there now.

As for Miller, he had two stints at KU and was pretty decent both times and, arguably, very good his freshman year.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 years, 6 months ago

This is great news. Well done Coach Hull. Welcome Mr. Lee!

Keep the good news coming in for KUFB! Hopefully Mike Lee will emerge as the next Aqib Talib or Chris Harris as an elite Kansas cornerback.

Michael Maris 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't sell JaCorey Shepherd short. I think better NFL days are ahead for him as well.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

Definitely rooting for JaCorey, and he may be elite - someday, but he has to (heal and) get on the field before anyone will even think about him as elite.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 6 months ago

I never count a recruit til their fax comes in on signing day. These are just kids noting what happened in just the last couple of weeks with decomitts. Hopefully this recruit stays with his pledge.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 6 months ago

Extremely articulate and cogent analysis, Benny. Hope to see more of your posts regardless of the sport.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 6 months ago

Different between this kid and the OL decomitts is that he has tons of offers and is being recruited by Power 5 schools the others weren't well kniw and Kansas first to offer once more attention came their way they decommitted.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 6 months ago

I lean towards the camp of KU having a much better chance to hang onto Lee than with the two OLinemen that recently decommitted because this isn't a case of KU getting in on a kid early and working his way up recruiting rankings. Lee has already been established as one of the top corners in 2017 and already has a lot of major offers. The only school at this point I would be overly concerned about stealing Lee away would be LSU. Should LSU offer, who knows what could happen at that point, but for now I feel pretty good about KU's chances of keeping Lee committed.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 6 months ago

Even more important than Mike already having offers is for the coaches to find some more quality teammates to join the class alongside him - even just as commits for now.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 5 months ago

Lee and Mayberry have the skill level of Talib and Harris. The next 4 years will tell us if they have the work ethic.

A testimony to this staff's ability to not only do the work necessary to find these kids but be able to sell them the plan for our program.

Steve Corder 3 years, 5 months ago

Will there be any sort of a "trickle down" effect from the Baylor de-commits in the class of 2017?

Chris Bailey 3 years, 5 months ago

Where is Wrench? I don't see anything about him. He committed to BCC and that's the last I heard of him. Anyone know???

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