Saturday, February 4, 2017
Prior to this weekend, the Kansas football team hadn’t picked up any commitments for its 2018 recruiting class. Over the course of a few hours Saturday, though, the list went from nonexistent to four deep and included the names of two of the top prospects the state of Louisiana has to offer.
On a day David Beaty and his coaching staff welcomed a long list of high school juniors to campus, the KU head coach got to open his Twitter app and alert followers of the program’s newest pledges with his signature “#NeatDeal” tweet four times over. On the final two signals, Beaty included another hashtag, “Louisianimal,” which seemed appropriate when Devonta Jason, rated the No. 6 junior receiver in the nation by Rivals, and Corione Harris, Rivals’ No. 8 cornerback in the class, announced they had committed with KU.
Jason and Harris — both rated four-star prospects from Louisiana — play at New Orleans’ Landry-Walker High, the same school that brought the Jayhawks talented safety Mike Lee.
According to what Jason told Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant, Lee’s freshman success made an impact on the recruits, long before they visited Lawrence.
“Watching him make the plays he did as a freshman and getting the playing time he did stood out to me a lot,” Jason told Jayhawk Slant.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 187 pounds, Jason is ranked the No. 35 overall prospect in the nation by Rivals. He also has offers from Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma and several other SEC and Big 12 programs. According to Kirby, Jason is the highest-rated receiver ever to commit to Kansas.
Harris, a 6-1, 170-pound corner ranked as the No. 60 overall prep junior in the country, also has offers from Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A & M and others.
Their commitments came a few hours after another Louisiana prospect, running back Anthony Williams, got the day rolling by becoming the first official member of KU’s 2018 recruiting class.
Not long after that, the commitments began to pile up, with Texas quarterback Clayton Tune joining in.
A three-star prospect from Hahnville High, in Boutte, Louisiana, Williams reportedly has a 40-yard dash time in the sub-4.3 seconds range. Williams also has offers from TCU, UCLA, Mississippi State and others.
Currently unrated by Rivals, Tune, a 6-2, 195-pound QB from Hebron High, in Carrollton, Texas, reportedly has drawn interest from Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A & M and others.
“Excited to announce my commitment to play football for the University of Kansas,” Tune tweeted out, along with a photo of him standing with Beaty and KU quarterbacks coach Garrett Riley. “Thanks to those who have supported me along the way.”
The commitments from heralded Louisiana prospects served as a reminder of the impact Kansas running backs coach Tony Hull, a New Orleans native, is making on Beaty’s staff.
At Jayhawk Slant, Harris told Kirby: “I have known Coach Hull since he coached at Warren Easton. He knew me back when I was playing little league football. He is an awesome man. He has a great personality and always wants what is the best for the kids. That has always stuck out to me and he treats me like he is a father.”
Both Jason and Harris posted photos on Twitter Saturday of them decked out in KU gear, with Hull at their side, to announce their decisions.
Lee, quarterback Tyriek Starks, offensive lineman Malik Clark and receiver Daylon Charlot (an Alabama transfer) all hail from The Pelican State, too. The Jayhawks signed receiver Takulve Williams, of New Orleans, and picked up a commitment from athlete Travis Jordan (KU hasn’t officially confirmed his signing yet), of Marrero, Louisiana, in their 2017 class.
While verbal commitments aren’t binding and won’t become official until National Signing Day, nearly a year from now, the decisions from Harris, Jason and Williams prove more big-time recruits are willing to consider KU, despite the program’s struggles over the past several seasons. In Beaty’s two years, the Jayhawks are just 2-22.
“We turning Kansas into Louisiana,” Jayhawks receiver Charlot tweeted out Saturday night, in wake of all the recruiting buzz.