Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Matt Tait: MacVittie commitment KU football’s first step to continuity at the QB position

The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is pictured on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is pictured on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.


All right, all right, all right. I know what you’re thinking. And I’m here to tell you to stop.

Look, I don’t blame you if you roll your eyes and quietly think to yourself, "Here we go again," every time Kansas lands a commitment from a transfer quarterback.

Hey, you might be right.

But before you worry too much about how many touchdowns he’ll throw, what his completion percentage will be or what he will look like when the offensive line breaks down and sends him running for his life, just know that KU’s move to land Mesa (Ariz.) Community College quarterback Thomas MacVittie had to happen.

What MacVittie does from this point — if anything — will go a long way toward determining how he is remembered as an individual player. But whether he goes boom or bust with the Jayhawks, the team figures to benefit from this commitment.

The next Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps or Peyton Bender?


After all, those three quarterbacks started their careers at big-time college programs, only to see their paths lead them to Kansas, where they spent the latter years of their eligibility trying to avoid getting benched.

The next Bill Whittemore or Jason Swanson?


After all, MacVittie’s numbers at Mesa were decent and, like those two, who helped spark KU’s turnaround under Mark Mangino, MacVittie has an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with a new coaching staff, which can do wonders for a player’s confidence and team camaraderie.

Remember, from this day forward, MacVittie will go down as the first quarterback on the Kansas roster that new KU coach Les Miles sought out and signed.

And then, there’s the possibility that MacVittie will be some kind of combination of the Crist/Heaps/Bender crowd and the Whittemore/Swanson group.

Now, there’s a thought.

At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, MacVittie has the kind of frame coaches look for in a quarterback. So if that physical gift is paired with, say, Whittemore’s penchant for grit and grind, the Jayhawks might be on to something.

Even if they’re not, MacVittie — or someone like him — had to join Miles’ program because Miles and his coaching staff — which keeps coming together by the day, by the way — absolutely need to host a real competition at the quarterback position this offseason.

And there needs to be a clear winner of that battle, preferably sooner rather than later. More on that when the leaves start turning green again.

Even though KU quarterbacks Carter Stanley and Miles Kendrick have been around the program, they don’t really have any kind of head start in winning the job. New coach. New offense. New coordinator. New standards.

With his Tuesday commitment and expected signing later this month, MacVittie will be placing himself right into the thick of the competition with those two, and maybe one or two more.

Had he waited until February to sign — or, more to the point, had KU waited until February to add him — MacVittie might have been behind when he first stepped foot on KU’s campus.

But now the former Pitt QB will be able to jump right in on KU’s winter conditioning and can start building a rapport with new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and his Jayhawk teammates today, more than eight full months before the Jayhawks ever play a game under Miles’ direction.

That’s a good thing for the program and should be viewed as a good thing for all three quarterbacks involved.

Stanley has shown flashes during his first four years in Lawrence and has earned a chance.

Kendrick came with an intriguing set of skills and the promise of providing a different look, and lost his first opportunity to injuries. Both guys will battle. MacVittie will, too.

And, at this point, I doubt KU fans care much about which player wins the job, just so long as one of them does and the coaching staff commits to him.

That’s how you build chemistry — through continuity. And that’s something that has been missing with KU’s quarterback position for years.


Doug Longstaff 1 year, 5 months ago

There's nothing not to like about this commitment. It's a position of need and creates more competition, and you can see from his videos that the ability is there. But it's also not the kind of commitment that should scare away any talented prep quarterback away from jumping on board. KU has always been a long shot for some of the blue chip QB names that have come up lately, but they are no more so today than yesterday. What 4-star kid doesn't think he can beat out a retread (albeit a talented one)? I highly doubt MacVittie is any kind of consideration when they are making their picks.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

Please please please let this guy break the Juco/Transfer QB trend here.

Bill Capps 1 year, 5 months ago

I think the biggest thing Crist, Bender and Heaps had in common was their lack of mobility, that doesn't seem to be the case with this kid. Cautiously optimistic.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 5 months ago

I think the biggest thing they had in common was a crappy head coach! Whittemore and Swanson did not!

Dane Pratt 1 year, 5 months ago

Given how late in the recruiting game I’m glad to get anyone but our QB strategy is starting to look like the Chiefs (was) which is to get the QB the 49ers no longer want.

For 2019 I’m not that concerned about the quarterback position. If the other pieces of the puzzle are in place I think we can be competitive with Carter Stanley. Let the competition for the starting position begin.

Mike Hart 1 year, 5 months ago

Keep in mind.. if it doesn't pan out at QB.. he has good speed.. and he was a 3 year WR in high school. He was a QB just his senior year. Maybe Legendre can still factor in.. .and if MacVittie comes in as QB... and ends up as a big WR target... there are worse things that can happen. Kerry Meier ring a bell?

Brent Shipley 1 year, 5 months ago

Good point. I did not know about his past as a WR. I would still like to see Legendre but then again who knows what we will run as an offensive style.

Phil Leister 1 year, 5 months ago

KU will likely land a big name or two in recruiting, but those will be few and far between. Miles is going to have to turn the program around by landing unheralded recruits and turning them into positive players for the program. So maybe MacVittie is one of them.

Steve Corder 1 year, 5 months ago

Since when does a man like Les Miles "have to turn the program around" by taking low hanging fruit? Come-on, give the man his due; who proclaimed MacVittie as unheralded? "Heralded" is the same to me as "potential" or "can't miss", as I dislike the use of both. I've seen too many never reach a candle flame before flaming out on the field of competition.

Fans have been so used to low expectations that not even Les Miles can provide a lift from incessant negativity.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 5 months ago

Doug - The one thing to not like about this commitment is that it's one more JC. With 10 apparently already blueshirted that doesn't leave much room for HS players.

With it being a late start on the first recruiting class and the most important position on the field it's not completely unreasonable but it definitely is not without question either.

Sam Meyer 1 year, 5 months ago

Dirk, I'm ok with a juco QB so long as the other 14 recruits are high school seniors. Possibly even an addition HS Senior QB. QB is the only position I'd feel comfortable accepting 1 incoming Juco.

Doug Longstaff 1 year, 5 months ago

I understand, Dirk. But KU is still lopsided, class-wise. As the roster stands, there are going to be 28 scholarship seniors next year, and only 14 juniors, and only 11 sophomores. I feel like we're going to need to take a few JUCOs the next few years just to get more players with some age on them. We're projecting right now, if no one leaves, to have 65 scholarship players on the 2020 team with 40 of those as true freshmen and sophomores. 25 upperclassmen is not enough to play with.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 5 months ago

An argument could be made to go more heavily with JC players, as you've outlined, until we can create some attrition and get our available scholarships up. This year especially, since the two top new recruiters on staff aren't going to have much time to create impact. It might be wise to go heavy JC this year, give the new staff some time to get settled, create some attrition and then start balancing the classes a bit more going forward.

The truly great news to me is this: Long brought in the football AD to help manage the process, he brought in a proven pro to ID talent and coach them up, and our staff is already looking like a completely next-level assortment as compared to the past. I have 100% confidence that this staff is going to manage this process as well as it can be managed.

Brian Hosfelt 1 year, 5 months ago

its not about the juco players they have us in trouble, its the damn blueshirts that Beaty did....if you signed 8 juco players every year you still would have a graduating class of 25 each season, that's if everyone stayed that was signed

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