Monday, April 22, 2019

KU football coaches opened recruiting period in K.C. and Kansas

Kansas head coach Les Miles greets new signee Jayden Russell who was in attendance for football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility.

Kansas head coach Les Miles greets new signee Jayden Russell who was in attendance for football practice on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 within the new indoor practice facility.


On the job at the University of Kansas for a little more than five months, head football coach Les Miles repeatedly has made clear his plan to win over as many local prospects as possible while rebuilding the program.

Miles’ first recruiting class included three signees from the Sunflower State. Though the 2020 class is in its early stages, three out of the five prospects who have already committed to KU reside in what Miles has referred to as “the Kansas footprint.”

The Jayhawks have nonbinding verbal pledges from Topeka quarterback DaVonshai Harden Jr., Shawnee Mission South tight end Will Huggins and Lee’s Summit, Mo., hight end Trevor Kardell.

As soon as KU’s spring practices wrapped up this past week, Miles’ assistants headed out to see what they could do about adding to that list, while also building relationships that could help them in future recruiting endeavors.

The morning after KU’s final spring practice, the staff embarked on what was branded as “Operation Capture KC,” to open the current evaluation period. Full-time assistants spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week visiting high schools in and around the Kansas City, Mo., metro area, as well as other parts of Kansas.

None by Kansas Football

From there, coaches travelled Thursday to Wichita, Oklahoma and Nebraska, before returning to Lawrence for the holiday weekend.

On the eve of their latest recruiting push, Miles reiterated during his spring football wrap-up press conference how important it is for KU football to establish recruiting success in the K.C. area in particular.

“We’re going right to the home fires. We’ll be in Kansas City and in the footprint of the university,” Miles said on April 15. “So we’ll be recruiting, the entire staff, in our state or in our footprint.”

The top-rated prospect in the state of Kansas, Free State High offensive tackle Turner Corcoran committed to Nebraska on April 13, while visiting the Cornhuskers.

On that same day, more than 20 high school prospects from the Sunflower State — though less heralded than Corcoran, a four-star talent — were at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for KU’s spring game.

Asked during an interview session a few days after that mega offseason event for the program whether all local football prospects, especially those from the K.C. area, should look at Kansas football as an option, Lawrence native Bryce Torneden, a senior safety from Free State, gave his recruiting pitch.

“Obviously I’ve loved every bit of my time here,” Torneden began. “I’ve got one season left, but I feel like I just got here. Obviously I call this place home. My family’s here. Especially being form Kansas City, you’re away from home, you still get that distance, you still get to grow into the man you want to be. But you still have that home cooked meal whenever you need to. I think that’s definitely a major draw to come here.”


Michael Maris 2 years, 7 months ago

I love Torneden comment. To bad Corcoran couldn't envision himself as a trend setter, instead of typical follower. Hopefully, one day the elite hometown kids will stop leaving Lawrence and stay home to play for their hometown University (like the Bowen brothers did). Been to many Lawrence kids (in the last 10 years) who've left for other Big XII Schools.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

The E-network has another player higher rated than Turner.

Daniel Jackson is a WR out of Bishop Meige and 13 places above Turner.

It stinks to lose a hometown kid, but there are lots of quality players in the area. We just need to keep more of them home.

Benton - Any idea who they were meeting with? Coaches obviously can't say, but thought you might have other sources.

Michael Maris 2 years, 7 months ago

I was looking at Corcoran as an elite OL player staying home. Then, Hayden Paul (@ Emporia) chose Iowa State. Two in State OL player's who are considered pretty highly rated players (via the star rating system) who both leave the State of Kansas. I know that Daniel Jackson is a highly rated WR. And, I want hm to choose Kansas as well.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 7 months ago

Corcoran would have been a huge get, and I think it would have created a snowball effect.

While some of these guys have committed out-of-state, I'm hopeful that Les and Staff might be able to turn one or two back, given some time.

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 7 months ago

I wasn't recruited to play football but I left Omaha to be somewhere that wasn't "home" so I can't fault a kid that wants that to be part of his college experience!

Jim Stauffer 2 years, 7 months ago

It may take a year or two of an organized, well coached team to call attention to KU instead of other programs these kids have seen all their lives operate successfully. We need to win some games and get the fans to fill our stadium again and all will be fine.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

I've seen the rebuilds twice, and both times there was some dismay when the team starts winning and the seats aren't instantly filled. It would be good to keep in mind that getting that many people moving in the same direction takes some time. There's usually at least a year or 2 lag in attendance relative to the infield turn around.

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