With less than a week to go until college football’s National Signing Day, the hours between now and Wednesday figure to be critical for the Kansas football program, as new head coach Les Miles and his staff complete their first recruiting class.
Miles, with a little help from momentary offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey (before he became the head coach at Troy), already filled most of the available spots in what is expected to be a relatively small 2019 haul for the ever-rebuilding program.
Eleven prospects signed with KU during December’s early signing period.
Although Miles hasn’t spoken with local reporters since the day he was introduced as head coach, he told the Journal-World then that he anticipated signing around 15 players.
Some of KU’s most significant recruiting targets are expected to visit Lawrence this weekend, according to Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant.
Here are some important names to watch during KU’s final recruiting weekend before signing day:
• Velton Gardner, 3-star, 5-foot-9 athlete from Dallas Skyline High: Currently committed to Texas Tech, where he was recruited this past fall by then-outside receivers coach Emmett Jones, Gardner is now interested in KU, where Jones was hired to become Miles’ receivers coach.
This past weekend, Gardner, a dual-threat QB in high school, was named Offensive MVP at the Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowl. Gardner ran for a 51-yard touchdown in the prep showcase game.
Gardner told Jayhawk Slant that most college coaches picture him as a running back, and Jones told him he could play “all over the place” at the next level.
• Steven Parker, 4-star, 6-4 defensive end from South Oak Cliff High (Texas): Another Dallas area prospect who was recruited to Texas Tech by Jones, Parker decommitted from the Red Raiders in early December.
But the touted defensive lineman remains interested in Tech, despite the coaching staff changes that occurred in Lubbock, Texas.
Jones reportedly will choose between KU, TCU, Tech and Nebraska.
• Paul Matavao-Poialii, 3-star, 6-3 offensive lineman from Jefferson High (Calif.): A recent visitor to Oregon State, Matavao-Poialii also previously picked up offers from Baylor, Colorado, Fresno State and Hawaii.
KU defensive line coach Kwahn Drake has been recruiting the offensive guard.
• Marcus Harris, 2-star, 6-3 D-end from Park Crossing High (Ala.): Only a few Power Five programs have shown interest in Harris so far. But Washington State has offered the D-lineman, and Iowa coaches visited the prospect from Montgomery, Ala., this past week, according to Blair Sanderson of Rivals.
(ratings from Rivals; √ = signed)
√ 3-star St. Thomas Aquinas S Jayden Russell (6-3, 190)
√ 3-star McEachern H.S. (Ga.) CB Valerian Agbaw (5-10, 170)
√ 3-star Mesa C.C. (Ariz.) QB Thomas MacVittie (6-5, 225)
√ 3-star Iowa Central C.C. WR Ezra Naylor (6-4, 210)
√ 3-star Golden West Coll. (Calif) CB Justin Ford (6-1, 180)
√ 3-star Iowa Western C.C. DE Malcolm Lee (6-5, 270)
√ 2-star Coahoma C.C. (Miss.) DL Caleb Sampson (6-4, 285)
√ 2-star Iowa Central C.C. WR Andrew Parchment (6-2, 185)
√ 2-star Meridian H.S. (Miss.) DL Da’Jon Terry (6-4, 350)
√ 2-star Andale High TE Mason Fairchild (6-5, 250)
√ 2-star Rochdale H.S. (Texas) QB Torry Locklin (6-2, 195)