Beaty: It was a ‘miracle’ KU landed Dorance Armstrong in recruiting


The Big 12's preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Kansas junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. answers questions at the Big 12 Media Days, in Frisco, Texas, on July 17, 2017.

The Big 12's preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Kansas junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. answers questions at the Big 12 Media Days, in Frisco, Texas, on July 17, 2017. by Benton Smith

Frisco, Texas — It’s difficult to make up time in recruiting, but that’s exactly what Kansas football coach David Beaty and his staff had to do when he first arrived on campus.

Looking over to junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year, at the conference’s media days Monday, Beaty said it was a “miracle” that he was suiting up for the Jayhawks.

When Beaty was hired in December 2014, he had about a month to solidify his recruiting class prior to Signing Day. Back then, Armstrong was seen as an undersized defensive end and still looking for a landing spot.

Searching for hidden gems, Beaty and his staff identified Armstrong as one of their top targets. But they were still reaching out to Armstrong much, much later than most of the schools recruiting him.

Armstrong remembered when he received text messages from former KU defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, who is now at Oklahoma, and realized that he watched him at one of his basketball games.

“I was like, ‘He was at a basketball game?’” Armstrong said. “(Thibodeaux) motivated me so much. He spoke positive to me all the time about what I could be and just put that in my head. I think I built on everything that he told me. I just kept that mindset of being humble and always wanted more.”

Following his final prep football season, Armstrong immediately turned his attention to his basketball team. Playing in the low post for North Shore High in Houston, Armstrong averaged 7.2 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds. His school won a state championship in his junior year.

How much ground did Kansas have to make up in recruiting?

Armstrong said he didn’t have a relationship with Beaty or really anyone from Kansas before the start of his basketball season.

“I think coach Beaty came to my high school, but he came for someone else,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t remember him at the time.”

One of the things that drew Armstrong to Kansas was the chance to play defensive end.

It seems like an obvious decision now, but some schools tried to convince Armstrong, who showed up to campus weighing around 210 pounds, to move to linebacker because of his size.

“I never played linebacker,” Armstrong said. “I was always a D-end. I kind of made myself stay at that same spot.”

During one in-home visit, Kansas coaches Clint Bowen and Thibodeaux were visiting with Armstrong and his family when assistant coaches from Missouri showed up outside of the home. The KU coaches did their best to stall, forcing the Missouri coaches to wait outside.

Focused on playing throughout the basketball season, Armstrong was on a limited schedule in terms of making visits to schools.

After traveling to Kansas, he decided it was the only place he wanted to check out.

“My mom came on the visit and she loved it,” Armstrong said. “She loved the coaches. Even the players made her feel like they were going to take care of me. That’s what they were doing. We don’t bring anyone in to just leave them hanging.”

Three years later and Armstrong arrived back in his home state as the face of the Kansas football program.

“We had literally a month to recruit this kid — a month,” Beaty said. “It was difficult because Missouri came in late. Thankfully they didn’t go on that visit because it made it a little bit easier for us.”


Chris DeWeese 1 year, 9 months ago

This kid was the catalyst. It's been a slow burn over the past couple of years, but Dorance has showed the other players what is possible with hard work and dedication. If there is a significant turnaround in the FB program (i.e. bowl games and such), all signs point back to Dorance.

Jim Stauffer 1 year, 9 months ago

We surely have been blessed to get to see him each game.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 9 months ago

The face of KU football couldn't be any better than this...hard working, humble and complete buy in.

Brock Wells 1 year, 9 months ago

Chris you are obviously a diehard KU football fan and it's been extremely rough watching the team get the crap kicked out of them the last several years (esp. to the purple tame-kitties).

But IMO, all signs already point HCDB and crew turning around this program. I believe the program is in better shape then most fans are giving us credit for (which is understandable) and here's why:

  1. David Beaty- Character (stole that from Keegan). Who the hell walks into the pile of crap he inherited and said his goal is to win championships?? oh... David Beaty does.

  2. Goals: The expectation inside the football program is bowl game or bust THIS YEAR!!! If you can believe (and imagine) it you can achieve it.

  3. Not full on schollys yet but we actually have some Big 12 experienced depth, barring injuries of course.

  4. Dorance Armstrong Jr and Daniel Wise and Mike Lee

  5. OL: We haven't had a FBS OL the last 2 years but we do this year!

  6. Playmakers on offense

  7. 7 - Peyton Bender: I know what everyone is thinking... we've been burnt with QB transfers since TR was the sheriff in town but this year and kid are different.

  8. New locker rooms, $300 mill renovation in the works = recruiting will only get better.

To me that adds up to a record of 7-6 and bowl game THIS YEAR!!! Who am I do doubt what the coaches and players truly believe about this season!?!

Greg Ledom 1 year, 9 months ago

Love the enthusiasm Brock. Damn dude, 7-6!? Dream big or go home I suppose. That record out of our hawks would rock the College football world. Let's go get some! Rock Chalk

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