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Too much juco recruiting could put Kansas football in deeper hole

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Kansas chancellor Dr. Doug Girod and athletic director Sheahon Zenger addressed the state of Kansas football once this season and that was at a Sept. 22 press conference centering on the campaign to raise $350 million to upgrade the facilities.

Girod, based on the information he had at his disposal at that time, stood behind Zenger and football coach David Beaty. We'll see if he changes his mind on that based on new evidence entering the equation each week, but nothing has changed with at least one statement Girod made that day.

“I think we know that we started this rebuild in a pretty big hole,” Girod said. “I think we would all agree with that comment.”

Can’t dispute that. I don’t know the new chancellor, but those who do know him say he is a knowledgeable sports fan. But did he follow the Charlie Weis era closely enough to understand that Weis’ win-now recruiting philosophy that brought so many four-year and junior-college transfers to Lawrence was at the center of the hole Weis dug?

I bring this up because most coaches in Beaty’s situation, a 3-27 record with the tougher half of the schedule remaining, would not be able to resist the temptation to slip into win-now recruiting mode, making every recruiting decision based on what gives you the best shot to win games next year in order to survive.

That’s where a strong athletic director has to come in and put a limit to the number of transfers the coach can include in his recruiting class. That’s not Zenger’s style. He likes to let his coaches coach. Plus, Zenger, whose football hires, Weis and Beaty, have gone 5-55 vs. FBS competition, also is in survival mode because his longevity is tied directly to Beaty’s because surely Girod would not allow Zenger to make another football hire.

If Zenger doesn’t step out of his comfort zone and do what’s best for the future of Kansas football, the hole grows deeper, uglier.

Some of Weis’ junior-college transfers, such as defensive back Cassius Sendish, worked out well. Too many others came and went before either playing a single down or completing their eligibility: Andrew Bolton, Jocques Crawford, Marquel Combs, Chris Martin, Marcus Jenkins-Moore, Kevin Short, Pearce Slater.

Scholarships that went to graduate transfers who were solid if unspectacular in their one season at Kansas (Corey King, Joshua Williams) or injury-weakened (Mike Ragone, Anthony McDonald) could have gone to high school prospects who would have four or five years to blossom. Weis recruited three quarterback transfers (Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps, T.J. Millweard), and a tight end (Kent Taylor) whose performances didn’t justify wasting a scholarship that could have gone to a high school prospect. Receivers Nigel King and Nick Harwell upgraded the position greatly, but only played one year.

Beaty also has not hit the jackpot on transfers from four-year schools (receivers Quincy Perdue and Joshua Stanford, who combined for three receptions and didn’t stay a whole year). It’s too early to make a call on Alabama transfer wide receiver Daylon Charlot, but halfway into the season, he has one catch and it was for no gain. Right tackle Charles Baldwin, who participated in spring football at Alabama after playing two juco seasons, has not been in uniform for several weeks.

Beaty used 17 scholarships in his first three recruiting classes on junior-college players. Running back Octavius Matthews had star potential, but had to retire because of a heart condition.

The other Beaty juco recruits:

Offensive linemen: D’Andre Banks, Jayson Rhodes.

Defensive linemen: DeeIsaac Davis, Jacky Dezir, Isi Holani, J.J. Holmes, Willie McCaleb, KeyShaun Simmons.

Defensive backs: Antonio Coles, Hasan Defense, Stephan Robinson, Brandon Stewart, Shakial Taylor.

Offensive linemen: D’Andre Banks, Jayson Rhodes.

Quarterback: Peyton Bender.

Running back: Ke’aun Kinner.

Wide receiver: Kerr Johnson.

Kinner and Banks were the best of the bunch.

Comments

Phil Leister 1 month, 1 week ago

I don't believe Beaty will alter his strategy and bring in a bunch of juco guys to "win now" next year. I just don't think he's that kind of coach.

This article just reiterates what a crap hole this program has been over the last decade.

Clarence Haynes 1 month, 1 week ago

If I recall, a fair number of those guys had character issues!

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

Fortunately there has been a huge change in the JC recruiting. Where 50% of the JCs from the previous regime never saw the field for various reasons, the vast majority of the JCs during the last 3 years have been on campus for the spring semester and training. Some even came with 3 years of eligibility or 3 to play 2.

While few have been difference makers (Have we really had any the last 3 years?) many if not most have contributed and filled gaping holes in the roster and both lines in particular.

Definitely agree that we should not suddenly go bananas with JCs but instead continue the prudent acquisition of mature contributors. We are after all finally getting back to a full roster though still a year or 3 from a Big 12 roster. Most knew when we started that it would take years to rebuild though the last month has led many to try to forget most of the past pointy ball seasons.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 1 week ago

One factor in the scholarship math is that a team doesn't actually have the full 25 per year available. If it did, 5 JUCO players who start immediately, would not hurt the development of your program. However, if you had only 17 or 18 schollies to offer in a year, 5 JUCO's might have too big of an impact.

It would seem that a significant part of the interview process post-Weis would have centered around how to rebuild the roster.

For quite awhile, I thought that the JUCO route could be used effectively but it seems that the two years of maturity and work gained at the JUCO level rarely translates into significant contribution at the D1 level. This is something that both the coach and the AD should know.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

If we're going to learn from history (vs. repeating it) we will also realize that switching coaches will also dig a hole in the roster. We lost approximately 15 players with each of the previous coaching changes resulting in us being 30 players short when Coach Beaty got here. We would likely be back almost to FCS level if the proposed changes suggested by many are implemented. I'm not sure that is in the program's best interest though recent results make that argument increasingly difficult.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 1 week ago

The thing to learn from that is not that you have to lose players, it's that you lose players when Weis comes in and essentially tells everyone they suck, and then Beaty comes in and completely changes the offensive structure, along with the fact that Weis had loaded up with guys who were already half-way out the door.

The fear-mongering on this site is ridiculous. Hire a good coach, and these kids will jump and down for joy. You'll lose a few, of course, but all programs lose a few, every single year. That's why you are allowed to recruit up to 25 even though the max - even with redshirts - is 85 on roster.

If you want to be afraid of something, imagine season-ticket sales, the embarrassment of a canceled stadium renovation and a bottomed-out program next year if you keep doing what you are doing.

John Fitzgerald 1 month, 1 week ago

From here on out no more JUCO players or transfers. Recruit freshmen only and red-shirt them immediately, unless there's an immediate need at a position. Which shouldn't be a huge issue now that we're up to 84 scholarships. We need stability on the roster, and just as important we need a coach that can make the players on the roster better year by year. Beaty has yet to prove he is capable of that and it's his 3rd year. I say, fire Zenger immediately to send a message and get ahead of the coaching search. And while the new AD looks for Beaty's replacement, Beaty can finish the year. That'll give him a chance to finish strong and make a statement for his next job.

John Brazelton 1 month, 1 week ago

So many football experts on this site! How come none of you are college HCs or ADs? Talk is cheap. Pull out those wallets and give those multi-million dollar donations then maybe you'll get some one in authority to listen.

John Fitzgerald 1 month, 1 week ago

Actually, you’re the only “expert.” The rest of us are making simple opinions and suggestions. How’s that “$100,000” donation going for you?

John Gorski 1 month, 1 week ago

JuCo's should only be recruited to fill holes, once we have a full roster we should only depend on JuCo's if we are low at a position. IMO!

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

Brett - You missed. The 2 coaching changes were Gill and Weis. We didn't lose a bunch of players with Beaty because we kept Bowen. That's not happening with the proposed trifecta.

Learn or repeat.

We don't have 85 Big12 players now and that is with mining the KS HS ranks that many say we need to do.

Learn or repeat because there are loads of quality D1 coaches in the making that are clamoring to spend 3 years walking to their professional guilotine. What is the 80s rock go - Dream on. Dream on. ...

Dirk Medema 1 month, 1 week ago

When you have 60 players there's pretty much an immediate need at every position.

Scott Morgan 1 month, 1 week ago

I lived in 1960-70s Wisconsin during a KUish run of poor football.

It was only when UW made a commitment to develop local talent did the program change to what you see now.

At that time NFL #1 picks like Jerry Tagge QB NE, Matuzek Miami "Toos" Dave Casper HOF NFL, Dave Krieg NFL QB (played high school ball 20 minutes from UW) were ignored. While Chicago/Detroit area athletes were preferred.

KU needs to hire Kansas based coaches and make sure no 3-4-5 Star athletes leaves the state.

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