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KU linebackers coach Bill Miller had two huge recruits hooked when he was not retained after 2009

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Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David stops Kansas running back James Sims during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David stops Kansas running back James Sims during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. by Nick Krug

Kansas football lags far behind the rest of the Big 12 with just two verbal commitments from Class of 2019 recruits. It’s going to be tough for the coaching staff to land recruits because head coach David Beaty is on such shaky ground.

But in better days for Kansas football, it wasn’t as tough. Linebackers coach Bill Miller, in his second stint in the program, having first worked for Mark Mangino, is living proof of just how well KU can do in recruiting when the program is in good shape.

Miller, you might remember, was having a killer recruiting season that was blown up when Mark Mangino was forced to resign and Turner Gill did not retain Miller as linebackers coach.

Geneo Grissom of Hutchinson High had committed to Miller, a Hutch native, to play defensive end. After Miller was not retained, Grissom switched to Oklahoma, where he had a successful career split between tight end and mostly defensive end. Grissom now plays defensive end for the New England Patriots.

It didn’t get as much publicity at the time, but Miller reminded me recently that Fort Scott Community College linebacker Lavonte David also was headed to Kansas, but switched to Nebraska after Miller wasn’t retained.

David, who set a single-season record for tackles at Nebraska, was Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year, unanimous first-team All-Big 12 as a junior and first-team All-Big Ten as a senior. A standout linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, David has been named first-team All-Pro once and second-team twice.

No point in wondering what might have been, but knowing that Grissom and David were committed to KU serves as a nice reminder that when the football program regains momentum, recruiting will pick up and Kansas can become a player on highly recruited athletes again.

It’s also reasonable to expect that Miller could survive whatever coaching changes might be coming in the next year. He’s a useful resource in far more than recruiting. A born teacher, Miller has learned from some of the best coaches in the game. He worked for Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban, Mark Mangino, Jerry Kill and Jimbo Fisher.

“It’s great to be back,” Miller said. “I’m a Kansas guy.”

Comments

Brett Gaul 2 weeks, 3 days ago

It's Lavonte David. His name is backward in the article.

Edward Daub 2 weeks, 2 days ago

If Bill Miller is as "Great as Advertised" , He should be promoted to Defensive Coordinator ASAP!

I can only dream that David Beaty will step up to the Podium soon and announce "It's Miller Time!"

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