Juco recruiting: David Beaty's Dream Team II bound to perform better than Charlie Weis' Dream Team I


Richard Gwin/Journal World Photo.KU football player Marquel Combs, shakes hands with resident Rose Tare-Smith, as a handful of KU football players were on hand at the Meadowlark Estates Retirement Home at 4430 Bauer Farm Drive to get some first hand information on KU football

Richard Gwin/Journal World Photo.KU football player Marquel Combs, shakes hands with resident Rose Tare-Smith, as a handful of KU football players were on hand at the Meadowlark Estates Retirement Home at 4430 Bauer Farm Drive to get some first hand information on KU football

Kansas hasn't recruited so many highly rated football recruits from junior colleges since Charlie Weis assembled a Class of 2013 that came to be known as #DreamTeam on Twitter.

It's not fair to say that entire class turned into #NightmareTeam because 2 of 7 recruits cited in the Rivals Top 100 junior college prospects had strong careers in the KU program. Defensive back Cassius Sendish started all 24 games in two seasons at Kansas, was a team captain and the leader of the secondary. Offensive guard Mike Smithburg was a two-year starter and drew high grades for his run-blocking.

Other than that, nightmare city.


Rank Player/Pos. Kansas career
10 Marquel Combs/DT Never played in game,
transferred to La. Lafayette
in mid-season.
13 Chris Martin/DE Never played in a game
and was sentenced to
three years probation
for felony robbery in home
41 Mike Smithburg/OL Two-year starter at guard and
was one of line's more
reliable performers.
57 Marcus Jenkins-Moore/LB Slowed by knee injury,
never played in a game and
transferred to South Dakota.
59 Cassius Sendish/DB Started all 24 games of
Kansas career, captain
and All-Big 12 honorable
mention as senior. Works for
KU football as grad assistant.
69 Kevin Short/CB Withdrew from school before
appearing in a game.
91 Andrew Bolton/DT Played one injury-filled season
and did not return for senior

Thus far, David Beaty's 2018 recruiting class includes nine juco players, including five ranked in the top 100 by Rivals. It's a safe assumption that Beaty will get more out of his five top 100 jucos than Charlie Weis received from his seven.

Thanks to the famous flops from the Class of 2013, nobody from Kansas is calling this Dream Team II, and in fact, Beaty is low-keying the class, perhaps because he defended his case for a fourth season by saying he needed time because he didn't go the quick-fix, juco-recruiting route. Unlike last season, Beaty did not have a season-ending press conference and has gone underground on the publicity front.

Simply for comparison purposes, though, let's call Beaty's full-out dive into the juco pool Dream Team II.


Rank Player Ht./Wt./Pos. Other Offers
36 Najeeb Stevens-McKenzie
6-4, 215, DE
Iowa St., Maryland
Missouri, Pitt
UCF and others
48 Azur Kamara
6-6, 230, DE
Arizona, ASU
Baylor, Florida State
Iowa State, Ole Miss
Nebraska, Okla. St.
Tennessee and others
68 Elijah Jones
6-3, 185, CB
Illinois, Iowa State
Rutgers, UCF
Utah State and others
72 Stephon Robinson
5-11, 170, WR
Hawaii, Mid. Tenn. St.
Mont. St., Old Dominion
98 Charles Cole
6-3, 280, DT
Memphis, Murray State
North Texas, Toledo
UNLV and others

This recruiting class was assembled with the idea of fortifying an extremely vulnerable secondary and in preparation for losing defensive end Dorance Armstrong a year early to the NFL draft, which happened Thursday.

Although the staff went about it quietly, the juco plan has been in place all season, which gave coaches time to thoroughly check out the backgrounds of the players offered scholarships. At least with the best of the signees, this doesn't appear to be a case of last-minute sorting through leftovers.

Kamara, an every-down defensive end, appears to be the player the coaching staff was most excited about landing and he had an impressive list of schools recruiting him. Stevens-McKenzie also had power-five schools in pursuit of him, attracted by an explosiveness that translates well to his projected role as a pass-rush specialist. Three-star DE Foster Dixon also will battle for snaps.

In the secondary, if high school recruit Corione Harris of New Orleans can lock down one starting spot at cornerback, jucos Jones, Elmore Hempstead and returning starters Hasan Defense and Shakial Taylor will battle for the other starting spot. Tyrone Miller, a returning starter at safety alongside Mike Lee, will have a tough battle on his hands staving off challenges from junior-college defensive backs Davon Ferguson and Jeremiah McCullough.

Beaty has been consistent through the years in stating the belief that teams loaded with fourth-and-fifth-year seniors are the toughest to beat, but facing long odds at keeping his job beyond 2018, Beaty recruited mostly players who could help right away, thus guaranteeing the 2021 roster will lack fourth-year seniors and the 2022 squad will be shy of fifth-year seniors.

If you're going to take the juco approach, you might as well recruit good prospects and according to Rivals, Kansas accomplished that.


John Fitzgerald 3 years ago

I really hope they perform better. The last thing we need is to go 1-12 or worse 0-12 when the point of bringing these guys on was because they can help right away. They definitely look talented I just hope they all make it to campus and end up playing.

Also, for anyone interested I did a write about how I think KU’s 2008 Orange Bowl team would fair against this years Orange Bowl team. And I was pleasantly surprised at how well they’d match up.

Bryson Stricker 3 years ago

:') <-- my reaction when I see Tom finally steer away from the tirade he was leading with the KU Fan Base making them think JUCOs are the end of the world.

Quality article sir. I really hope you guys actually provide coverage on each recruit we have so far. I'd say 98% of the fan base has no idea about any of these players and id say 100% including yourself don't even realize what kids have us in their top 3/5 lists that are top 300 or highly touted recruits.

Joe Ross 3 years ago

An article which is a bellwether for more false optimism. Aye...

Andy Tweedy 3 years ago

a little optimism never hurt! I'm skeptical too, but I also know I don't really know the end of this story, so what's wrong with a little hope sprinkled in. Nobody can argue Tom has been a homer for this staff, he's torn them up pretty good

Joe Ross 3 years ago

Take this the right way because Ive seen your posts and I know you to be a reasonable man. Much respect to a true fellow Hawk. But the roller coaster ride of inflated expections followed by massive letdown is nauseating to the point that many people--including myself--loose their lunch on it. To answer your question directly, from my perspective there is nothing wrong with sprinkling in hope.

So long as it is not false hope.

Jonathan Allison 3 years ago

"Beaty has been consistent through the years in stating the belief that teams loaded with fourth-and-fifth-year seniors are the toughest to beat, but facing long odds at keeping his job beyond 2018, Beaty recruited mostly players who could help right away, thus guaranteeing the 2021 roster will lack fourth-year seniors and the 2022 squad will be shy of fifth-year seniors."

I like how Keegan slipped this paragraph in toward the end.

Basically, Beaty is coaching for his job next year. If he wins and saves his job then we can look forward to more losing season ahead. Yippee!

eta: I honestly do hope that we win next year and that winning translates into better recruiting and more winning. It's just very hard to channel the optimism at this point.

Bryson Stricker 3 years ago

I'll bet a lifetime supply of thin mints that our 2021 and 2022 rosters will not lack depth.

Jonathan Allison 3 years ago

I remember having such high hopes for Quel Combs and Jenkins-Moore, Kevin Short, and Chris Martin...

That was a brutal stretch watching that group fall apart piece by piece so quickly.

3 years ago

what is with the color combinations in the rows, i am confused?

3 years ago

we will lose to nicholls state game 1 and beatty will be gone.

"Nicholls graduated only 16 seniors from the 2017 FCS playoff team, which finished 8-4 on the year and was ranked as high as No. 22. All 10 All-Southland honorees were juniors and sophomores."

dont want it to happen, just sayin'. RCJH

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

Let's just say for the sake of argument we beat Nicholls State but we struggle going into the 4th quarter leading only 24 to 20 or only win 24 to 20 what would that say about Beaty, his coaching and his future? Keep him? Fire him? Lose to Ohio then fire him?

Bryson Stricker 3 years ago

We don't play Ohio you fake @$$ KU Fan

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

Oh sorry Bryson Central Michigan. Are your infantile feelings soothed now. Im sorry yes lm not a real fan because l didn't memorize next years schedule. Have fun on your date with Coach Beaty. Are you guys engaged yet?

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

I guess you think you are such a true fan because you know every players jock size. Which players pic do you have under your pillow tonight Bryson?

3 years ago

Lets pretend Kevin said @ CMU and then answer that, BS. instead of insulting him. jfc relax. we're going to be terrible, its just reality. bet against in vega$ until they do something to make us think twice. As long as Beaty is in charge, you bet against. hope it changes soon, though. RCJH

Bryson Stricker 3 years ago

I could not care less tbh. Kevin goes around this board acting like he has any knowledge of Kansas football, what it takes to be good at football and as if he follows CFB at all.

If he did any of those three things he'd know we played CMU not Ohio.

I'm tired of people just running their mouth as if they know anything about development. I assure you 100% of this board doesn't actually follow KUFB recruiting and couldn't even tell me what inhome visits we've done in 2018.


John Fitzgerald 3 years ago

At the end of the day we’re all rooting for the same team. It sucks to see us continue to lose and be at the bottom of the Big 12 but the least we could do as fans is get along. I know I’m guilty as hell as I’ve lashed out at a few people, namely Bryce. But the reason he responds like he does is because he’s passionate about KU too. I think what this article says most is “Beaty is the coach, the recruits he has are good, or at least have that potential. Let’s hope for the best and stand behind him.”

Dirk Medema 3 years ago

Good Comment John, especially by contrast.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

If any one of these Juco DB's coming in this year cannot beat out Hasan Defense and they should never have been on the team in the first place, if that guy is anywhere on the field I guarantee you we are going to have a losing season.

Dirk Medema 3 years ago

You aren't the commenter saying the same thing about Shakial Taylor about 3 games into this past season are you. Eerily similar, well, except for Shakial Taylor ending up getting some post-season recognition.

Gotta love Jones' length at the very least, though it obviously takes more than length to make it as a Big12 DB.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

No that wasn't me. Let's get something straight here. The whole team is deficienr not just one position but Hasans consistently made the same mistakes game after game maybe its coaching or not being able to develop players its not just Hasan but game after game he's getting torched. Im sorry if my opinion doesn't jibe with everyone elses rose colored glasses view.

Jim Stauffer 3 years ago

Fest just demonstrated his ignorance of the game when he makes that statement about Defense. Kid did not have a bad first year in the league at all. Did he fail on come occasions, yes. Did Dorrance fail on some occasions, yes. Everybody did from time to time. The composite of his performance says it will take someone who is pretty good to beat him out.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

Oh please Jim. Open Open your eyes. Lol you call me ignorant?

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years ago

Name another power 5 school he would start for. If the receiver runs a slant he consistently cuts to the outside instead of inside to follow the receiver but by the time he adjust he's 10 yards behind the receiver. Take a look at the first play of the Texas game who was covering the receiver on that TD? Oh let me guess. Do you think that it is a coinsidence most teams throw to his side of the field on 3rd down? He plays 10 yards off the ball because hes afraid of getting beat deep. Then the team just throws it short for a first down. Im sorry he stinks, he wouldn't play for any other P5 program most less start. Every team in the BIG 12 picks on him because he just doesn't have the talent lm sorry if my opinion hurts your precious feelings and doesn't go along with your narrative of him to the point that your only argument is to call me ignorant.

Michael Sillman 3 years ago

I certainly can’t fault Beaty for going to the Juco ranks for immediate help to try to save his job next year. There is every reason to believe that his juco guys will make it to the field unlike those signed by Weis.

I also am confident that Beaty would be able to translate wins into recruiting gains better than Mangino. However winning games next year is still a mighty big if.

Dirk Medema 3 years ago

Definitely true about the difference between Weis and Beaty recruiting JC's. Unfortunately, it wasn't just this one class that missed for Weis. 50% of his JC recruits didn't make, whereas very few of Beaty's JC recruits haven't. Most have been on campus for the Spring semester and training camp.

John Brazelton 3 years ago

KU needs another JUCO on the offensive line and immediate help in the QB room. Bender can put up big passing numbers, but only if the offensive line pass blocks and his receivers don't drop passes. We also need a consistent running game. Our defense once again will be the strength of the 2018 team, this time with experienced defensive backs.

Dirk Medema 3 years ago

Thanks for the article Tom.

I would offer though that the shortcoming in thinking that the rosters for 2021/22 will lack fourth-year seniors is that this class isn't done yet. The difference between this year and previous is that HS recruits could sign last month, so we have the 2 louisianimals signed already to go along with the JC's. Maybe we won't get more HS NOI's, but I'm guessing the class isn't done yet and will finish with quite a few more HS recruits when February gets here just as it has in the past.

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