David Beaty 'absolutely not' concerned about KU's current 2-player 2019 recruiting class
Five months still remain between now and December’s early signing period for college football, but as of mid-summer, at least the Kansas football program’s 2019 recruiting class appears minuscule in comparison to most.
While seven Big 12 teams, according to Rivals, have at least 12 commitments lined up, the Jayhawks have received just two.
That number ranks not only last in KU’s 10-team conference — rival Kansas State currently stands in ninth, with six — but also last among the 100 FBS teams tracked by Rivals.
Buffalo and Washington State, with four commitments apiece, just outrank KU at the bottom.
Nevertheless, when asked directly earlier this week whether he was concerned at all right now about the state of KU’s 2019 recruiting class, head coach David Beaty began his reply with two words.
The Jayhawks, Beaty maintained, “could have a lot of commitments.”
Currently, though, the only recruits who have sent KU’s fourth-year coach and his staff nonbinding verbal pledges are four-star New Orleans quarterback Lance LeGendre and three-star Wichita tight end Clay Cundiff.
Why aren’t more rising high school seniors tied to KU football yet?
“We simply are making sure that we get the right ones. Your number to give and how many you get, when you get them, those are things that, being on the inside, you have some privilege that maybe when you’re not on the inside, that I simply can’t share, because there’s strategy involved,” Beaty said. “But right now, we feel really good about where we’re at, particularly with where our numbers are.”
While it stands to reason it may be more difficult to recruit players to KU with the public perception that Beaty’s job security took a hit when former athletic director Sheahon Zenger — who hired Beaty in 2014 and two years later extended the coach’s contract through the 2021 season — was fired in May, Beaty even balked at that notion.
“Our recruiting has not felt any different. The correspondence that we have had with the guys that we have on our radars has, if anything, it has increased,” the coach insisted. “But it has not taken a step back at all. If anything, I think it’s helped us moving forward. I think the kids feel the momentum going on right there, which is good.”
Just how many players end up committing to and signing with KU won’t be known for months. In the meantime, Jon Kirby, of Jayhawk Slant, said Kansas at least has the attention of some intriguing uncommitted prospects.
In June, Jaren Mangham, an in-demand four-star running back from Detroit, included KU on his updated list of nine finalists, along with Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan State, Texas A&M, Texas, TCU and Arkansas.
Kirby said first-year KU receivers coach Justin “Juice” Johnson had led the team’s recruiting efforts with Mangham, who has eliminated such programs as Florida, Ole Miss, Florida State, Missouri and Texas from consideration.
Another compelling prospect from New Orleans, four-star cornerback Chester Kimbrough, is in good standing with KU, too, Kirby said.
Just like his Warren Easton High teammate, LeGendre, Kimbrough, you might expect, has been recruited by KU running backs coach Tony Hull, a New Orleans native and former head coach at Warren Easton.
Kansas' recruiting totals certainly aren’t on par with most college football programs for this time of year. But, as he is on most subjects, Beaty remains optimistic about the job he and his assistants have done on that front. The head coach stated he has worked his staffers “pretty hard,” as well.
“And there’s a reason why we do that. We’re committed to making sure we get things done the way they need to get done around here,” Beaty said. “So I take my hat off to our staff, because they busted their rear end.”