Charles in Charge: With Weis in place, where does KU go from here?
The weekend of Weis has come and gone and, by now, people seem to be coming to terms with the fact that Charlie Weis actually is coming to Kansas to coach football.
Fact is, he’s already started.
Weis, who was introduced as the Jayhawks’ 37th coach in history last Friday, welcomed a handful of recruits to town this week for the KU-Ohio State men’s basketball game.
In addition, he’s expected to hit the road to recruit sometime this week.
While we don’t yet know where that will take him, it’s safe to assume he’ll meet with some pretty big time players. Weis already has thrown out some offers to some of the top players in the country.
I know many are also hearing rumors about current KU players leaving the program and it’s safe to say that is happening. Who and how many has not yet been determined, but you can bet that it will be around 10.
Several players who had committed to KU under former coach Turner Gill also have changed their minds. Florida cornerback Daniel Gray bailed midway through the season, Washington D.C. defensive lineman De’Jon Wilson dropped KU and committed to Colorado last month and Florida quarterback Bilal Marshall recently switched his commitment from Kansas to Purdue.
This, too, is to be expected. And it does not indicate a problem with the program or with Weis. Many times, when new coaches take over, players who were recruited to fit one style find out that they don’t fit the new style and they choose to go elsewhere. The same could be true for the players already on the roster. The bottom line is this: If they won’t fit and don’t want to be here, KU doesn’t want them taking up a scholarship.
At the end of the week, after guys leave and the final number is set, Weis may be able to target a 2012 class of around 20 guys, which would seem to be a good thing for KU.
Much more on that in the next few days.
As for now, here are a couple of things we’re hearing and/or working on:
• Still trying to track down leads on Charlie Weis’ first coaching staff at Kansas. Weis said at his introductory press conference that he’d take a few days to get it nailed down and that 80-to-90 percent of it should be done quickly.
We already know that running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell is staying and we have a strong feeling that wide receivers coach David Beaty may stay, too. Keeping both would be huge for Kansas.
As for new names, one that’s starting to hum a little louder today is Tim Grunhard, former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chiefs star and current head coach at Bishop Miege. Reports have indicated that Grunhard has called a meeting with his team and staff at Miege. Could be to tell them he’s leaving. Grunhard, who likely would coach the offensive line, would be a good pick up. He’s a tireless worker, a great football mind and would go a long way toward helping KU land the Kansas and Kansas City kids.
Another name that’s been kicked around quite a bit is Jim Leavitt, the former South Florida head coach who now coaches the linebackers for the 49ers and has deep ties to KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger. Many have speculated that Weis could hire Leavitt as his defensive coordinator. Don’t look for that to happen.
Vic Koenning, who served as the DC under Ron Zook at Illinois, could be a guy worth watching for the same position here. Koenning was the interim head coach for the Illini after Zook was fired and the new staff at UI may want to keep him. But it seems likely that he’d at least get a call from Weis and KU.
Other names to keep an eye on include: Ruben Mendoza, who was Weis’ strength coach at Notre Dame; John Latina, who coached the O-Line under Weis at Notre Dame; Clint Bowen, former KU player and defensive coordinator could be eyeing a return to Lawrence as a position coach; It also seems as if KU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has more than a fair chance to stick around; Ron Powlus, former Notre Dame quarterback (before Weis) who coached QBs under Weis and also spent time as the QBs coach at Akron.
• No news on Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist yet. Haven’t been able to track him down to see how his visit went, but the feedback I have been able to gather from people in town said he had a good time and that everyone who met him really enjoyed him.
Crist, of course, is the Notre Dame senior whom Weis recruited who is scheduled to graduate this month and, therefore, would be eligible to use his final year to play at another school immediately.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound pocket passer from Canoga Park, Calif., is a big-time talent. Crist chose Notre Dame — largely because of Weis — over offers from Florida State, Stanford, Michigan, Nebraska and USC.
During his senior season in high school, Rivals.com ranked him the 25th-best prospect in the nation, the second-best pro-style quarterback in the country and fourth-best recruit in California. He also was rated the 22nd-best player on the ESPN 150 list.
After not playing at Notre Dame in 2008, he played in a combined 13 games during 2009 and 2010, but saw each season cut short because of knee injuries.
This season, he was named the starter during fall camp and started Notre Dame’s season opener. However, during that opening game, he was benched and remained a back-up the rest of the way.
Here’s a look at the latest on Crist, from the Chicago Tribune.
• Finally, I’ve had a lot of requests to keep the daily blog going for a while and I will certainly try to do that. It might not be updated every hour, but I’ll try to throw it up there so that when news happens I can add it. In the meantime, it can serve as a great place for those who want to talk more about the program to chat it up in the comments section.
That said, the later part of this week may be a little slow in that regard. I’m going to take a few days to do nothing and recover from the craziness. Starting early next week, though, I’ll dive back in 100 percent.
It’s going to be fun from here on out.