Could KU football be primed for another big-splash news day?
OK, so now that Charlie Weis has been hired and Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps have committed (I still kind of can’t believe it even after dozens of times writing it), we can move on to the next line of business regarding KU football.
As you know by now, the announcement of Weis as KU’s new coach made waves nationally and was regarded by many as an impressive hire, even if the jury’s still out on whether it was a good hire or not.
The commitments of Crist and Heaps — both top-tier QBs with the potential to change the landscape of football at Kansas for years to come — went down as equally big news, largely because they committed within a couple of hours of each other and because, at least coming in, they represent the most impressive set of QBs KU ever has brought into the program at one time.
With that in place, it’s safe to say that KU won’t make another splash that even comes close to approaching the Weis hire or the QB commitments for several months, right?
I’m not saying it’s going to go down this way, but it could. Here’s what I’m talking about:
At this point, no single move could possibly approach the level of the two I mentioned above. Head coach and quarterback are without question the two most visible positions on a football team so it’s safe to say that no other position — defensive coordinator, strength coach, linebacker, whatever — could or even would be met with the same kind of excitement and enthusiasm as those two.
But what if it all comes in the same day? Think quantity over quality here. What if Weis, maybe sometime early next week, announces the name of his defensive coordinator and follows it up by revealing the rest of his coaching staff. We’re talking another five or six guys, all with the potential to impress your socks off.
Some names to keep an eye on: Rob Ianello as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator; Bernie Parmalee as tight ends coach; and Greg Manusky, Mike Nolan or Al Groh as defensive coordinator. I haven’t been able to nail down who the leader is just yet (in fact, I’ve actually heard that all three have been offered the DC job) but it seems like those are three of the top candidates, if not the three top candidates.
OK, so now, on the same day, you learn the identity of the rest of the coaching staff — everyone from the potential big-name defensive coordinator to a strength and conditioning staff.
That’s a start. Now, what if, on that same day, a bunch of recruits decide Kansas is the right place for them and they elect to commit.
Some names to keep an eye on: Justin McCay, OU wide receiver who may be eligible to play next year because of a special hardship waiver and release; Brian Wagner, the Akron linebacker who was among the nation's leaders in tackles last year and, like Crist, will have one year of eligibility remaining; Gehrig Dieter, the South Bend, Ind., wide receiver, who will announce his decision on Jan. 3; and Brice Butler, the USC wide receiver, who also will have one year of eligibility remaining and is reportedly considering KU. There were reports that Butler committed to San Diego State via Twitter on Thursday, but it seems like those were false, as Butler is claiming that his account may have been hacked. SDSU remains a likely destination for Butler, but nothing's official yet.
It’s hard to imagine all of those guys will become Jayhawks, but it’s definitely possible. It’s also possible that a couple of seniors who played with Crist at Notre Dame and maybe even a Florida player or two could be transferring to Kansas to join Weis and Co. I think the odds are very strong that McCay and Dieter are coming.
It’s been pretty quiet around KU lately. The coaches who are in place have been on the road recruiting and aren’t talking and probably won’t be any time soon. I was told yesterday, however, that KU has scheduled a news conference for Jan. 16 for Crist, Heaps and whatever other newcomers the program may have by that time. I also was told KU football officials have informed all commitments who haven’t arrived yet to turn down any future interview requests.
That’s a bummer, but not all that surprising. And, hey, at least we’ve got that Jan. 16 date to look forward to.
I think plenty will happen before then, though. I’d expect the rest of the coaching staff to be in place well before then and I’m guessing we’ll hear about a few other commitments in the very near future.
I’m not saying it’s all going to happen at once. But let’s mark down Jan. 3, next Tuesday, as the next big date for KU football news. If the rest of the coaching staff is revealed and Dieter and a couple of other players commit, it’s a day that could rival the Weis announcement or the quarterback bonanza in terms of hype and excitement.
Let’s see what happens...