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There's more than meets the eye to recruiting rankings; take a look

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Signing Day 2011 is now just six days away, and if you look at the Big 12’s team rankings page on Rivals.com’s web site for the Class of 2011, you’ll notice a couple of things right off the bat.

Being KU fans, you’ll probably see that Kansas’ current recruiting class is ranked sixth in the conference, which actually puts the Jayhawks fifth since Nebraska, which is in fourth, won’t be in the conference next year.

You’ll also probably notice that the rankings are broken down in a couple of different ways. First, you see the total number of commitments. For KU, at least as of this morning, that number was 26. In the next three columns, you’ll see five-star commitments (none for Kansas), four-star commitments (two for Kansas) and three-star commitments (21 for Kansas). The final column you’ll see winds up being the average of all of that school’s recruits. In this case, the average for KU is 2.96, which means that, on the whole, KU’s Class of 2011 is a three-star class.

Here’s the catch. We all know that four-star guys don’t always play like four-star guys and two-star guys occasionally turn into studs. The other thing that makes ranking classes so difficult is the fact that these sites and rankings rarely take into account the needs of each particular team.

Here’s an example. His name is Kyle Crofoot and, according to Rivals.com, he’s a no-star guy. That’s not to say he’s no good. It’s just that based on who’s recruiting him and the position he plays, there’s not enough info or film to give him any stars.

But the special teams star from Orlando is on KU’s radar and, if he decides to come to Kansas, he could play a bigger role on next year’s team than any recruit they’ve already landed.

Here’s why. Crofoot, all 6-4, 240 pounds of him, is one of the best long-snappers in the country. He’s so good that Auburn is inviting him to walk on and, after a visit to Kansas this weekend, he’s scheduled to check out Florida next week. For those who may have forgotten, Auburn won the national title this past season and Florida, well, they’ve won two titles in the past few years.

The beautiful thing about Crofoot’s trip to Kansas is the fact that there’s an actual scholarship offer attached to it. Because of the crazy success KU coach Turner Gill and Co. have had in the past couple of weeks with landing some late and talented commitments, there’s not a lot of scholarships left for the Jayhawks to hand out. Offering one to Crofoot shows how important the position is. Jayhawk fans who watched with horror last year as KU had three punts blocked, also know all too well.

This is not a knock on last year’s long snapper, Justin Carnes. Like so many of his teammates, Carnes, just a red-shirt freshman in 2010, was young, inexperienced and not quite accustomed to what it took to succeed at the college level. Like most do, Carnes undoubtedly will get better and will be a solid option for the Jayhawks if he’s needed.

If Crofoot, whose three older brothers played in the SEC, decides to take KU up on its offer to pay for his schooling, he’ll have a great chance to step right in and hold down the long-snapping duties for the next four years. Many outlets have him ranked in the top three in the nation among long snappers, and, special teams or not, when you get a guy ranked in the top three in the country to come to your school, you play him.

This thing is far from a done deal. Crofoot first has to visit, meet the coaches and players and then decide if coming to the rebuilding project at Kansas is worth passing on proven SEC powers and perennial national-title contenders.

Who knows? For him, it might be. One thing we do know, though, is even if Crofoot picks Kansas, his addition won’t make near the impact on KU’s recruiting rankings as it will to the product on the field.

Here’s a couple more stories on Crofoot, for those wanting to read more:

This feature is from Chris Hays at the Orlando Sentinel.

And this update comes from Jon Kirby of Rivals.com.

Comments

panalytic 10 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the timely football story Matt.

What is your take on how this class, even if it is only paper, is looking so far? How well is Gill doing for his first recruiting class? For me, it appears it is a really good start for Gill, but I don't keep up on recruiting much. I hope you get a chance to tell us what you think.

hawk316 10 years, 10 months ago

panalytic, I think the following comment from Matt's article says a great deal:

"Because of the crazy success KU coach Turner Gill and Co. have had in the past couple of weeks with landing some late and talented commitments, there’s not a lot of scholarships left for the Jayhawks to hand out."

It appears that Coach Gill and staff are living up to their reputation as excellent recruiters. KU is definitely a program on the rise.

Michael Maris 10 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Tait,

Thank you for another outstanding football article. I look forward to your KU Football coverage on this site.

I don't know why it took the LJW so long to find a writer that would cover the KU Football Program. But, I feel like they have found the right guy.

Hopefully, your tenure at LJW will be a long one. Keep up the execellent stories on the KU Football happenings.

rockchalkblock 10 years, 10 months ago

If its any help Rivals has KU ranked with the 34th best class in the nation, right behind VT and in right in front of TA&M, if that means anything to you.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

do we recruit this guy and promise him more playing time at ku compared to the other schools?

Beakem77 10 years, 10 months ago

Let my niece answer that one for you, 'DUH'

If you knew dipstick about football you'd know the long snapper doesn't necessarily need to be a giant compared to the rest of the o linemen. If he can throw a perfect long snap, which #3 in the country should, thats a huge asset and he'd get promised playing time with ANY team in the country right off the bat. Which is why this is such a great find for Turner & Co and should be a no-brainer that he's promised PT.

& there's no such thing as stupid questions, just stupid people ahpersecoachingexperience (aka, worst handle ever). I hardly post on here but thought I'd let you know you are by far the most annoying human being I've come across. I hope the LWJ crew tracks down your IP, calls you up on the phone & reveals to us all who you are. Seriously pay attention here LWJ staff, I read a lovely CNN article (can't find article right now, I'll post later if I find it) of an author who chased down multiple hateful bloggers and confronted them. SPOILER ALERT: They all crumbled and broke down like little girls just like I'm positive ahpersecoachingexperience would do. You know what the icing on the cake was? The authors posted their full names, occupation, and posted the phone conversation verbatim. Just beautiful to see a troll fall!!!

Tee 'em up LJW, I'm sick of reading this guys trash.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

That is an awesome article. You know ahperse would act exactly the same way if he were exposed. You just know it! In real life he's a boring turd. By being anonymous, he can be an dynamic ahole and get all sorts of attention.

What a lonely fool. It's actually kind of sad.

David Hodges 10 years, 10 months ago

First two sentences are spot on... the last few... exactly what the article was talking about. Didn't need the insults to get the point. Especially since lately many of his posts haven taken at least a small turn towards positive (see above post).

buttsauce 10 years, 10 months ago

Post your information. That way people who don't like your posts can come berate you.

Al Martin 10 years, 10 months ago

I'll grant you that ahperse has been annoying in the past, but I read this to be a sincere enough question about how we might be able to get a leg up on recruiting this guy.

It certainly didn't merit that volatile a response.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

man, wrong day for that rant. especially when i gave turner and staff some love on the other football article. but in the words of scarface "jew wanna go to war, jew wanna go to war. we take you to war." i'd love the oppertunity to talk to most posters face to face. my dream would be to open a sports bar on mass, call it ahperse's, and sponsor the turner gill radio show but i don't think that's going to happen anytime soon or be able to keep the doors open for more than one or two years before turner is given his walking papers. as for the reporters, i'd welcome that also. imagine TK saying "how dare you pick the hawks to go 2-10 when i said they'd go 4-8" jesse saying "how dare you follow every game online with me and a few other loyal fans" and tait asking me "how dare you say our new ad from il. state via wyoming is under qualified? or that our team may only win 1-3 games next year" and my favorite "how dare you say gill is over paid?" whatever/whoever bring it. picture me using much milder language than tony used when talking about gaspar gomez and the diaz brothers but i'll still "bury those cockroaches"

Jonathan Briles 10 years, 10 months ago

I'll probably get a lot of trash thrown my way for saying this but I actually kind of enjoy your trash talking every once in a while. You actually have a pretty good sense of humor and I generally get a laugh out of what you have said. BUT what I enjoy most out of anything is the controversy. If I came on here every day and saw everyone agreeing it would be boring. I enjoy seeing a negative opinion because I am usually very optimistic and like seeing the down side so that I have a reason to look at the bright one. I hope you keep posting and every once in a while if I see fit I will send a counter post and enjoy reading others counter posts. If everyone were to take the same views then we would have no fun so I'm glad you have the balls to come in here and take the onslaught of posters who do hate you. I however do have my days of being annoyed with you (mostly after a loss) but still enjoy the random funny comments.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey, you're a funny guy. And being the voice of reason isn't a crime. You just enjoy it too much. I can't imagine being so consistently negative about your own team. It's not fanhood if you don't root for them to succeed, is it?

The other thing is, trashing KU football is just too easy. Being a die hard, optimistic fan? That's hard.

So what will you do with yourself if Gill ever succeeds. I won't be there like so many others, with an "I told you so". It's not about that. But where will you channel your skepticism?

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

"trashing KU football is just too easy. Being a die hard, optimistic fan? That's hard" hahahahahahaha, that's funny.

as for "channel your skepticism" i dunno. frank martin. he's seemed to piss away something that was supposed to be pretty special ;)

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

How do you decide who the best long snapper is? The snap either gets there, or it doesn't. I was a RB, LB and long snapper back in the day. There is nothing to it. Every team in the country should have a perfect long snapper. A drunk cheerleader could be the long snapper. That's why there isn't enough info for a star rating. The position is of little more importance than the waterboy. You bend over, wait for the word, huck it backwards and become a statue.

Sorry. But that's why no stars.

Now, if the guy could add depth to another position, while steadily performing his duty as a bent-over ball tosser, I could see the importance of recruiting him. Otherwise, just plug in somebody whose begging for PT.

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 10 months ago

It has to do with the speed and accuracy of the snap. Do you know how to long snap? Having a good long snapper is very important, that is why when an NFL team signs a long snapper they do not get rid of him. I used to long snap while also playing corner, yes a weird combo. My father taught me to long snap when I was 10 and he said if you know how to long snap, then you can make any football team with this skill alone. Not many people know how to long snap well.

Ben Kliewer 10 years, 10 months ago

I have to concur with Chris here. I had a good buddy in High School, and another in college who were both long snappers for the football team. I had the latter try and teach me one time and I also talked with the guy who started at center. It's a whole different set of mechanics. It's a lot more than just hucking the ball and standing there. The difference between a good long snapper and a bad one could easily be the difference in who wins the game, and even whether or not you have a good season. Field position folks. It definitely has to do with speed, accuracy and technique, and to address Maxhawk below, the accuracy is absolutely important. Ask a punter. If the punter doesn't get it snapped to the right spot where he can catch it in good position, you can kiss a decent punt goodbye. This guy is going to be a good pickup for whatever school he goes to if he's as good at his position as they say he is. This series of posts just goes to show how much Long Snapper is the most important position you never hear about.

vmwskywalk 10 years, 10 months ago

Great long snappers time the rotation distance between the holder or the punter. When the ball is caught the laces are always out. That saves time and blocks.

panalytic 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey Matt, just noticed you had three articles today on football. That counts as hearing a lot of your opinion about football lately. Thanks for all the football coverage.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey Ahperse! Watch this negativity.

You don't draft long snappers. You don't recruit long snappers. Long snappers don't go to the Hall of Fame. They aren't even on Pro Bowl ballots.

The fact that he comes from "family of long snappers" is mildly amusing, but I bet none of them are perfect, and being perfect as a long snapper is the one and only thing that should distinguish you from the others. I understand that it's under-appreciated to an extent. Kendall Gammon is probably the only long snapper to gain recognition from being good, and not from botching a snap, but it's such a specialized skill. You don't have to know the offense or defense. You don't have to perform at the combine. All you do is snap it. If you can't get that one thing right, God save you.

The holder is a more important position than the snapper. You don't see us recruiting the #3 holder in the country, out from under the SEC do you? I don't mind recruiting anybody. But long snappers don't get a star rating for a good reason. You can make your own long snapper.

The fact that Auburn has invited a guy who is in the top 3 in the country at his position to "walk on" is all you need to know. KU is his only scholarship offer.

Now if you want to talk about star ratings, talk about K Alex Mueller. Now that's a special teams position of value. And talk about why he is rated as a 2 star recruit by Rivals, even though he is considered by many to be the top K available.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

i'm saying if you're a long snapper than ku football is the place to be to see some action. maybe our long snapper didn't stink last year, he was just tired from being on the field way more than he's used to.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

Ha! Well I don't think he was used to anything, because he was an OL before they trained him to be the snapper. Did he suck? Meh. I don't know. I mentioned that I played the "position" back in the day and over several years, never EVER botched a snap. It's just not that hard. Nobody will ever convince me otherwise.

Maxhawk will ramble about a half a second difference between a good snap and a bad one. Please.

To your point, I do believe, whoever it is, will be on the field a lot less this year.

amos27 10 years, 10 months ago

Matt - thanks for the insight. Amazing that it could stir up as much negative buzz as Keegan's efforts. Look forward to hearing from you next week on Thursday after signing day....that ought to get them going.

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