Rise & Sign: National Signing Day rockin' and rollin' as letters arriving quickly in Lawrence


New KU linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore (seated) was joined by Pierce C.C. teammate and future KU teammate Marquel Combs at today's signing in California.

New KU linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore (seated) was joined by Pierce C.C. teammate and future KU teammate Marquel Combs at today's signing in California. by Matt Tait

3:34 p.m. Update:

Hey folks, just got back from KU coach Charlie Weis' signing day news conference and have posted Weis' full audio.

A lot of insightful stuff in there, so check it out if you haven't.

Here are my first reactions from what Weis said. I posted most of these to Twitter so please bear with me. Trying to get audio posted and stories written so you can have more analysis. So hopefully this will work for now.

Here goes:

• Weis definitely believes he has a good class coming in and it sounds like a lot of these guys are gonna play right away...

• After listening to Weis talk about the signees, I feel much better about being bold in predicting so many starters. Especially on D

• It should be noted that RB Marquis Jackson is done playing (health reasons) and newcomer Colin Spencer will move to RB

• Really got the sense that Weis (new to juco recruiting) is a big fan of bringing juco guys in. Likes maturity, age, toughness, etc.

• Weis said Marquel Combs & Zach Fondal are not here yet but he didn't sound worried. Could be June, could be sooner. Probably June.

• Weis said today that he laid out a three-year recruiting plan for every position with his staff recently. Guy's a builder.

• Weis also said one benefit of easy day & getting letters so early (most in by 10 am) was that staff could watch film on 2014 class.

Finally, one more signing day photo, this one courtesy of Chad Rader of 810 WHB.

Basehor-Linwood High tight end Ben Johnson at today's signing day ceremony.

Basehor-Linwood High tight end Ben Johnson at today's signing day ceremony. by Matt Tait

11:31 a.m. Update:

It looks like Colton Goeas has signed and faxed his letter from Hawaii. That rounds out the list of expected signees, as all 14 guys who were supposed to sign today did in fact sign.

That's always good news for any program but certainly good news for KU's coaches, who like this class and feel good about the potential of the players they're bringing in.

From this point on, any news regarding KU pick-ups would certainly qualify as a surprise.

We'll have plenty more reaction and analysis throughout the day, including audio and reaction from KU coach Charlie Weis' 1 p.m. news conference.

For now, here's a quick look at Goeas and then I'm off to grab some lunch and get ready for the presser. Thanks for checking out the blog throughout the morning and be sure to check back this afternoon for much, much more.


Bio: 6-2, 245-pound linebacker from St. Louis High in Honolulu,. High school teammate of former KU target Reeve Koehler (offensive lineman who chose Arkansas) who packs a punch and plays a physical style. Chose Kansas over offers from Hawaii, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington State.

Most resembles: Joe Mortensen. Goeas is a physical player who lacks great foot speed but makes up for it with effort and ferocious energy. He might not come with the meanstreak and crazy look that Jo-Mo possessed, but it's not because of a lack of trying.

Potential impact: Think about guys like Ben Heeney and Jake Love. Both found their way onto the field and into key roles because of the way they sacrificed their bodies and played at one speed and without regard for their bodies. If Goeas can work himself into that kind of player and improve his speed, he'll have a chance to surprise in a year or two.

Prediction: Red-shirt.

10:46 a.m. Update:

Just got a text from linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore, who said he was about to fax his letter to KU.

MJM sent a follow-up text that simply read, "All smiles, man. All smiles." The guy has been looking forward to this day and this point in his life for a long time.

As soon as Jenkins-Moore becomes official, that will leave just Honolulu's Colton Goeas as the only committed member of the Class of 2013 still left to sign. With the time difference, Goeas should be coming up a little later, but I'm sure it'll be well before 1:00 p.m. because that's when KU coach Charlie Weis has scheduled his signing day press conference and I wouldn't think he would've set it for then if he thought he might not be able to talk about one of his signees.

Sit tight and we'll let you know as soon as Goeas' letter arrives.

Until then, here's more on Jenkins-Moore, my pick for the guy most likely to become a fast fan favorite in this group.


Bio: 6-3, 210-pound linebacker from Pierce C.C. in Woodland Hills, Calif., who describes his game as “relentless” and chose KU over offers from a dozen other BCS-conference schools including K-State, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Most resembles: No one. There have been a lot of good linebackers come through KU during the past 5-10 years, but none of them have the skill set that MJM brings to the table. He's a tenacious and physical presence who can play in space and run as well as any running back KU's had lately.

Potential impact: Huge. Has the look of an immediate starter and should significantly upgrade KU's speed and physicality at linebacker.

Prediction: Starter.

10:04 a.m. Update:

Linebacker Samson Faifili's letter of intent has been received by KU.

Faifili was definitely one of the more excited guys to sign that I talked to. Here's what he had to say a couple of days ago when asked about the anticipation of his big day.

"I am too excited. This is a big moment of my life and my career. I've been waiting for this exact moment for six years. The biggest and most important thing for me is that I can tell my mom and dad that they don't have to pay for school anymore. I cannot wait to have my name on the back of my jersey. And I can't wait to get things started at KU!"

Here's more on Faifili:

New KU linebacker Samson Faifili.

New KU linebacker Samson Faifili. by Matt Tait


Bio: 5-11, 240-pound linebacker from American River C.C. in Sacramento, Calif., committed to Kansas in mid-November, choosing KU over Hawaii, Iowa State, Nevada and Oregon State.

Most resembles: Steven Johnson. Faifili's one of those big boppers who plays with unparalleled passion and energy. Johnson, though not necessarily always known as a big hitter, could lay the wood and led the Jayhawks in tackles as a junior and senior merely off of effort alone.

Potential impact: Huge. Faifili is the type of linebacker who plays downhill and likes to hit. There's always room for a player like that. He should contribute immediately and could be a huge part of KU's defense as soon as 2013.

Prediction: Starter.

Faifili highlights:

9:53 a.m. Update:

Should be about 10 minutes out from Marcus Jenkins-Moore making it official, but I thought I'd pass along word that I just received about Spencer.

He will not be signing a letter of intent today but not because he has changed his mind or anything like that. It's merely a situation where, since he graduated early and enrolled at a four-year school, he's not allowed to sign a national letter of intent because he's no longer considered a prospect. He did, however, sign a financial aid agreement in December and, of course, is a member of the team and is already on campus.

Just more of a clarification than anything else. I didn't want people (like myself) sitting around waiting for Spencer to sign all day when he won't. Early graduates actually never end up singing letters of intent. It's just one of those weird and quirk rules but it does nothing to his chances of being on the team or playing.

Just for the heck of it (and because I already did it), here's a quick look at Spencer:


Bio: 5-10, 179-pound athlete from Woodrow Wilson High in Dallas. Played cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback in high school. May graduate early and enroll at KU in time for spring football.

Most resembles: Jake Sharp. Has great speed, is one of the strongest dudes his size in his class and has the ability and versatility to play a number of different positions. Also a very confident football player.

Potential impact: Serious. Spencer's just a true freshman but he already is on campus and will go through spring ball, which typically increases the chances for immediate playing time tremendously for freshmen. Rumor has it that KU's coaches would like to see Spencer on offense more than defense and that could mean slot receiver and/or running back.

Prediction: Solid offensive contributor.

Back to waiting...

9:36 a.m. Update:

Cross two more off the list or add them to it if that's how you roll.

Jon Kirby reporting that he confirmed fax sendings with juco wide receivers Rodriguez Coleman and Mark Thomas.

Here's a quick look at both guys, as well as the updated list:

Signed, sealed and delivered:
• Joey Bloomfield
• Ben Johnson
• Ishmael Hyman
• Isaiah Johnson
• Kellen Ash
• Jordan Darling
• Andrew Bolton
• Montell Cozart
• Kevin Short
• Rodriguez Coleman
• Mark Thomas

Of the players who were previously committed to KU, we're now down to Marcus Jenkins-Moore, Colton Goeas, Samson Faifili and Colin Spencer. And I can't see any of those four hitting a snag along the way.


Bio: 6-3, 195-pound wide receiver from Garden City C.C., who chose KU over Cincinnati and led the Jayhawk Conference with 64 receptions and 973 yards last season.

Most resembles: Dezmon Briscoe. Now, don't take that to mean that Coleman is going to be an all-Big 12 performer and an automatic NFL draft pick. He could be. But that's an awfully high ceiling. This comparison is merely based on their style of play. Coleman's a very fluid receiver who can make plays down the field and also has similar size to Briscoe.

Potential impact: Huge. It's hard to imagine him not having a role somewhere. He led the Jayhawk Conference in yards and receptions last season and that experience and his proven ability to make plays should give him a leg up on a lot of KU's receivers.

Prediction: Second or third WR.


Bio: 6-2, 210-pound wide receiver from Nassau C.C. in New York. Solid, physical wideout chose KU over UConn and Marshall.

Most resembles: Johnathan Wilson. There's nothing that flashy about Thomas but when surrounded by good talent he fits in, much the way Wilson did as the third receiver on the teams with Briscoe and Kerry Meier.

Potential impact: Given KU's need for quality bodies at the position, Thomas could work his way into a decent role quickly. Not getting to campus until June won't help his cause, but the opportunity to slide in as a rotation receiver this fall certainly figures to be there.

Prediction: Battling for a spot in the regular rotation.

9:17 a.m. Update:

And with that comes a big sigh of relief... Fort Scott Community College defensive back Kevin Short, who created a bit of a scare on Tuesday by flirting with New Mexico late, has signed and faxed his letter of intent and is now, officially, a member of the KU football program.

Short was definitely the biggest question mark heading into today, so getting this one locked up early is great news for the Jayhawks.

Here's a quick look at Short:


Bio: 6-2, 185-pound cornerback from Fort Scott C.C. Earned first-team NJCAA All-American honors last season and chose Kansas over multiple offers from BCS programs. Tuesday flirtations with New Mexico appeared to be much ado about nothing.

Most resembles: Bradley McDougald. Athletic, good ball skills and a ton of confidence. Short can play corner, safety and return kicks. He'll have to go to work in the weight room to become as productive as McDougald, but the potential certainly is there.

Potential impact: Solid. Again, there are all kinds of openings in that KU secondary and Short should be a guy who competes for regular playing time somewhere back there.

Prediction: On the field a lot, with KU playing nickel and dime coverages.

Short highlights:

9:09 a.m. Update:

Cozart's letter is in, which brings the total to eight. May hit a little lull here for the next hour as we wait on those guys out west to join the party.

Marcus Jenkins-Moore should be next. Told me he was signing at 8 a.m. Cali. time, which would be 10 a.m. here.

Here's the updated list:

Signed, sealed and delivered:
• Joey Bloomfield
• Ben Johnson
• Ishmael Hyman
• Isaiah Johnson
• Kellen Ash
• Jordan Darling
• Andrew Bolton
• Montell Cozart

8:57 a.m. Update:

Gotta figure we're getting close for Bishop Miege QB Montell Cozart. He told me the other day that he would have a signing party around 3 p.m. today but also said that he would be faxing his letter well before that.

I'm checking on his status right now.

Here's a quick look at Cozart, another local kid with tremendous talent and potential.

Local signees Jordan Darling, Montell Cozart and Ben Johnson at last year's season opener.

Local signees Jordan Darling, Montell Cozart and Ben Johnson at last year's season opener. by Matt Tait


Bio: 6-2, 180-pound quarterback from Bishop Miege High in Kansas City. Played high school football under current KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard.

Most resembles: Mark Williams. Like Williams, who was the man for KU's 10-2 team in 1995, Cozart is tall, lean, athletic and a true quarterback. He does a little bit of everything really well.

Potential impact: Many people have speculated that Cozart is a position change waiting to happen, but it sure seems like he'll get every opportunity to show he can play quarterback first. Most of his reps early in his career figure to be with the scout team, but any reps are better than no reps and a year or two of working with Scott Holsopple could do wonders for Cozart's chances.

Prediction: Red-shirt, unless he can beat out Darling for that third-string spot, which is certainly within the realm of possibility.

8:39 a.m. Update:

This may have made its way around already, but I'm also seeing reports that John Wirtel, one of the nation's top long snappers, will join Whitfield in becoming a preferred walk-on at KU.

Wirtel, who stands 6-3, 207, has performed well at many of those specialists camps and appears to be a very solid pick up.

Still waiting for more letters...

8:21 a.m. Update:

Looks like monster defensive end Andrew Bolton can be added to the official list. This never seemed in doubt, but getting it done is huge for KU. I've heard nothing but great things about this guy and many I've talked to have described him as an absolute beast.

Signed, sealed and delivered:
• Joey Bloomfield
• Ben Johnson
• Ishmael Hyman
• Isaiah Johnson
• Kellen Ash
• Jordan Darling
• Andrew Bolton


Bio: 6-3, 280-pound defensive end from Hinds C.C. in Raymond, Miss. Clocked at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Bolton also had offers from Iowa, LSU and Mississippi State.

Most resembles: No one. Not Jake Laptad, not Josh Williams, not Toben Opurum, not even Charlton Keith. Bolton plays at a speed and with a physical passion that few recent KU players have had.

Potential impact: Huge. Bolton has the look of an immediate starter and should significantly upgrade KU's ability to rush the quarterback. Even if he's not a starter, he'll play early and often.

Prediction: Starting strongside defensive end.

8:05 a.m. Update:

Jon Kirby over at is reporting that SM East QB Jordan Darling also has faxed in his letter, bringing this morning's total to six.

Never had much luck getting ahold of Darling.

Here's a quick look at the big, athletic Sunflower League QB.


Bio: 6-4, 226-pound quarterback from Shawnee Mission East High in Kansas City. Dominated summer camps and picked the Jayhawks over Kansas State.

Most resembles: Adam Barmann. Like Barmann when he arrived, Darling brings good size and great athleticism. His senior season at SM East left a little to be desired, but don't let that fool you. This kid has prototypical size, a big arm and huge upside.

Potential impact: It took both Michael Cummings and Turner Baty a while to get Weis' offense down last season, and those were two guys who already had been through the college football grind for a season. Darling's future is bright, but his impact seems to be a couple years out.

Prediction: Third-string QB who, like Turner Baty last year, will red-shirt if no one in front of him gets injured.

Signed, sealed and delivered:
• Joey Bloomfield
• Ben Johnson
• Ishmael Hyman
• Isaiah Johnson
• Kellen Ash
• Jordan Darling

7:57 a.m. Update:


Each year on signing day people ask about possible surprises. Naturally, fan bases at all schools would love to see one of those Top 10 guys who are still undecided pick their school and make it feel like they hit the jackpot.

At Kansas, the ceiling for such surprises is obviously a little lower, but the Jayhawks may have landed a guy who qualifies as a very pleasant surprised.

Michael Whitfield, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound “athlete” out of Marian High in Mishawaka, Ind., has Tweeted out the following message: “Next year. Lawrence.”

I haven't heard too much about Whitfield until today, but a little digging revealed that he went to the same school as KU long snapper Reilly Jeffers and he may be in line to join the program as a preferred walk-on.

The guy has good size, is regarded as a great athlete and earned all-conference honors as a running back as a senior.

Here's what his coach had to say about him before the start of the season:

"He's fast and he's very elusive," Marian coach Reggie Glon said. "Michael has put on some weight where he was minus a little bit on the inside run game, he's developed that. He's a dual threat running and catching the football."

Again, I realize this isn't the home run pick-up that all fans dream up, but this kid has some upside and, as we've seen, the coaching staff is simply doing all it can to add athletes, guys who can run and play in space. Whitfield appears to be one of those guys. It'll be interesting to see if he makes it here and, if he does, how he develops.

Here are some highlights:

7:41 a.m. Update:

Also hearing that LB Kellen Ash has faxed in, bringing the official total (so far) to five:

Signed, sealed and delivered:
• Joey Bloomfield
• Ben Johnson
• Ishmael Hyman
• Isaiah Johnson
• Kellen Ash

Here's a quick look at Ash:


Bio: 6-3, 194-pound linebacker from Parkway South High in Missouri. A three-star prospect, who committed to KU last April.

Most resembles: Courtney Arnick. I know we haven't seen Arnick play a down at KU yet, but we have seen film. And, like Arnick, Ash is one of those undersized linebackers who can fly.

Potential impact: KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo often talks about adding guys who can run and play in space. That, Campo says, is what it takes to compete in the Big 12. Ash certainly has the chance to be one of those guys, but he's also probably a year or two away.

Prediction: Red-shirt.

7:32 a.m. Update:

Just got a text from Iowa Western DB Isaiah Johnson, who said he's getting ready to sign. Here's a look at Johnson, who I think has a chance to be one of the bigger impact guys in this class.

Iowa Western DB Isaiah Johnson after making his commitment to KU official this morning.

Iowa Western DB Isaiah Johnson after making his commitment to KU official this morning. by Matt Tait


Bio: 6-1, 210-pound safety from Iowa Western C.C. Helped lead IWCC to a juco national title while leading the team with eight interceptions. Was named an NJCAA honorable mention All-American.

Most resembles: Justin Thornton. Thornton was a great athlete who had a natural ability to make plays when the ball was in the air. Johnson's the same type of player and, to KU's benefit, plays a little bigger than Thornton, who made it to the final cut with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent and had one of the more underrated KU careers in recent memory.

Potential impact: Enormous. Not only does Johnson have big-time ability and solid experience, but he also comes in at a time when jobs in the KU secondary are up for grabs.

Prediction: Starter.

Isaiah Johnson with KU coach Charlie Weis.

Isaiah Johnson with KU coach Charlie Weis. by Matt Tait

7:27 a.m. Update:

New Jersey prep star Ishmael Hyman, a 6-foot, 169-pound wideout who played in the International Bowl in Austin, Texas, last night is the latest to send his letter in.

Hyman signed and faxed from Austin, where he and several others who played in last night's all-star game were treated to a signing day breakfast by the International Bowl folks.

Here's a look at Hyman, who brings the total number of letters in to three:

Signed, sealed and delivered:
• Joey Bloomfield
• Ben Johnson
• Ishmael Hyman


Bio: 6-foot, 169-pound wide receiver from St. Vianney High in Holmdel, N.J. Lightning quick playmaker who earned MVP honors at the Chesapeake Bowl in December chose KU over offers from Boston College, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and others.

Most resembles: Charles Gordon/Daymond Patterson.

Potential impact: With the departure of Patterson and D.J. Beshears, there certainly seems to be an opening for a playmaker in the slot. Hyman has great wheels and is explosive. The only question will be if the guys who are here before him (think Tre' Parmalee, Colin Spencer) put enough distance between themselves and the dynmaic wideout before he gets to town.

Prediction: Seems like a good red-shirt candidate. But then again, so did Tre' Parmalee last year.

7:17 a.m. Update:

Ben Johnson video from YouTube.

7:08 a.m. Update:

Just for fun, as we wait for some of these central time zone guys to get started, here's what my signing day war room set up looked like not so bright but oh so early this morning.

Nothing fancy, but room to work. Thanks for checking out the blog!

Signing Day Central for Matt Tait in 2013.

Signing Day Central for Matt Tait in 2013. by Matt Tait

Here's new KU tight end Ben Johnson, of Basehor-Linwood High, in the Jayhawks' locker room during a recent visit.

Here's new KU tight end Ben Johnson, of Basehor-Linwood High, in the Jayhawks' locker room during a recent visit. by Matt Tait

7:01 a.m. Update:

Up next, I'm expecting to see something from local prospect Ben Johnson, a tight end from Basehor-Linwood High.

Johnson was the first in the class to commit to KU, way back in the February of 2012.

With that in mind, signing day has taken longer to arrive for Johnson than most. That's why he's so pumped about it finally being here.

"I will be signing as early as i can on Wednesday," Johnson told me recently. "I'm really excited to finally sign the paper and get this thing started. I committed over a year ago and I've been waiting for what feels like forever.. I just thank god for the opportunity he has put in front of me and am glad I get to play for the Jayhawks!


Here's a quick look at Johnson:


Bio: 6-5, 230-pound tight end from Basehor-Linwood High near Kansas City, Kan., was one of the first players in the class to commit.

Most resembles: Jordan Smith. Physically, Johnson, like Smith a season ago, looks ready to compete. He's big, athletic and can run and catch.

Potential impact: With a lot of experience ahead of him, Johnson faces and uphill battle to get immediate reps, but he provides KU with good depth and a pleasant future at the position.

Prediction: Red-shirt.

Your newest Kansas Jayhawk, offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield.

Your newest Kansas Jayhawk, offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield. by Matt Tait

6:46 a.m. Update:

Just got the above photo from Bloomfield. Looks sharp in that suit and cap. On to the next one, which should come in around 7 a.m.

The fun's just beginning!

6:16 a.m. Update:

Bloomfield, like many of these other guys, will be hosting a signing ceremony at his school around 3:15 p.m. this afternoon in the Fine Arts Center at his high school. But the official part should be over with any minute now.

Here's a nice YouTube feature from last summer on Bloomfield with a few highlights.

Original post, 6:01 a.m.

Good morning KU football fans. I hope you've got your coffee handy, maybe a nice pastry and are ready to hammer away at that refresh button. We're certainly going to keep you busy this morning.

It's hard to believe that another signing day already is upon us. It seems like not that long ago that we were sitting in Mrkonic Auditorium listening to KU coach Charlie Weis talk about the “new guys” he was bringing in and now we're already on to a second — perhaps even third, depending on your perspective — set of “new guys.”

This year's class figures to be one of the most entertaining to follow in recent memory. Who knows how many of these guys will pan out or become big-time players for KU, but the hype is certainly there and, it's safe to say that the group as a whole certainly does not lack confidence.

This morning, we'll be tracking the letters of intent of 15 KU commitments. Ten others already signed in December and many of them are on campus, taking classes and preparing for spring ball, which, by the way, is now less than a month out. Crazy!

As for the 15 guys who we're tracking this morning, it seems like things should be pretty straight forward for nearly all of them (famous last words, right?).

We already experienced a bit of a wildcard on Tuesday, when Fort Scott C.C. defensive back Kevin Short took to Twitter to announced he was switching his commitment, only to rethink it and stick with KU in the long run. If that's the only so-called “wrinkle” the Jayhawks experience during this year's signing day madness, that's not bad.

There, of course, is always something wild and crazy that pops up, be it a late commitment, a totally new name out of the blue or something unforeseen altogether. So, as we try to keep tabs on the guys we know are signing, I'll also be keeping an eye, ear and nose out for any other potential goings on.

With it just now hitting 7:00 a.m. on the east coast, some of the first letters could be on their way to the fax machines any minute. So, let's get after it.

By my calculations, Louisville, Kent., offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield, of Ballard High, should be one of the first members of the Class of 2013 to send his letter in to the football office.

Here's a quick look at Bloomfield. We'll have similar capsules on all of the signees throughout the morning, as well as quotes, photos and reaction from their big days. In addition, Weis is hosting a press conference at 1:00 p.m. CST.

Here we go!

Class of 2013 offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield is expected to be among the first KU commitments to fax his letter of intent to the KU football offices.

Class of 2013 offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield is expected to be among the first KU commitments to fax his letter of intent to the KU football offices. by Matt Tait


Bio: 6-6, 305-pound offensive tackle from Ballard High in Louisville, Ky., who chose KU over offers from Air Force, Colorado, Houston, Kansas State, San Diego State and Wyoming.

Most resembles: Riley Spencer. KU has not brought to campus too many high school lineman with the kind of size and athleticism that Bloomfield possesses. Spencer, who could be one of KU's starting tackles this fall, came in at 6-6, 270, and Bloomfield has 35 pounds on him.

Potential impact: It's rare for a true freshman offensive lineman to contribute right away, but with all kinds of openings on KU's offensive line, at both first- and second-string spots, there's a chance that Bloomfield, with a killer camp, could make his way into the mix. He's most likely a very promising piece for 2014 and beyond.

Prediction: Red-shirt.


nb4ku 7 years, 6 months ago

I've got my coffee(pastry out of the question as I'm on a diet) and ready for an exciting day as we welcome the newest members of Jayhawk football. Let the fun begin!

nb4ku 7 years, 6 months ago

BTW, let me be the first to thank you Matt for the hard work you'll be putting in today keeping us up to date.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Glad you're ready and thanks for the note. It's days like these that make me feel like I deserve a pastry or two... Enjoy!

Travis Warner 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt- Do you have any information on a place kicker? I know we already have Trevor Pardula inked. But from what I've read about him he is more of a punter. The very last thing I want to see next year is KU being forced to pass on 25 yard field goals.

This should be a fun day. JUCO's are a huge risk but KU is in need of a serious talent upgrade.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

There's a kicker from Hutch who is planning to walk on but has a good amount of talent. Michael Mesh is his name and he had a real nice career at Hutch. Should be able to compete for the job.

Jim Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

With this class and last years returners... I see room for some major improvement. We won 1 game so thats not saying a lot, but here are some reasons to be optimistic...

1. Weis year 2... The guys are more comfortable in a new situation. 2 years of Holsopple should also be good for player development.

2. The defence should be improved as long as our defensive backs are up to par. Combs and Marten could be immediate impact guys on the line.

3. I am concerned about the offensive line a bit but think that was a great area to target with junior college guys, which we did. Hopefully we can get 2-3 good lineman from Sterling, Dent, Spencer, Howard, Marten, and Admire.

4. Our passing game should get dramatically better. Heaps has to be an upgrade! McCay is a nice target, though will be rusty. Turzilli and Mundine had their moments as well. Hyman seems like a Juco guy who can come in an contribute.

5. James Sims... Enough said. The running game will be big again. Having Tony Pierson as your number 2 back is a nice luxury.

Then again, I looked at last season as was confident of 3-4 wins with a ceiling (if ALL the stars aligned) of 6. Appears my prediction skills may need sharpening...

Jim Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt Tait... Anything you see on my above statements that you take objection to? Anything you would add?

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Hyman's a high school guys, so I'm not sure how quickly he'll be able to contribute. Has some talent, though.

I think your point about the O-Line is the biggest. There is some concern there, but also some experience. Those guys are gonna have to be ready to go because without them not only does the passing game suffer but the running game also isn't as good.

I think that's probably the most important position to track this spring.

Jim Erickson 7 years, 6 months ago

Whoops... Thought Hyman was a Juco guy. I sometimes don't read good.

Thanks for the input!!!

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

He won't fax anything because if he's walking on there's no scholarship to hand out.

I haven't heard too much about him yet, but I'm looking into it.

panalytic 7 years, 6 months ago

Nice job Matt! Thanks for getting up early and keeping us up to date.

It will be a good day if we get all the players to sign that were expected, but now that we are here I'm hoping for a nice surprise too.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, you wouldn't be human if you weren't hoping for something out of nowhere... We'll see what happens!

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

Maybe that is an old photo, but Ben Johnson looks like he could really use an extra year in the strength and conditioning program before he's ready to see game action. Definitely needs to strengthen his base a little bit. If he wants to see the field, he's gonna have to pair his catching and running ability with strong blocking.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 6 months ago

What time did you start this morning Mr. Tait? and are you a coffee person?

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Alarm went off at 5:50 a.m. And, no, I'm not a coffee guy but I feel like I'm gonna want lunch around 10 a.m.

Crazy day. Lots of fun, though!

adamjhwkfan 7 years, 6 months ago

I normally work at 6AM.. alarm goes off at 5. You WILL be hungry by 10, even with breakfast!

Joe Baker 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow- Is Weiss recruiting Hyman's HS QB? That kid looks pretty good and could follow Heaps as the up and coming QB. I'm impressed with this group and the coaches seem really encouraged too.

Rock Chalk Weiss and Co

Joe Baker 7 years, 6 months ago

Hello Darling. Whoa, I likee what I see from this kid. He is 6-4 at 226 lbs. This kid is going to be a beast. His arm is strong and he can see over the line. He has great vision and presence in the pocket. I like his patience and decision making, doesn't make rash throws or doesn't seem to force much.

Great QB get and with Weiss' QB record, ie. Brady, this kid has bowl game all over him.

Mick Allen 7 years, 6 months ago

Saw him play twice. Free State High intercepted him 3 times and sacked him 5 or 6 times. Agree that he has great size, but so does Crist. He looked immobile to me. In my humble opinion he will not be the answer.
I believe he received too much preseason attention, mainly because he transferred from a high profile Texas high school.

Brian Skelly 7 years, 6 months ago

Good work Matt. Love your works and efforts with all of this. Keep it up !!!

Then ask your boss for a raise :)

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks. Glad you're enjoying it. Great traffic on here so far this morning. So much fun to see people get fired up about all this...

KGphoto 7 years, 6 months ago

So, I took my son to Jayhawk Night in Denver last night. It's a Colorado recruiting group that puts on an event to meet and greet with some alumni who grew up in CO. These people are passionate about KU. All grew up in CO but all now call Lawrence home. Some have lived there for 10 or 15 years since they graduated. Very nice, very fun people, and lots of them.

This was a great event for my kiddo. He's only a Junior, but at the end of the night, on the "How did we do" sheet he had to fill out, he circled KU as his "Top Choice" heading into his senior year.

So I am glad to announce, my son has verbally committed to KU for the class of 2014!

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

That's a cool story. Congrats! We need measureables, though: Height, weight, 40-time... Ha!

Never too soon to get going for next year!

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

Any word about who all may have been recruiting Michael Whitfield? Would be nice to see his yardage, TDs, and 40 time if available. It's kinda hard to get excited about a walk-on, especially without any info other than his HS coach saying he's a decent athlete.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm trying to find that. Tough to do a ton of research while also keeping the blog humming... But I'm on it. And I have asked around. The kid sounds like he's more than decent.

More to come.

dgless21 7 years, 6 months ago

Whitfield had 1800ish yards and 31 TDs last year according to Slant.

Supposedly about a 4.5 and 27 inch vert.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Good to know. That's definitely interesting, but I wouldn't read too much into it.... yet.

moliemolie 7 years, 6 months ago

Hey, Matt. Thanks for doing this. I seem to recall a couple of the juco guys having 3 years of eligibility left. Was Isaiah Johnson one of them? Thanks.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

He sure was. I think the guy could be a real player here.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Appreciate that. And I'm glad you guys are so into it. There are 500 people on this blog right now and it's 8:40 in the freakin' morning.

Love seeing people get fired up about this stuff! Have a great day!

Scott Wooten 7 years, 6 months ago

I'll be hitting the refresh button all day. I'm really excited about this class and believe they will give us an immediate impact. It's a great day to be a Jayhawk and greener pastures are on the horizon. ROCK CHALK fam!

JayDocMD 7 years, 6 months ago

JayhawkSlant reporting on Twitter that John Wirtel will walk on at KU. He is described as "one of the best long snappers in the nation."

JayDocMD 7 years, 6 months ago

JayhawkSlant also reporting Michael Mesh, "one of the top JUCO kickers in the nation", will come to KU as a preferred walk on.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Wirtel's a new name, but Mesh announced his news back in December. He's coming with a buddy, OL Colby Hamel. Here's a quote from Mesh in an update I did back when he announced his decision:

“Coach Weis said I had a good chance to get the field goal job, but I have to earn it,” Mesh told Brad Hallier of The Hutchinson News. “I’m going to get up there and just show them what I have and what I can do. Kansas is where I’ve wanted to play. I want to help them get back to being dominant in the Big 12.”

Should help the kicking game a lot.

JayDocMD 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the reminder and info - I remembered his name but somehow missed that he would be a walk on

Tony Bandle 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt..what are your thoughts about the TCU game tonight??? Just Kidding!!

Matt, isn't it great to see such enthusiasm and positive feelings regarding Kansas Football?

If nothing else, Charlie has rekindled that flame of hope for all of us Jayhawks. I was in school in the Pepper Rodgers era when we beat Nebraska at Lincoln, went to the Orange Bowl and generally had some great players.[Zook, Riggins, Douglas, Shanklin]

It would be nice to get back to that level again. Keep up the good work and enjoy the day!!

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Haha! I think KU rolls...

As for football, it's absolutely awesome to see this kind of enthusiasm. Makes the job a lot of fun. There are nearly 700 people on this blog right now and it's not even 9:30.

Definitely a fun day, even if it does start waaaaayyyy earlier than most of mine do.


kellerman411 7 years, 6 months ago

Wow, I really like the way the ball comes out of Jordan Darling's hand. Honestly, it reminds me a lot of Dayne Crist's release where the motion is deceiving to how much velocity is put on the ball. The release is nice and high too.

NebraskaJayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm stoked about all the defensive recruits this off season and the real possibility that we might actually field a defense that could literally disrupt the entire league's offenses. The three that I'm really excited about are Johnson, Bolton, and Combs. Man, I really can't think of a better recruiting class on the defensive side of the ball than this years. So looking forward to seeing what Campo can do with these guys...

kellerman411 7 years, 6 months ago

Don't forget Jenkins-Moore, dude is long, fast and mean.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

You got it. He'll sign his LOI today but he's been here and is expected to participate in spring ball.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 6 months ago

Nice to know we got Short (who I think will come up big)

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 6 months ago

I love the depth, the cordinator, the S&C coach and most important an offense that can kill some clock and get first downs to give our D a rest.

Darrell Alexander 7 years, 6 months ago

Was worried Short would back out. So far so good. Been a great year and considering KU's lack of success the last 4 years, this class is amazing.

hawkdds 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for all the hard work Matt, these posts show that KU is more than a basketball school and will support football with equal energy if we are just competitive. RCJH

machinegun 7 years, 6 months ago

Our rushing offense was outstanding last year and we can look forward to the same this year. But we were dead last in the Big 12 in wins, total points and passing offense. We need a big, pro-style QB who can pass the ball all day long, we need offensive linemen who can pass protect and we need several receivers who can run good routes and catch the ball on the fly.

tauck 7 years, 6 months ago

What is a "preferred" walk-on. Either you get a scholarship and get books, tuition, food and living paid for or you don't

ohjayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Typically a preferred walk-on is assured a spot on the roster (sans scholarship), while normal walk-ons are not assured of a place on the team.

CrystalJones 7 years, 6 months ago

Favorites so far: Bolton & Hyman. I share Cairo's enthusiasm about this class and the future of the program.

CardHawkFan 7 years, 6 months ago

If Faifili is anything like Steven Johnson, I'll take him. Not only did Johnson lead the team in tackled two years straight, but he also went from walk on to making and sticking on Tait's beloved Denver Broncos roster.

Matt, how late do you expect the last of these letters to be coming in (might have already answered, but thought I would ask)?

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

I'd say 11:00 or 11:30, noon at the latest. No way Weis would've pushed it too close with his presser set for 1 p.m.

All we're waiting on is Colton Goeas, who's in Hawaii but is supposed to sign first thing in the morning out there.

Micky Baker 7 years, 6 months ago

There is noone that works as hard as Matt Tait at Give the man a raise already.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't think there's any way you keep Heeney off the field, so if these two can become starters, I think you upgrade the position tremendously because guys who were starting for you last year (like Love and Kande) are now second-string guys who will still play, provide quality depth and allow for fresh bodies on the field at all times.

It's not a given, but I'm really impressed by both MJM and Faifili.

Bob Bailey 7 years, 6 months ago

Great recruiting and great talent! Now, can KU teach them tackling? Belt Buckle Rule, Adjust Route, and Wrapup!

HawkTronic 7 years, 6 months ago


Great work as always. Any chance you'd put together a Tait Two-Deep prediction wheel in the next week or two? I'd love your thoughts on how the team depth looks going into spring.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Absolutely. Been going through my mind all day. Look for that soon.

Ken Tomberlin 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt, according to your predictions it looks like we may have new starter coming in at 6 or 7 spots on defense - 2 linebackers, defensive end, CB and nickel back. Then add in Combs and Tavai (who is not technically in this recruiting class). Is that correct? Am I missing anything?

KGphoto 7 years, 6 months ago

I think you mean Ty McKinney instead of Tavai. Tavai played this last season while McKinney waited for some Trinity CC idiot to grade his course work.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Yep. If I had to line it up right now (without giving it much thought) I'd say it's this:

DE - Chris Martin DT - Ty McKinney DT - Marquel Combs DE - Andrew Bolton

LB - Marcus Jenkins-Moore LB - Ben Heeney LB - Samson Faifili

CB - Cassius Sendish CB - JaCorey Shepherd SS - Isaiah Johnson FS - Kevin Short

Not only is that nearly complete overhaul, but it's also a pretty impressive group. Time will tell.

David Meredith 7 years, 6 months ago

I am really excited to see MJM, Bolton, and Combs on the field, as well as Isiah Johnson, and maybe Short too next year. This gives the KU defense a chance to take a big leap next year.... Can't wait!

KGphoto 7 years, 6 months ago

I see your list, and raise you Chris Martin and Samson Faifili.

David Meredith 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes forgot about Martin! Anyone that is 6'5 and recruited by Florida is a big get for KU! And Fafilli seems to have a good head on his shoulders.

KGphoto 7 years, 6 months ago

Nooooo! I accidentally flagged your post. Total accident. Sorry.

I love Faifili's highlights and that they call him lil Troy. He actually does do that crazy blitz over the guard and center, diving right at the QB. Awesome if he pulls that off a few times while he's here.

Ben Fletcher 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt, Forgive me if this is non-news: Where are we on Ty McKinney? Is the reason there's no mention of him above (that I saw, anyhow) because he's already in Lawrence, or has he taken another direction?

Thanks for all the work; Rock Chalk

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, he's here. And coach said today that he's in great shape.

Jim Jackson 7 years, 6 months ago

I would say when all is said done, we will able to attribute a large part of KU's turnaround and the stablity of the "Dream Team" to Marquel Combs.

Tait, thoughts?

We went 1-11 last year; it is astonishing that these guys held true to their word when other BCS teams came calling.

Rock Chalk!! We're going bowling next year!

Tony Bandle 7 years, 6 months ago

It appears Coach Campos just got some surface to surface missiles to add to his arsenal on defense.

Not too much immediate help on the offensive side however. Still, with the hoped for upgrade at quarterback plus the strong running corps, I would guess a projected 5-7 record, although a big challenge, would not be beyond the realm of possibility....

......or did I just pull up to the Jayhawk Football Kool-Aid Stand and take a big drink??

kellerman411 7 years, 6 months ago

Kool-aid stand? Heck, you just opened a kool-aid bar where we are all drinking by fire hose...

No, shoot we should have won 3 or 4 this year. I think 5 is reasonable as long as the QB play is servicable.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm not drinking anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so sick of predictions! Let's crawl before we walk and walk before we run! We've yet to see any of these guys in a D1 uniform. I'm gonna reserve judgement until we play a real game!

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 6 months ago

Thaks for all of this work, Matt. Can't tell you how much I appreciate it. If you have time, how about a phoenetic spelling of Goeas and Faifilli.

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

Great call. Weis mentioned both of those... Here ya go:

Samson Faifili = Fye-fih-lee Colton Goeas = Go-Az

Andy Hess 7 years, 6 months ago

so, any details on the presser? the stream for it on KUAthletics is not working.

Seth Nesmith 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm drinking the koolaid!!!! I can't wait for next season and I can't wait to see what KU and KSU's records are heading into Thanksgiving weekend in Lawrence!! It could be a lot of fun and a lot happier holiday than last season. Hopefully we are playing for a lot more this november!!!!

dgless21 7 years, 6 months ago

Matt, how about a guess at the two deep with the new additions?

Matt Tait 7 years, 6 months ago

I'll get to that. Trust me. Gotta get a story written for tonight first. There's a ton of info and quotage to sift through... Good stuff, though.

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