Talent in Kansas? Big 12 football programs found plenty
With national signing day now in the rearview mirror, ESPN.com Big 12 blogger Jake Trotter recently scoured the conference's recruiting classes and found that 115 of the 229 players who signed with Big 12 schools this February were from Texas.
Big surprise, right? Of course not. But the state that ranked third on the list just might be.
Kansas, that's right the Sunflower State you all know and love, ranked third in the 2015 class with 13 athletes signing national letters of intent with Big 12 schools this season.
The Jayhawks, who finished with 24 players in their 2015 class, picked up two of those, with three-star Bishop Miege quarterback Ryan Willis and three-star Butler C.C. offensive lineman Will Smith inking with Kansas. Not surprisingly, Kansas State picked up the lion's share of that group, with six of the 20 signed players in K-State's 2015 class coming from Kansas.
All six of those — along with three others who Rivals.com lists as committed but not yet signed — are Kansas high school prospects, including Lawrence's own Scott Frantz, a Free State High offensive lineman, who had offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Miami (Florida), Minnesota, Missouri and Purdue among others.
Outside of those two Big 12 schools, Oklahoma State (3) and Iowa State (2) also plucked a few players out of the Sunflower State, with all five of their signees coming from the Kansas juco scene.
Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and roughly two dozen other schools also signed Kansas kids, most of those from the juco ranks. The combination of the prominent place in the Big 12 standings along with the attention given to Kansas prospects from conferences around the country only adds clarity to the reason first-year KU coach David Beaty and his staff are striving to make in-state recruits a big-time priority for the future of Kansas football.
"We want to do a good job of keeping the best players in the state of Kansas right here at home at their university. That is top priority for us, and we do that by building relationships not only with them but with their coaches and their parents and the families and the fans. We want to develop a walk-on program because we only get so many scholarships a year, and there's a lot of guys out there in the state of Kansas that want to be a part of their great program, and that walk-on program can be powerful. We want it to be the most powerful walk-on program in the country, and that's a goal of ours. We want to open the doors to more than just 25 a year of the great athletes that there are here in the great state of Kansas. We truly want this to become a Kansas identity football team. We're going to hit the state of Texas, we're going to hit the state of Oklahoma, we're going to hit the state of Missouri, but make no mistake, it'll be a Kansas identity football team." — DAVID BEATY, Dec. 8, 2014
Here's a look at Trotter's per-state break down of recruiting in the Big 12 in 2015:
- Texas — 115
- Florida – 19
- Kansas – 13
- Georgia – 11
- Louisiana – 11
- Oklahoma – 10
- California – 8
- Mississippi – 6
- Maryland – 5
- Ohio – 4
- Illinois – 3
- Iowa – 3
- Missouri – 2
- New Jersey – 2
- Virginia – 2
- West Virginia – 2
Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Canada all had one each.
For a complete look at some more interesting recruiting trends in the Big 12 this year, including how the conference's football programs are expanding their recruiting into new territory, check out Trotter's blog.