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Posts tagged with Recruiting

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:

  1. Texas — 115
  2. Florida – 19
  3. Kansas – 13
  4. Georgia – 11
  5. Louisiana – 11
  6. Oklahoma – 10
  7. California – 8
  8. Mississippi – 6
  9. Maryland – 5
  10. Ohio – 4
  11. Illinois – 3
  12. Iowa – 3
  13. Missouri – 2
  14. New Jersey – 2
  15. Virginia – 2
  16. 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.

Reply 9 comments from Lance Meier Sam Walters Kingfisher Michael Lorraine Texashawk10_2 Bville Hawk Rockn_chalkn_ku Matt Tait Jonathan Briles

Rise & Sign: 2015 KU football class ready to make it official on National Signing Day

New KU QB Carter Stanley rockin' his KU gear on his big day…

New KU QB Carter Stanley rockin' his KU gear on his big day… by Matt Tait

12:29 p.m. Update:

One more comprehensive look at the Class of 2015, with quotes from several KU coaches…

DE Dorance Armstrong – 6-4, 225, 3 stars, North Shore High, Galena Park, Texas – Powerful pass rusher chose Kansas over offers from nine other Power 5 Conference programs, including Cal, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Michigan State and Northwestern.

“Dorance is a young man who we are excited about in terms of what he brings, especially for our needs on our defense. He is a true athletic defensive end with a good pass rush and range. He will be a young man who can have a huge impact on the program once he reaches his full potential.” — Defensive Coordinator Clint Bowen

DB Shola Ayinde – 6-0, 168, 2 stars, George Ranch High, Richmond, Texas – Relatively new to the secondary, former WR chose Kansas after previously having been committed to Tulsa.

“I had him in camp and had him on my radar. He is a great kid and very explosive. I think his upside is years to come. I think he is still learning how to play cornerback and is raw. He is real fast, a 4.4 40-yard dash kid.” — DBs coach Kenny Perry

WR Jeremiah Booker – 6-3, 187, 2 stars, College Station (Texas) High – The College Station connection for David Beaty and Klint Kubiak came through here, as the two-star receiver picked KU over Nevada, New Mexico and interest from Oklahoma State.

“Jeremiah Booker has great size. He runs very well for a 6-foot-3 player. He has excellent ball skills and more than anything he is under the radar. He is from College Station, Texas—which doesn’t get recruited a whole lot. He has competed against the best in the state of Texas and succeeded against the best. We are very lucky to have him.” — WR coach Klint Kubiak

DB Denzel Feaster - 6-3, 195, 2 stars, Manor High, Austin, Texas - Late pick-up chose Kansas over offers from Miami (Ohio), North Texas and New Mexico.

“Denzel Feaster is a tall, rangy guy. He is one of those full-speed strike guys. When he comes downhill to tackle he doesn’t hit the brakes at all, he sticks his nose in there. He is new to the position, but shows a lot of potential to be one of the better safeties in the Big 12.” — D.C. Clint Bowen

OL Aaron Garza – 6-2, 287, 3 stars, Sherman (Texas) High – Previous Texas Longhorns commitment was one of the first in the class to commit to KU. He held offers from Arizona State, Auburn, USC, Baylor, Oklahoma State and others.

“He is a tough-nosed kid. He is a road-grader type of guy. He is big and strong. He loves the game. He has completely changed his body. He has lost a bunch of weight because it means something to him. He is smart, tough kid who just wants to get better. He is everything you look for in an offensive lineman.” — O-Line coach Zach Yenser

WR Chase Harrell - 6-4, 205, 2 stars, Hargrave High, Huffman, Texas - Signed this week after graduating early from high school and will be in town for spring practices. Picked KU over Houston and Kentucky.

“Chase is an extremely large human. He is imposing and has great length. He is a very physical, tough blocker which is something that is very hard to find at that position. He has great ball skills. He was one of the better players in Houston and in my opinion we got a steal.” — WRs coach Klint Kubiak

RB Taylor Martin - 5-10, 180, 2 stars, Dunbar High, Fort Worth, Texas - Picked Kansas over offer from Colorado State.

“Taylor stands out because he has great breakaway speed. He has good vision and a lot of natural running ability. We are really looking forward to him joining our program.” — Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell

OL Clyde McCauley – 6-5, 275, 2 stars, Bowie High, Arlington, Texas – Committed to Fresno State back in August, but KU cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry lured the big tackle to Lawrence. Also had offers from Louisiana-Monroe and San Diego State.

“Clyde’s ceiling is so high. He is long and athletic. He has more of a tackle body. He is a tough kid and that is what we are looking for to play on the edge. We think he can do that with his athletic ability and physicality. He is tough and can get out and play in space.” — O-Line coach Zach Yenser

DB Tyrone Miller – 6-0, 178, 2 stars, Saline (Michigan) High — Fast and physical safety initially drew interest from Michigan and Michigan State and chose Kansas because of bond with Michigan native and KU recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell.

“Tyrone is a very versatile athlete. He can play corner or safety. He has good cover skills and is an outstanding performer on special teams.” — Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell

WR Emmanuel Moore – 6-0, 190, 2 stars, Northwest High, Justin, Texas — First player to commit to Beaty chose KU over North Texas, SMU and Minnesota.

“He is a 6-foot-0, 200-pound wide receiver who runs like a running back after he catches the ball. He is a slot receiver who also does kick returns. He has the most strength of anyone in our class as far as the skill positions go. He is a very powerful guy and we are lucky to have him.” — WR coach Klint Kubiak

LB Osaze Ogbebor — 6-1, 210, 2 stars, Heritage High, Frisco, Texas — Lone linebacker in 2015 class — pronounced Oh-saws — picked KU over New Mexico State, Tulsa and UTEP.

“Osaze is a 210-pound kid who runs the 100-meter dash in track. He doesn’t only run it, but he runs it well. He has great speed and plays with a physical toughness about him. He is a good tackler and a smart young man that has great upside to him. He is a perfect fit for the Big 12.” — D-Line coach Calvin Thibodeaux

DB Marnez Ogletree - 5-10, 190, 2 stars, Fullerton College - Chose KU the night before signing day and picked the Jayhawks over offers from Boise State, Indiana and others.

“He is going to be the total package from a return guy to a defensive back. He was a junior college kid and already has a leg up on a lot of these guys and has played against a lot of athletic kids out in California. He has great speed and comes from a program in Atlanta that has put out some real good corners. He is a physical kid and knows how to tackle. He is already at 200-lbs and is real fast.” — DBs coach Kenny Perry

DB Shaq Richmond – 6-0, 180, 3 stars, Timberview High, Arlington, Texas — Committed to KU without making a campus visit after being wooed to town by Mitchell. Picked Kansas over Louisville, New Mexico, SMU and UTEP.

“He comes from a good program in Mansfield Timberview. He is a rangy corner and his upside is unbelievable. Right now he is about six-foot tall and 185-lbs. He is a physical kid with good ball-playing skills. I think he is going to be a contributor early for us on defense.” — DBs coach Kenny Perry

WR Steven Sims – 5-10, 165, 2 stars, Travis High, Richmond, Texas — Known as a nifty play-maker in space, Sims picked KU over offers from McNeese State, Southeast Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin.

“Steven Sims is a slot receiver who has probably the best shiftiness of any of the players in the city of Houston. He was a runner up for offensive player of the year in the city and there is a reason for that. He has great athletic ability and ball skills and you can’t tackle him in a phone booth.” — WRs coach Klint Kubiak

QB Carter Stanley – 6-2, 188, 2 stars, Vero Beach (Florida) High — Dual-threat prospect who committed to KU in mid-January chose the Jayhawks over UConn and late interest from Penn State, Miami (Florida) and Texas Tech.

“Carter is a great kid, who comes from a great family. He is very competitive and is kind of a late bloomer of sorts in terms of the starting quarterback role. He paid his dues and when he got the reins, he took it. We are very excited for what he can do to our offense. He is a big, tall kid, thick, and can run. He throws the ball well and will be able to create a lot of mismatches for defenses.” — Linebackers coach Kevin Kane

TE Jace Sternberger – 6-4, 225, 2 stars, Kingfisher (Oklahoma) High — Two-way player who is versatile enough to play in the H-Back role chose KU over offers from New Mexico, Sam Houston State and South Dakota.

“He is 6-4, 220 pounds and very athletic. We want to get him the ball in space so that when he is flexed out away from the formation he creates a very tough match up for defenses in that he is bigger and more physical than a secondary player and he faster and more athletic than an outside backer. That, offensively, is very intriguing and we are excited to find ways to get him the ball. He is very physical so in the backfield when he is attached to the formation he is physical enough to kick out or seal in the run game which again creates an advantage for the offense.” — Special Teams coach Gary Hyman

QB Ryan Willis – 6-4, 201, 3 stars, Bishop Miege High — First player to commit in KU's 2015 Class, the No. 3-rated pro style QB in Kansas chose KU over Illinois, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wyoming.

“Ryan is a very smart quarterback. I love the way he manages a game. I love the way he gets the ball out of his hand. He finds his matchups down the field and finds his open receivers. He knows where he is going to go with the ball before the ball is snapped. He is a good enough athlete to get himself out of trouble with his feet. I was very impressed with his ability to get the ball out of his hand to his best players as fast as possible.” — Offensive Coordinator Rob Likens

10:36 a.m. Update:

All right, well that was fast. I've never seen a recruiting class wrap up so quickly and easily like the 2015 crew at KU.

As I mentioned earlier, I think that's a great sign about this coaching staff's ability to not only get these guys to commit to Kansas but also to get them excited about signing and keep them from looking around elsewhere at the last minute.

Signing Day can be an incredibly stressful day for a coaching staff but I'm guessing it was all smiles in the KU football offices this morning. It does not seem like those guys had to worry about a single player.

Now, that's not to say they got every guy they targeted or that this is a can't-miss class. But it speaks a great deal to the bond these guys were able to create with the new Jayhawks and, when you consider that they had less than two months to establish those bonds, that's pretty impressive.

OK, enough patting the staff on the back. Let's get into the nuts and bolts of this class and break things down a little bit.

Here's my very early, very raw look at a few categories that people always find interesting and find themselves asking around signing day. Take it with a grain of salt and remember that it's all based on watching some film and making a few phone calls.

Top 5 Juco Prospects in KU's 2015 Class

1. Brandon Stewart – CB – Advanced cover skills and the size to handle any type of wide receiver.

2. Bazie Bates IV – S – Solid player who played both corner and safety and could handle any number of roles in the secondary. He'll play.

3. Marnez Ogletree – CB – Late pick-up has KU coaches pretty excited. Like Stewart, he could easily emerge as a starting cornerback and also may factor into the kick return game.

4. Jayson Rhodes – OL – KU's need at tackle is significant and the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Rhodes has played there his entire life.

5. Ke'aun Kinner – RB – With Avery, Mann and Cox already back there, the need for another running back to emerge is not necessarily that great. But Kinner has wheels, is shifty and is hard to bring down. Red-shirting him wouldn't be the worst thing for the program.

Top 5 High School Prospects in KU's 2015 Class

1. Dorance Armstrong – DE – Three-star pass rush specialist already seems physical enough to play college ball. Now just needs to show he can handle the mental demands of playing defense in the Big 12.

2. Aaron Garza – OL – Former Texas commitment has solid written all over him. With time to develop, could easily become a 3- or 4-year starter.

3. Carter Stanley – QB – Stanley didn't get a ton of interest early on, but some bigger schools came calling late. Mobility sets him apart and he appears to have supreme confidence in his game. Could easily see him pushing for starting job right away.

4. Tyrone Miller – S – Good mix of fast and physical, Miller has played safety and cornerback and has the size to adjust quickly.

5. Steven Sims – WR – A couple of recruiting analysts I talked to who specialize in scouting Texas said this kid is ready to play in the Big 12 right now.

5 Players who I see playing right away

1. Brandon Stewart – CB – KU lost two quality corners to graduation and a third if you count the often-hyped Kevin Short. Starting spots are available.

2. Marnez Ogletree – CB – KU lost two quality corners to graduation and a third if you count the often-hyped Kevin Short. Starting spots are available.

3. Chase Harrell – WR – KU is looking for receivers to emerge and his frame (6-4, 205) and early enrollment should give him a chance to get out there quickly.

4. Bazie Bates – DB – Too talented to keep off the field. He came to KU for the chance to play right away and he'll find it.

5. Dorance Armstrong – DE – Questions remain at the edge rusher spots and even though KU has options here, very few of them are proven, which gives Armstrong a shot to compete on an even playing field.

5 Players who need time but have solid potential

1. Cam Durley – OL – Has limited experience as a football player but the kind of raw tools that make coaches salivate. 6-6, 285, 78-inch wing span and good feet.

2. Clyde McCauley – OL – Clyde “The Glide” as he calls himself has a huge frame, good feet and comes from a big time prep program. If he's allowed to spend his first year in Lawrence getting stronger and adjusting to college ball, he could be a beast during his red-shirt freshman season and beyond.

3. Jeremiah Booker – WR – At 6-foot-3, Booker is one of the rare receivers in the program with that kind of height. Given that Beaty & Company are going with the Air Raid attack, there's a place for a guy like this once he gets a little stronger.

4. Taylor Martin – RB – Drew interest from TCU, Illinois and K-State. That should tell you what kind of player we're talking about. Now he just needs to adjust to the college grind and wait for his turn.

5. Jace Sternberger – TE – Classic Oklahoma kid who was tough enough to play defensive end in high school. There are a couple of players on the depth chart ahead of him, so time will help, but Sternberger's a great athlete with good size who might remind some of Derek Fine, another Okie.

Position this class helped the most: DEFENSIVE BACK – There's enough talent in this class alone to field a starting secondary. However, with safeties Isaiah Johnson and Fish Smithson back, and young cornerback Matthew Boateng still emerging, the added help in the defensive backfield could make the loss of JaCorey Shepherd, Dexter McDonald and Cassius Sendish easier to swallow.

Position this class helped the least: DEFENSIVE LINE – Armstrong looks like a nice player in the making and juco transfer Jacky Dezir might be able to get onto the field quickly since he'll be here in time for spring ball, but there's not another D-Lineman in the class and the limited number is the issue.

The Beat Goes On: RUNNING BACK - Reggie Mitchell did his thing once again and landed two pretty quality running backs in this class. When you look at DeAndre Mann, Corey Avery and Taylor Cox all in the mix this fall and the possibility of Traevohn Wrench coming back to KU next year, the future of the running back position continues to be bright and should be a strength of future KU teams.

How 'bout those names: The KU coaches were not shy about adding some interesting names to the roster. Whether you're talking about Nigerian-rooted names like Shola Ayinde and Osaze Ogbebor or funky first names like Dorance, Bazie and another Ke'aun (following in the footsteps of Keon Stowers and Keyon Haughton), this crew has plenty of names that'll keep broadcasters on their toes.

8:51 a.m. Update:

Here's the scoop on OL Cam Durley. He told me last night that he didn't think he would sign this morning because his school wanted to do something for him later in the week. Sounds like it'll be official on Thursday or Friday.

From what I've been able to gather, that's just fine with the KU coaching staff and the only thing it will delay is their ability to talk about him at today's press conference and tonight's signing day party at Abe & Jake's. But that's small potatoes compared to the opportunity to land a guy with the kind of potential that Durley has.

They are over the limit of 24 by one and I can only assume that that means one of these guys is going to be a gray shirt, which is a player who reports to campus with everyone else but pays his own way that first semester and does not get to have anything official to do with the program until the spring semester. It basically gives you a chance to get a kid one semester early and, in this case, is the equivalent of a 2016 recruit graduating high school early and getting to campus in time for next spring the way Chase Harrell has for this spring.

So that's it for this morning. Everyone who was expected to sign and send their letters to KU has done so. Again, just an impressive feat to get all of those letters by 8 a.m. or so.

Stay right here throughout the morning for more feedback on this class as well as any photos and reaction from recruits that might trickle in. I'm expecting to get several and will definitely jump back in here with some more thoughts on the crew KU just locked up.

As for the hard part, though, that's a wrap. Now the fun begins of analyzing these guys and sharing some of the nuggets I was able to get from them during the past couple weeks.

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
WR Chase Harrell
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza
QB Ryan Willis
DB Shaq Richmond
TE Jace Sternberger
RB Taylor Martin
OL Clyde McCauley
WR Emmanuel Moore

8:41 a.m. Update:

Just ran across this photo of Denzel Feaster on a KU Football account. Good look at the young man's size. Beaty's not the biggest dude, but he's not tiny either. Feaster was a big-time pick up.

New KU safety Denzel Feaster with head coach David Beaty during a recent visit.

New KU safety Denzel Feaster with head coach David Beaty during a recent visit. by Matt Tait

8:21 a.m. Update:

Here's the official announcement from Marnez Ogletree, which came about 25 minutes ago… He's back home in Lawrenceville, Georgia, which is why he was able to sign and send so early despite having played his juco ball out in California.

None by Marnez Ogletree™

8:13 a.m. Update:

KU has added WR Emmanuel Moore to its list — he was one I couldn't track down — so that brings us to 17 and I've got a call in to O-lineman Cam Durley, who just freakin' committed yesterday, but it looks like his letter has been sent too. When I talked to him yesterday, he said he was planning on sending it as early as he could but still had to talk to his coaches and everything to make sure of all of the plans and details. Can't blame him. Things moved pretty fast for that guy in the past day or two, but he should wind up being a pretty nice pick-up.

I think the linemen they got in this class are really impressive. They might not be guys that come in and wow you right away, but if they're able to red-shirt and develop at the proper pace, you could be looking at multiple 3- or 4-year starters in this group, with Garza, McCauley and Durley all having tremendous potential. The best part about that is a couple of them are tackles, which KU desperately needs.

I also like all three of the juco O-linemen who signed in December and think D'Andre Banks, Will Smith and Jayson Rhodes could all factor in right away. But, as so many people have pointed out so often — none more often than our own Tom Keegan — the best way to improve an offensive line is by signing high school kids and letting them develop. KU has taken a nice step forward in that department with this class.

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
WR Chase Harrell
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza
QB Ryan Willis
DB Shaq Richmond
TE Jace Sternberger
RB Taylor Martin
OL Clyde McCauley
WR Emmanuel Moore

7:59 a.m. Update:

Just got a text from Clyde "The Glide" McCauley, KU's new 6-5, 275-pound offensive lineman who has a killer nickname (especially for a man that big). His letter is in. That leaves just one I have yet to confirm, but I think it's in. Gonna do some searching around real quick to make sure.

What an unreal morning.

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
WR Chase Harrell
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza
QB Ryan Willis
DB Shaq Richmond
TE Jace Sternberger
RB Taylor Martin
OL Clyde McCauley

Clyde McCauley film:
http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1724177/clyde-mccauley

7:54 a.m. Update:

This truly is insane. Not even 8 a.m. and all of the letters are just about in. Credit KU coach David Beaty and his staff for locking these kids up and making them feel so good about their commitments that they wanted to sign ASAP.

In years past, we've often been waiting on letters to arrive at 11 a.m. or even later. Sometimes it has gone into the next day with a couple of guys. Not today, though. Wake up, sign, send it in and then go party with your friends and family. That's been the M.O. for this year's class, and, although that does not really translate to football or the playing field, it shows you, ever so slightly, that these guys are reliable and determined. Good sign. I'm in awe. Haven't even had time to fire up my power breakfast yet.

Here's some more film and the updated list…

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
WR Chase Harrell
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza
QB Ryan Willis
DB Shaq Richmond
TE Jace Sternberger
RB Taylor Martin

7:46 a.m. Update:

I've heard from a lot of these guys via text message this morning and almost all of them got up early to sign their letters as soon as they could and will have some sort of ceremony at their school later in the day.

That's when their friends, family members, coaches and teachers will be there with the balloons and cake and all the cameras. A bunch of these dudes said they'd send me photos from their signing celebrations when they take them. Some of them are schedule for 10:30 or 11 a.m. and others won't be until the end of the school day. Either way, you can bet these guys are feeling pretty good walking around the halls of their schools rockin' their KU gear and big smiles.

KU added a couple more names to the official list, so here's an update and some more film…

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza
QB Ryan Willis
DB Shaq Richmond
TE Jace Sternberger

Shaq Richmond:
http://www.hudl.com/athlete/4693296/highlights/182023377

7:39 a.m. Update:

Add another QB to KU's official list of signees… Nearby prospect Ryan Willis, from Bishop Miege High, who was the first player to commit to KU in this recruiting class way back last summer has made it official and sent his letter to Kansas.

None by Ryan Willis 5⃣

Willis had a monster season last fall and has the size and arm strength to play in the Big 12. He and Carter Stanley spent some time together during last weekend's visits and it'll be very interesting to see how those guys push each other and develop together in the program. Stanley's more mobile than Willis, but Willis has the bigger frame coming in.

Here's a quick look at some film on Willis…

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza
QB Ryan Willis

7:31 a.m. Update:

Just got confirmation that Osaze Ogbebor (pronounced Oh-saws) and Dorance Armstrong have sent their letters to KU, as well.

So far, it's been pretty smooth sailing for KU, which has received letters of intent from more than half of the expected signees. That's a pretty good success rate for any program 30 minutes into signing day.

Here's a quick look at some Ogbebor and Armstrong film as well as the updated list of confirmed letters.

Osaze Ogbebor:
http://www.hudl.com/athlete/838159/highlights/210146407

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde
LB Osaze Ogbebor
DE Dorance Amstrong
OL Aaron Garza

7:25 a.m. Update:

As expected, the letters are starting to come in one after the next right now. Always a good sign for a program when the kids are so fired up to sign that they do it within the first 15 or 20 minutes they're allowed to. Takes a lot of the drama and stress out of what can be a crazy day.

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster
WR Steven Sims
WR Jeremiah Booker
DB Shola Ayinde

Here's some more film from three of the latest confirmed signees…

Steven Sims:

Shola Ayinde:
http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1370714/highlights/170830377

Jeremiah Booker:
http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1379408/highlights/166593375

7:17 a.m. Update:

KU has really stepped up its game this year… Usually, the university and football offices are the last to announce the commitments because they have to get verification from so many places on campus, but KU's keeping up with the rest of us so far this year.

Here's another from the KU Twitter account, as hard-hitting safety Denzel Feaster (what a great name, right?!?) is now official, as well.

None by Kansas Football

Here's a look at some of Feaster's highlights. No doubt in my mind that this guy could step in and play right away.

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster

7:08 a.m. Update:

Still nothing on Ogletree's Twitter page, but the official Kansas Football Twitter account just Tweeted out his name and film. Doesn't get more official than that, so I'm adding him to the list…. Again, this guy sounds like a very nice pick-up. Looking forward to learning more about how he got into the class from Coach Beaty later today.

None by Kansas Football

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller
DB Marnez Ogletree
DB Denzel Feaster

7:01 a.m. Update:

While we're waiting for more letters to roll in, I wanted to make sure you all saw this photo of WR Chase Harrell, who, somewhat unexpectedly signed with the 2015 class early and is enrolled at KU this semester and will participate in spring practices.

It's just one photo, but I think you can see how good the 6-4, 205-pound wideout's frame looks in this photo. With that raw build and his early arrival, Harrell has positioned himself very nicely to be a factor in a wide-open receiving corps that will need more than a couple of guys to step up.

Class of 2015 WR Chase Harrell, who graduated high school early and will participate in spring practices at KU.

Class of 2015 WR Chase Harrell, who graduated high school early and will participate in spring practices at KU. by Matt Tait

6:53 a.m. Update:

Now's where it gets interesting. With so many kids signing in the Central Time Zone, things could get going fast and furious here once we get into the 7 o'clock hour in the Midwest.

Consider it the first sign of competition out of a group of players who seem to be very competitive and interested in nothing more than showing up, working hard and having a lot of fun.

This class is not the most impressive class you'll ever see on paper, but I've been pretty impressed with the attitude of the guys I've talked to (probably 10 or 12 of the 17 expected to sign today). They all seem fired up for the opportunity and focused on proving themselves. To me, it's exactly the kind of class that KU should be getting right now and exactly the kind of class that KU fans are going to have to get used to seeing until the wins start coming on a more regular basis.

Again, it's a lot of 2 & 3 star guys — mostly 2-stars, actually — but that's hardly the end all, be all of these guys as college football players.

From here, it'll be on the coaching staff to coach 'em up and develop them and the players themselves to buy in and put the work in to become legit Big 12 players. Not all of them will succeed. But, like I said, I've been pretty impressed with how determined these guys sound.

Get ready for the next wave… Tick, tick, tick, tick…

6:43 a.m. Update:

Just received this photo from Carter Stanley, decked out in his KU gear for the big signing…

New KU QB Carter Stanley rockin' his KU gear on his big day…

New KU QB Carter Stanley rockin' his KU gear on his big day… by Matt Tait

6:31 a.m. Update:

Things have officially gotten under way. I've heard from Stanley and Miller and things seem to be looking good for Ogletree, who definitely would qualify as a bit of a signing day surprise.

That would be a pretty big pick up for a guy with some pretty good film.

New KU cornerback Marnez Ogletree during his official visit to campus. (Twitter photo)

New KU cornerback Marnez Ogletree during his official visit to campus. (Twitter photo) by Matt Tait

Signed, Sealed & Delivered:
QB Carter Stanley
DB Tyrone Miller

6:11 a.m. Update:

We're officially in the 7 o'clock hour on the east coast and just waiting for confirmation from Carter Stanley and Tyrone Miller about their letters.

While we wait, here's a quick look at their highlight films for those who haven't taken a minute to check them out.

TYRONE MILLER, 6-0, 178, 2-star Safety:

CARTER STANLEY, 6-2, 188, 2-start Quarterback
http://www.hudl.com/athlete/2139724/highlights/196298375

I talked to Stanley last night and he said the amount of support and love he had received from KU fans since the day he committed had been overwhelming. His plan was to sport his Kansas Jayhawks hat and a Jayhawk tie he picked up during his official visit while signing his letter of intent this morning.

5:47 a.m. Update:

One of the more interesting things that will be worth tracking this morning is the status of junior-college cornerback Marnez Ogletree.

The 5-10, 190-pound DB from Fullerton C.C. in California has not officially committed to KU but has hinted that he might wind up signing with the Jayhawks today. Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com reported late Tuesday night that Ogletree was expected to ink with Kansas today but added that he could not confirm that 100 percent.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on, given the fact that the 2015 class already appears to be full. Should Ogletree sign with Kansas, it could either bump someone else from the list (unlikely) or be a gray shirt situation (more likely).

Like I said, definitely worth tracking because Ogletree, who also had offers Boise State, Fresno State, Indiana, Utah State and others, is a guy who could make an immediate impact at a position of need.

Carter Stanley, one of KU football's newest quarterbacks out of Vero Beach, Florida, figures to be one of the first to make his commitment official on national signing day. (Photo courtesy Hobie Hiler/Special to Treasure Coast newspapers)

Carter Stanley, one of KU football's newest quarterbacks out of Vero Beach, Florida, figures to be one of the first to make his commitment official on national signing day. (Photo courtesy Hobie Hiler/Special to Treasure Coast newspapers) by Matt Tait

Original Post 5:33 a.m.

With 13 of the commitments expected to sign with the Kansas University football program this morning calling Texas home, the KU fax machines figure to be working overtime and could run the risk of getting jammed.

OK, maybe that whole doomsday jammed-up scenario is a bit of a reach. After all it is 2015 and technology — along with the common sense of having guys send their letters to multiple fax machines — have come a long way, but it still baffles me and just about anybody else who covers recruiting that the fax machine still plays such a prominent role in one of college football's biggest days.

Anyway, getting back to the KU commitments, with all of those Texans sending their letters from the Central time zone, this thing, provided it all goes smoothly and there are no surprises, could wind up being one of the quickest recruiting mornings in recent memory.

Remember, in the recent past, with former KU coach Charlie Weis' classes, the letters of intent came from all over the map, sometimes even as far away as Hawaii. Today, even with the non-Texas prospects who are signing, you're only looking at two athletes who will be signing outside of the Central Time Zone — Vero Beach, Florida quarterback Carter Stanley and Saline, Michigan defensive back Tyrone Miller.

I talked with Stanley Tuesday night and he said he was planning on signing and sending his letter of intent at 7 a.m., his time, 7:15 a.m. at the latest. That's 6:00-6:15 a.m. here, so it seems likely that Stanley's will be the first letter KU receives.

It could be a race between Stanley and Miller, though, because the Michigan prospect also said he thought he would sign his letter as early as possible. Both athletes will have separate ceremonies at their respective schools later in the day, with Miller's planned for 1:30 p.m. (12:30, Lawrence time) in the auditorium and Stanley's at 11 a.m. (10, Lawrence time).

Stay logged in throughout the morning right here for feedback, reaction, highlights and photos from KU's latest recruiting class.

It's been one of the tougher classes to track down, but I think I got to 10 or so of the 16 guys signing today so the morning should be filled with interesting tidbits and great visuals.

For those of you who might have missed it — or just not come across it yet — here's a look at the latest action in the class, as Huffman High wide receiver Chase Harrell graduated early and enrolled at KU in time for the spring semester and mid-year transfer M.J. Mathis, who signed back in December, no longer appears to be headed to Lawrence. In his place, KU secured a commitment from 6-foot-6, 275-pound Houston Christian offensive lineman Cam Durley, who also told me he was expected to sign bright and early this morning.

Here's our player-by-player look at KU's current recruiting class, which includes the seven mid-year guys (remember, no Mathis) who signed letters of intent back in December:

And here's a neat new feature from 24/7 Sports that tracks the national landscape of this year's recruiting classes. Keep an eye on it all day, as it figures to change with any late-breaking news or surprises that are bound to happen, maybe not at KU, but you know it'll happen somewhere.

Reply 28 comments from Dirk Medema Micky Baker Bryce Landon Plasticjhawk Gerry Butler Kenneth Hillman Texashawk10_2 Catsandwich Rockn_chalkn_ku Jonathan Briles and 8 others

Busy week for Beaty produces lengthy list of visitors for big recruiting weekend

Kansas University football recruiting.

Kansas University football recruiting.

Newly hired Kansas University football coach David Beaty has not spent his first week on the job rearranging the office furniture or hanging up his favorite photos by his desk. There will be time for that later.

The past week has been spent tracking talent, visiting coaches and lining up an impressive list of visitors for this weekend, the final big recruiting weekend before the next dead period. With 12 players in the Class of 2015 already committed, KU has room for about 12 more. Many of the visitors who will be in town this weekend are high school prospects, which is in line with what Beaty said would be the foundation upon which the KU program was built during his time in town.

Two of this weekend's visitors — WR Kevin Thomas and QB Ryan Willis — already have committed to Kansas, so, even if KU were to land all of the guys it brings in this weekend, it would leave the new coaching staff room to add at least a couple more players.

This weekend's visit list is heavy on offensive linemen and wide receivers — two areas of great need for the Jayhawks — but it's not just the names of the players or their place in the rankings that is impressive about this group. The more impressive part is that Beaty was able, in such short time, to get so many guys to committ to campus visits so quickly. The state of Kansas is also well represented, with three of the 11 guys coming from Kansas high schools, an area Beaty said would be a top priority moving forward.

Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com reported earlier this week that several Texas high school coaches had reached out to Beaty about some of their players who may have been a little overlooked thus far in the recruiting process, and it's that kind of pedigree that had many on the search committee excited about the idea of hiring Beaty in the first place. The fact that it has started to pay off in his first week on the job is merely a bonus.

Of course, just getting them here is only half of the battle. Beaty and company still have to get these guys to commit and, even if they do, the players themselves still have to show up and pan out. There's time for that, though.

Here's a quick look at the guys coming in for a visit this weekend, according to Rivals.com's visit tracker:

• Kyle Ball, 6-2, 231 D-End, Shawnee Mission East
The two-start prospect picked up an offer from KU during Clint Bowen's interim term and helped lead the Lancers to a state title in the process. Big, physical and athletic all over the field, Ball has offers from Air Force and South Dakota State and also recently made an unofficial visit to Kansas State.

• D'Andre Banks — 6-3, 325, OL, Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College
Three-star offensive guard currently has offers from Louisiana-Lafayette, Utah State and Kansas. Also received early interest from Florida State and Illinois.

• Colton Beebe – 6-2, 252, LB, Piper High
Another local kid, Beebe has been closed in the sub-4.8 range in the 40-yard dash and also bench presses 315 pounds and owns a 4.13 grade-point average. The two-star prospect has offers from Air Force, Minnesota and Kansas. He's been looking forward to visiting KU since receiving an offer in September and said throughout the season that he was impressed by what Clint Bowen had done with the team.

• Xavier Castille – 5-11, 195, WR, Rockwall (Texas) High
Two-star receiver with a good build and excellent speed has all kinds of offers from mid-major type programs including Uconn, Illinois State, Memphis, Nevada, Texas State, Tulsa and UTEP along with KU and Washington. Under-the-radar wideout is known for good hands and crisp routes.

• Arico Evans – 6-2, 190, Athlete, Hillcrest High, Dallas
Two-star prospect has offers from KU, Indiana, New Mexico, New Mexico State, TCU, Texas Tech and Troy. This week's contact was the first Evans had received from Kansas, but he said he was very interested because of his high school coach's close bond with Beaty.

• Brandon Martin – 6-3, 185, WR, Prime Prep Academy, Dallas
Another prospect from the Deion Sanders school, this three-star receiver is ranked as the 98th best wideout in the nation and the 100th best player in Texas. He has received offers from Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Temple, Arkansas State and KU and has been named to the Under-Armour All-American roster.

• Emmanuel Moore – 6-0, 190, WR, Northwest High, Justin, Texas
Two-star receiver committed to North Texas back in September, but is visiting KU this weekend, according to Rivals.com. KU and UNT are his only offers as of now but he also has received interest from Minnesota and SMU.

• Tyler Moore – 6-4, 300, OL, North Shore High, Galena Park, Texas
Three-star center has multiple offers from some big time programs including BYU, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana Tech and Oregon State. Moore plans to graduate in December and would be free to report to his new school in time for spring practices.

• Jace Sternberger – 6-4, 225, D-End, Kingfisher (Oklahoma) High
Two-star prospect has offers from KU, New Mexico, Sam Houston State and South Dakota and also received interest from Kansas State, Memphis, Oklahoma State and Tulsa. Known as a good all-around athlete. Also plays tight end.

• Kevin Thomas – 6-2, 180, WR, DeSoto (Texas) High
Three-star wide receiver committed to KU in July after receiving a dozen offers from schools including Clemson, Nebraska, Wake Forest and Wisconsin. Big, physical wideout remained committed throughout the coaching change and is regarded by some as one of KU's top targets in the current class.

• Ryan Willis – 6-4, 201, QB, Bishop Miege
Three-star pro-style QB committed to Kansas in May and stayed strong throughout another rough season and a change in leadership. After throwing for 3,000 yards and 30 TDs as a junior, Willis followed that up with another 3,000-yard season and 35 TDs in leading the Stags to a state title this season. He completed 64 percent of his passes. Willis met with Beaty earlier this week and came away impressed by the new coach's energy and passion for KU.

Reply 23 comments from Randy Bombardier Kingfisher Randy Maxwell Michael Lorraine Oklahomajayhawk RXDOC Texashawk10_2 Jim Stauffer Dirk Medema Jonathan Briles and 5 others

Hype and expectations high for KU’s Ukrainian sensation; but are they fair?

It's been happening in the NBA for the past dozen or so years and now seems to have trickled its way down to college basketball, as well.

Foreign-born players making an impact in the NBA and college basketball certainly is nothing new. But holding such players to the ridiculous standards established by some of Europe's biggest success stories has become tired and trite and simply is not necessary.

Such is the situation currently facing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, the 6-foot-6, Ukrainian standout who committed to play his college ball at Kansas University on Wednesday.

It's not merely good enough for Mykhailiuk to be regarded as a quality player with a ton of potential. Fans and analysts alike have taken it upon themselves to make him the next great thing to come out of Europe. He's already been called the best European prospect since Ricky Rubio — Rubio, by the way, was selected No. 5 overall by Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft as a 19-year-old Spanish star — and the buzz surrounding him seems to be gaining steam by the hour.

Signing with a school like Kansas will do that for just about any prospect, but did we not learn anything from Andrew Wiggins? By every measure, Wiggins had a fantastic freshman season at KU, but because he was hyped up to the moon and back, with some even daring to utter the name “LeBron James” during comparisons, many were disappointed by Wiggins' production throughout his time with the Jayhawks.

Hype did that. Not Wiggins.

The whole concept is nothing new. For years, people have been searching for the next Michael Jordan. Thankfully, that ghost chase finally seems to be finished. For whatever reason, it seems to have become a bit of an obsession to immediately start looking for the next great thing rather than just enjoying these wildly talented players when they come along. Maybe that's a product of the world we live in these days. Maybe that's just human nature.

Either way, the whole charade, like the game of basketball itself, has recently gone global, with countless NBA franchises chasing “The next Dirk Nowitzki” for the past decade or so.

To my knowledge, no one has found him yet. And maybe that's the reason.

There's a chance that guys like Andrea Bargnani (No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006), Darko Milicic (No. 2 overall in 2003) or Nikoloz Tskitishvili (No. 5 overall in 2002) would have been regarded as top-notch talents with promise and been given the time to properly develop had they not been compared to or measured against what Dirk did. So let's hope that Mykhailiuk is allowed to become who he is and not constantly held up against some of the college game's most recent foreign phenoms.

I've already heard Michigan guard Nik Stauskas' name thrown out as a comparison for Mykhailiuk, and while that clearly does not carry the same kind of pressure as being compared to King James, it's still worth pointing out that Mykhailiuk will be very fortunate if his college career goes the way of Stauskas', who is a projected lottery pick in most mock drafts.

I'm all for comparisons and buzz and excitement. But I also think we've reached the point where some of these things have gotten way out of hand and do nothing but set up talented players to fall short of unrealistic expectations.

I don't doubt for a second that Mykhailiuk will be a solid player at Kansas and believe he could make a big-time impact right away. But I'm also good with waiting to see him play in a KU uniform before crowning him king of the Euros.

Reply 16 comments from Plasticjhawk Steve Corder Nathan Scholl Surrealku Sean Lancaster brent flanders Baldjedi Rodney Crain Jenny Brown Greg Lux and 6 others

Rise & Sign: KU football ushers in 2014 recruiting class on National Signing Day

It's National Signing Day and KU coach Charlie Weis is expecting 20 letters of intent to arrive via fax.

It's National Signing Day and KU coach Charlie Weis is expecting 20 letters of intent to arrive via fax. by Matt Tait

3:26 p.m. Update:

Just wanted to clarify one thing before I jump in and write something up for tomorrow's paper:

KU's total haul in this class — counting mid-year guys and D-I transfers — is 25.... 15 high school signees, 8 juco signees and 2 D-I transfers. Because the Jayhawks can count one player backwards toward last year's class, that leaves them with one spot remaining in the current class.

That's significant because if a player were to come available late or if another attractive transfer popped up, they would be able to jump on him. That said, I'd expect the spot to remain unused unless an offensive tackle or wide receiver that could come in and push for a starting role became available.

As you were.

1:21 p.m. Update:

My quick take on the class that just became official...

(Reminder: While this is my immediate reaction to the class, KU coach Charlie Weis will give his and more at his Thursday press conference. We'll be there, so be ready for much more tomorrow.)

For a look at the entire Class of 2014 all in one neat spot, check out our 2014 recruiting page.

12:59 p.m. Update:

Some quick notes about the class, now that it is official, including a comment from KU coach Charlie Weis:

“I’m very pleased with this recruiting class,” Weis said via press release. “Our staff had to show good patience, and, through hard work, we filled almost every pressing need.”

• KU’s 2014 class includes 15 high school signees, 8 junior college transfers and 2 Division-I transfers. There are 12 defensive players and 13 offensive players in the group.

• The 2014 KU signees represent 9 different states and Canada, with Texas leading the way providing 11 new Jayhawks. Three local players signed letters of intent with KU as safety Joe Dineen (Lawrence, Kan./Free State HS), offensive lineman Apa Visinia (Grandview, Mo./Grandview HS) and running back Traevohn Wrench (Gardner, Kan./Gardner Edgerton HS) each joined the program.

• The Jayhawks signed four 4-star players according to ESPN.com — running back/wide receiver Corey Avery (Dallas, Texas/Carter HS), offensive lineman Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas (Nacogdoches HS), linebacker Kyron Watson (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis HS) and Wrench. Wrench was also given a four-star rating by Rivals.com.

12:24 p.m. Update:

In just under seven hours, all of the KU football commitments faxed their letters of intent to the KU football offices, with No.2-ranked juco defensive end Anthony Olobia finishing out the list.

Olobia was the last one to fax his letter and, given how smoothly the first 19 of the day went, the delay had to cause some anxious moments. But in the grand scheme of it all, his letter was still to the right hands by a little after noon. Not bad given the fact that some years and at most places, the waiting game can linger well into the afternoon and evening.

Based on what I'm hearing, that's it for today. The Jayhawks do have a couple of spots open still but they likely will save those for potential additions down the road.

I'll keep an ear out just in case anything pops up but that sounds very unlikely. Gonna throw together that recap video with my thoughts on the class and I'll post that as soon as it's done.

For now, enjoy the rest of the blog and all of the highlight videos in it.

11:54 a.m. Update:

Still waiting and trying to track down some information on Olobia.

For now, here are a few more photos that were sent to me from earlier signings. Two from Bobby Hartzog and one from Matthew Boateng.

First, Hartzog:

Bobby Hartzog's signing day set-up was all crimson and blue.

Bobby Hartzog's signing day set-up was all crimson and blue. by Matt Tait

Bobby Hartzog in the act of signing the paperwork this morning.

Bobby Hartzog in the act of signing the paperwork this morning. by Matt Tait

And here's Boateng in the act of signing:

DB Matthew Boateng was the first new Jayhawk to sign his letter of intent this morning.

DB Matthew Boateng was the first new Jayhawk to sign his letter of intent this morning. by Matt Tait

11:18 a.m. Update:

And then there was one. It's official. All of the letters are in except for Anthony Olobia's. Olobia, the No. 2 ranked juco defensive end in the country is a big piece of this year's recruiting puzzle, so there will not be any sighs of relief until that letter is in.

All in all, though, it's been a great morning for KU, as these guys all got up and signed without so much as a hint of drama. The only thing that impacted the signings at all was the weather. Other than that, this class really seemed excited about faxing their letters as quickly as possible.

I talked with someone at KU about those electronic letters of intent and they told me there were a few guys who went that route this year and avoided the fax machine altogether. That was true both today and back in December during the mid-year signing period.

For now, we're just waiting on Olobia, so sit tight and enjoy his film here while we wait.

After his letter is in, I'll toss up a quick video recap with my thoughts on the class, the day and what it means for the future of KU football so look for that a little later, as well.

Naturally, I'll keep an eye on things throughout the afternoon, too, to see if any late surprises enter the equation. I'm not expecting any, but if I were expecting it, it would hardly qualify as a surprise, right?

Here's Olobia's film: Thanks again to the Big 12 Recruiting YouTube account for a lot of the highlight footage used here today.

10:50 a.m. Update:

KU has now confirmed the arrival of a letter of intent from Derrick Neal, a wide receiver from Lincoln High in Dallas.

A three-star prospect who originally committed to Texas Tech but then changed his mind and committed to play basketball at UT-Arlington, Neal decided to go the football route again. He chose KU over New Mexico and late interest from TCU and Baylor.

He signed a little later than the others today but his addition leaves KU waiting on just one letter they expected and that's from No. 2-ranked Juco defensive end Anthony Olobia, who is in Arizona and is expected to sign soon.

For now, here's a look at Neal's film:

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley
LB Kyron Watson
LB Josh Ehambe
DB Joe Dineen
DT Lay'Trion Jones
DE Damani Mosby
OL Jacob Bragg
DL Kapil Fletcher
RB De'Andre Mann
DT D.J. Williams
OL Apa Visinia
ATH Corey Avery
WR Derrick Neal

10:31 a.m. Update:

While I was typing up that last update, KU confirmed that it received a letter from Lufkin (Texas) High defensive lineman D.J. Williams.

On paper, Williams is definitely one of the biggest pick-ups in the current class. He ranks as the 38th best defensive tackle in the nation, the fourth best defensive tackle in Texas and the 75th best player regardless of position in his home state.

Here's a look at Williams' film:

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley
LB Kyron Watson
LB Josh Ehambe
DB Joe Dineen
DT Lay'Trion Jones
DE Damani Mosby
OL Jacob Bragg
DL Kapil Fletcher
RB De'Andre Mann
DT D.J. Williams
OL Apa Visinia
ATH Corey Avery

Think we're just waiting on WR Derrick Neal and DE Anthony Olobia, along with whatever signing day surprises might pop up, if any.

10:18 a.m. Update:

Oh, and here's a little "hello" from De'Andre Mann, all decked out in KU gear.

10:16 a.m. Update:

In one quick moment, KU crawled within two players of closing out the 20 guys expected to sign today in the Class of 2014.

Hartnell C.C. teammates Kapil Fletcher and De'Andre Mann signed at a joint ceremony in California this morning. Mann, the No. 1 ranked juco RB in the country, made the trek back out there from his hometown of Miami, Fla., to sign with his teammate.

Asked if the No. 1 ranking added any pressure onto his shoulders, Mann said he did not worry about such things.

“That's just on paper," he said. "That doesn't mean anything. You gotta put up and work on the field. It's cool to have. And I appreciate all of the accolades and recognition, but it comes down to producing on the field and I'm ready to go to work.”

As for Fletcher, a native Jamaican who lists getting to the quarterback as his top skill, the end of the whole recruiting process has been a mixed bag of feelings.

“It's emotional and exciting," he said. "For me and all my teammates, it's just cool to realize we came a long way and put in the work.”

Here's their film, side-by-side, just like they were. Pay close attention to Mann's. People seem to think he's just added depth at the RB spot, but the guy is a beast and could make a huge impact right away.

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley
LB Kyron Watson
DB Joe Dineen
DT Lay'Trion Jones
DE Damani Mosby
OL Jacob Bragg
DL Kapil Fletcher
RB De'Andre Mann
DT D.J. Williams

9:57 a.m. Update:

Apa Visinia signing his letter of intent this morning in Grandview, Mo.

Apa Visinia signing his letter of intent this morning in Grandview, Mo. by Matt Tait

Offensive lineman Apa Visinia just sent me this photo so I figured now was as good a time as any to post his film.

His story is a fantastic one, as he credits KU coach Charlie Weis and what he saw in him for giving him the confidence to become a player who could enter a Big 12 program with the belief that he can make an impact.

“Early in high school, no one was really giving me a look and coach Weis just kept telling me, 'I feel like you should be one of those guys on the boards and stuff. I don't know what everyone's not seeing,'" Visinia said. "(KU was) the (school) that first saw my talent and was able to kind of dissect everything and say, 'OK, well this kid is what we need as an O-lineman.'

“When I talked to coach Weis the other day I just made sure to say, 'Thanks a lot for the opportunity and going ahead and pulling that trigger.' If it wasn't for that, I don't think anybody would've seen what I can do.”

As for the excitement of the day, that is unparalleled.

“It's kind of a crazy feeling just to be in this situation and to kind of know what the future holds," he said. "It's pure excitement and I'm just ready to get down there and get to work.”

His film:

9:41 a.m. Update:

Jacob Bragg, one of the top rated centers in the nation, has officially faxed his letter to KU and is now a Jayhawk.

Bragg has been fired up for this day for a long time and he has his sights set on coming in and getting to work immediately at a position of need for KU.

“I know they struggled with the position but, yeah, it pumps me up that they're going to need a center," he said. "If I come in and put in work, everything will work out by itself. I just want to come in and help the team out any way I can. I don't expect anything to be handed to me.”

His film:

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley
LB Kyron Watson
DB Joe Dineen
DT Lay'Trion Jones
DE Damani Mosby
OL Jacob Bragg

9:29 a.m. Update:

Damani Mosby of Mesa C.C., signing his letter of intent to join the Jayhawks.

Damani Mosby of Mesa C.C., signing his letter of intent to join the Jayhawks. by Matt Tait

Damani Mosby was all smiles after signing his letter of intent with the Jayhawks.

Damani Mosby was all smiles after signing his letter of intent with the Jayhawks. by Matt Tait

Damani Mosby, one of my favorite dudes I've talked to in this class so far, just text me and said he has faxed his letter to KU.

Mosby said he's happy with where he's at and he has been studying film of the Big 12 like crazy. He would like to bulk up before arriving on campus this summer.

“I'm about 6-4 now but I am the same weight (235)," he said. "I need to gain a little more weight than that. You know, gain muscle so I don't slow myself down. Probably try to get to the 255 mark."

Mosby said his idol is Julius Peppers and he is thrilled to have the opportunity to play at KU against some top-notch competition.

“This whole thing is extremely exciting," he said. "It's just been a big dream of mine to be able to play in the Big 12 and I'm just excited to get to work.”

His film:

9:19 a.m. Update:

We're half way home. 10 letters in and 10 to go, according to my tracking... I also just heard back from Garland (Texas) High defensive tackle Lay'Trion Jones, who said he has signed and sent his letter to Kansas.

Jones picked Kansas over offers from New Mexico, New Mexico State, UTEP and late interest from Arizona State. An avid musician, he wants to major in music in college.

Here's a look at Jones' film. More later.

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley
LB Kyron Watson
DB Joe Dineen
DT Lay'Trion Jones

9:15 a.m. Update:

Joe Dineen is official. Free State did not have school today so it was a little bit of a circus for Dineen to get his letter in. He told me he wound up having to fax it to Coach Clint Bowen directly, which is fitting since there are a ton of people around town who feel Dineen is made from the same mold that Bowen was. Quite an honor... for both of them.

Here's a look at Dineen's film. I've seen him play in person several times during the past few years and I can't say enough good things about his skills, his character and the impact I think he'll make on KU football.

9:14 a.m. Update:

Text update from Grandview (Mo.) offensive lineman Apa Visinia. The weather has slowed things down a bit for him, as he expected to sign at 8 a.m. but is still waiting for his coach to fax the letter to him so he can get it signed and sent.

Nothing at all to worry about there. Visinia (pronounced: Ahh-puh Vee-Suh-Nee-Uh) is absolutely sold on Kansas and is thrilled with the hiring of John Reagan to replace Tim Grunhard, who played a huge role in landing Visinia in the first place.

More when he faxes.

9:02 a.m. Update:

KU also has made it official with 4-star Dallas athlete Corey Avery, the latest pick-up in this class and one of the best.

Avery played safety and running back in high school, ranks as the 87th best player in Texas and the 43rd best “athlete” in the nation. He chose Kansas over Nebraska and Texas.

His film:

8:59 a.m. Update:

New KU WR Bobby Hartzog says hi.

8:52 a.m. Update:

Also just got a text from D-End Damani Mosby, who said he was signing in the next 20 minutes.

New KU D-End Damani Mosby.

New KU D-End Damani Mosby. by Matt Tait

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley
LB Kyron Watson

8:49 a.m. Update:

Just got a text from Kyron Watson that said he just faxed his letter.

Here's his film:

8:36 a.m. Update:

Wide receiver Darious Crawley is officially part of the KU program.

Wide receiver Darious Crawley is officially part of the KU program. by Matt Tait

KU has it official for WR Darious Crawley, who picked Kansas over Michigan State. To me, this was one of the first commitments that sparked the strong finish for KU in the Class of 2014.

Crawley is a fantastic athlete and had a great offer list. The 5-foot-11, 191 pounds, spent his senior season splitting time between quarterback and wide receiver. He has been clocked in the 4.55-second range in the 40-yard dash and also played running back and returned punts during his prep career.

Crawley told me he would sign this morning and then have a signing party around 3 p.m. today.

Here's his film:

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog
WR Darious Crawley

8:21 a.m. Update:

New KU linebacker/defensive end Josh Ehambe.

New KU linebacker/defensive end Josh Ehambe. by Matt Tait

Just got the confirmation from Arlington, Texas, LB Josh Ehambe, who told me recently that he was glad the whole recruiting saga was finished.

“It's fun at the beginning because, you know, every kid wants to be recruited," he said. "It gets tough at the end because you have to call the other coaches that you built relationships with and tell them that you're going to another school.”

Ehambe (pronounced: Ee-Hahm-Bay) said he was told he would play the Buck position, which excited him because he likes that spot's versatility. He compared his game to that of Denver Broncos star Von Miller and said the opportunity to play for coaches like Charlie Weis and Dave Campo, with their connections to the NFL, was a huge reason he picked Kansas.

Here's his film.

8:06 a.m. Update:

Waiting on WR Darious Crawley, DB Joe Dineen, DT Lay'Trion Jones and OL Apa Visinia. All told me they were signing between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. today.

Linebacker Josh Ehambe also told me he was signing at 8:00 a.m., sending by 8:30 a.m. and would have a big ceremony at his school around 11:00 or 11:30. And by big we're talking a publicist sent out a note to the media and made posters big. As it should be. Huge day for these guys.

After that, there's a heavy crew expected to sign around 9 a.m., too.

Stay tuned...

7:52 a.m. Update:

One of the newest additions to KU's receiving corps, Bobby Hartzog.

One of the newest additions to KU's receiving corps, Bobby Hartzog. by Matt Tait

Just got word from Houston WR Bobby Hartzog (Westside High) that the letter has been sent and received by KU. He said he'd send a picture ASAP.

Hartzog, who led his prep district with 506 receiving yards and six touchdowns through September 2013, committed to Utah and Houston before opening his recruiting back up. He also had been offered by Iowa State.

Here's his film. (Big thanks to the Big 12 Recruiting YouTube account for a lot of this footage)

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench
DE Daniel Wise
WR Bobby Hartzog

7:49 a.m. Update:

Three-star East St. Louis (Ill.) linebacker Kyron Watson just informed me that he is not having a signing day ceremony until tomorrow. He is, however, still signing and sending his national letter of intent today and should be doing that any minute.

Watson said he's close with KU running back Tony Pierson, who was a senior at East St. Louis High when Watson was a freshman. I asked him if Pierson played a big role in recruiting him and the second player in the Class of 2014 to commit to Kansas said the overall vibe of Lawrence, the campus, the team and the football program played the biggest part.

“He told me what I needed to know but he wasn't really trying to recruit me that hard because he told me it was my decision and that I should do what I needed to do," Watson said of Pierson. “When I came down there it just made me feel like I was home. And that was the first visit I took and the first school that offered me.”

7:42 a.m. Update:

A quick video shout-out from Matthew Boateng, who appears to be in much warmer conditions than we are.

7:36 a.m. Update:

Gardner-Edgerton's Traevohn Wrench, the latest talented RB to join the Jayhawks.

Gardner-Edgerton's Traevohn Wrench, the latest talented RB to join the Jayhawks. by Matt Tait

KU has made it official with four-star Gardner-Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench. Looks like the bad weather here in the Midwest did nothing to deter Mr. Wrench.

No question one of the biggest pick-ups in the Class of 2014, Wrench's addition keeps alive KU's recent tradition of having a strong, deep and talented backfield.

Here's a look at some of his high school film if you haven't seen it already.

Updated list of official signees:
DB Matthew Boateng
OL Devon Williams
WR Tyler Patrick
RB Traevohn Wrench

7:33 a.m. Update:

Seeing talk in the Twitterverse about prospects now being able to take a photo of their signed letters of intent and email them to their schools. No longer slaves to the fax machine. Many still use it, of course, but it's nice to see signing day move into the 21st centure.

We'll have to find out how many (if any) KU commitments used the snap and send method.

7:17 a.m. Update:

New KU wide receiver Tyler Patrick and his family decked out in KU gear.

New KU wide receiver Tyler Patrick and his family decked out in KU gear. by Matt Tait

Add another to the list... Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com is reporting that Texas WR Tyler Patrick has faxed his letter of intent to KU and is now official.

Here's a quick picture of Patrick and his family decked out for the big day, along with the young man's highlight film.

At the time of his commitment, Patrick had just a few offers (Air Force, Lamar and Louisiana-Monroe) but was receiving interest from several BCS programs, including Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The aspect of his game that seemed to attract the most interest was his speed, as he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time at KU’s Friday Night Lights camp earlier this summer and has been clocked as fast as 4.38.

7:11 a.m. Update:

KU has made the Boateng signing official on its web site and it looks like Georgia Military College offensive lineman Devon Williams has signed and faxed his letter, as well. That's two.

Despite KU transitioning from former offensive line coach Tim Grunhard to its next O-line coach — Rice’s John Reagan — Williams said he felt a lot of love from the existing KU coaches and was not worried about his future position coach.

Williams is one of two O-Linemen from GMC to join the Jayhawks in this recruiting class. Guard Keyon Haughton signed with Kansas at the mid-year signing period.

Here's a look at Williams' film:

6:49 a.m. Update:

The weather definitely may change things — it already inspired KU coach Charlie Weis to move today's signing day press conference to tomorrow since KU is closed and safety is an issue — but the next expected signees are Free State High's Joe Dineen around 7:30 a.m. and Texas WR Bobby Hartzog around the same time.

Again, the bad weather (at least around here) might impact some of these and I wasn't able to get ahold of every commitment (I think I got to 16 of 20) so it's possible someone else sneaks in there or the times change.

I'll be tracking it, though, so keep it right here for the latest.

6:38 a.m. Update:

KU coach Charlie Weis is the only member of the KU football staff currently in the office. Looks like he may have slept there last night to make sure someone would be able to make it in to receive the letters...

6:04 a.m. Update:

IMG Academy's Matthew Boateng, the first member of KU's Class of 2014 to fax his letter to Lawrence.

IMG Academy's Matthew Boateng, the first member of KU's Class of 2014 to fax his letter to Lawrence. by Matt Tait

Florida defensive back Matthew Boateng just posted on Twitter that he has signed his letter of intent and is headed to the fax machine.

Here's a look at some of the 2-star DB's highlight film:

Always fun to see the first one pop. Here we go!

Original post - 5:48 a.m.

Being on the east coast certainly has its advantages. But for a high school senior on the verge of officially becoming a college football player, few advantages mean as much as the ability to wake up before the rest of the world and fax your letter of intent to your school of choice.

For KU commitment Matthew Boateng, of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., that reality is his today, as the Class of 2014 goes through National Signing Day and Boateng kicks off KU's letter-waiting campaign ahead of 19 other future teammates.

A two-star defensive back who chose KU over Ball State, Indiana, Marshall, Nevada and Wake Forest, Boateng is expected to be the first to sign and fax his letter of intent to KU, which will make him and official member of the 2014 team.

Per NCAA rules, prospects are not allowed to sign their letters of intent until 7 a.m. their time. For Boateng in Florida, 7 a.m. means 6 a.m. in Lawrence, which means the KU coaching staff will have to be in the office by then in order to receiver the fax.

Knowing KU coach Charlie Weis and considering the bad weather, he probably slept in his office last night with the fax machine within sight so he could be sure to receive those letters from all of the players he worked so hard to land.

Boateng told me he would have a signing day ceremony at his school around 11 a.m. local time, which is 10 a.m. here.

Some quick notes about this year's class before we get started tracking the letters and signing day ceremonies of the 20 future Jayhawks expected to make their commitments official today:

• 15 of the 20 players signing letters today are high school seniors, which swings the balance back to the prep ranks, unlike last year, when KU's class included more than 20 junior-college prospects.

• When you add the three mid-year signees and Florida transfer Kent Taylor into the mix, the overall numbers in the Class of 2014 look like this: High school seniors – 15; College transfers – 8.

• This year's class includes 10 players from Texas, four of which rank on Rivals.com's Texas Top 100 list.

• Weis' third KU class includes two Kansans, Free State High defensive back Joe Dineen and Gardner-Edgerton High running back Traevohn Wrench.

• According to Rivals.com, KU's recruiting haul ranks 49th nationally and 7th in the Big 12, ahead of Kansas State, Iowa State and TCU. Texas Tech (41st) and West Virginia (43rd) are the Big 12 schools immediately ahead of KU.

• According to ESPN.com's recruiting rankings, the current KU class includes four 4-star prospects (Athlete Corey Avery; OL Jacob Bragg; RB Traevohn Wrench and LB Kyron Watson), the most a single class at KU has had since ESPN began ranking players in 2006.

Settle in and get ready for some more signing day fun! To me, this is always one of the best days of the year.

In case you missed it, here's a look at one of the main sources of inspiration for many in this year's class.

Reply 22 comments from Baldjedi Andrew Phillips Oklahomajayhawk Catsandwich Alex Berger Carter Patterson Jim Jackson Texashawk10_2 Nebraskanjayhawk8 Matt Tait and 2 others

Former Jayhawk Micah Brown provides an inside look at KU football recruiting

Former Kansas University football player and current Steven Spielberg in the making, Micah Brown, was at it again recently on behalf of his alma mater.

Brown, whose video production company, Second Wind Creative, has created some incredible documentary-type projects at schools such as Kansas, Michigan State and Notre Dame, recently released an updated recruiting video for the Jayhawks.

The 5-minute video directly targets KU's recruits, but it also offers a nice inside look at the program and the direction KU coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff plan to take the task of mining for talent in the coming years.

It's definitely worth a look for KU fans and, production-wise, is probably worth watching for non-KU fans, as well. Micah does great work and he and his company are only going to get bigger.

Here's the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-RAeFDg_C4&feature=youtu.be

Reply 8 comments from Fabolous_bg Phil Leister Keithii Table_rock_jayhawk Kenneth Hillman Shaun Hardie Ashwin Rao Eric Mitchell

A quick look at some of KU football’s top recruiting targets in the Class of 2014

With a week remaining until the mid-year transfer signing day (Dec. 18) and the Kansas University football coaches, including new offensive coordinator John Reagan, still out on the road in search of talent, the clock is ticking on KU's 2014 recruiting class.

Unlike a year ago, when KU coach Charlie Weis signed nine junior college players in December, the next couple of weeks figure to be a little more quiet — no top-ranked players, no Dream Team talk, no unusually large haul.

In fact, it's entirely possible that just a couple of mid-year transfers will sign with KU next week, with the rest of the class waiting until national signing day in February to make it official.

High school prospects are not allowed to sign until February so, with eight of the 11 players currently committed to KU coming from the prep ranks, the Jayhawks would have to pick up commitments from the juco ranks in a hurry in order for too many of them to sign on Dec. 18.

Although getting guys on campus in time for spring practice is always a good thing, it's not uncommon to have a small crop of signees during December.

With 11 spots full in a class that theoretically could bring in 14 more players, the Jayhawks are out in full force scouring the country for talent.

Here's a quick look at some of the Jayhawks' top known targets, many of whom have taken or set up visits recently. Not surprisingly, many of them are offensive linemen:

• A.J. Allen, OL, Grossmont C.C. — 6-7, 315
The offensive tackle from El Cajon, Calif., has both Kansas and Kansas State on his long list of finalists and the Jayhawks have thrown California recruiting guru Jeff Blasko at the huge lineman. Some have said that Kansas State is the favorite for Allen, who was scheduled to visit Kansas during Sunflower Showdown weekend. He is a likely December graduate with offers from more than a dozen schools, so he's entering the nitty gritty of decision-making time.

• Matthew Boatang, CB, IMG Academy — 6-0, 180
The native Canadian, who moved to Bradenton, Fla., to get better exposure, has offers from Bowling Green, Indiana, Marshall, Nevada and Villanova. He made an official visit to KU during the weekend in which the Jayhawks snapped their 27-game Big 12 losing streak with a victory over West Virginia, and all indications are that he loved every second of the visit. Other schools, including Baylor, Florida State and Mississippi, are showing interest in the high school senior, but Boateng told JayhawkSlant.com's Jon Kirby that KU would remain near the top of his list.

• Jimmie Gipson, DE, East Mississippi C.C. — 6-0, 255
Gipson, a two-star prospect who fits the mold of KU's Buck position, recently received a visit from Weis and is in the process of wading through two dozen offers, mostly from mid-major programs.

• Craig James, CB, Edwardsville (Ill.) High — 5-11, 170
The coaching staff has been busy with James during the past several days. He had an in-home visit with Reggie Mitchell and Dave Campo late last week and followed it up with an official visit to Lawrence. James currently has scholarship offers from: Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri and Syracuse.

• Kelby Johnson, OL, ASA College — 6-8, 315
The Jayhawks also have jumped in on this offensive lineman who has aspirations of playing after college, something that could favor KU's NFL-experienced coaching staff. Johnson played tackle in junior college and is expected to graduate in May. Rob Ianello is the lead recruiter for Johnson, who also has offers from East Carolina, South Florida and UAB and is receiving interest from several others.

• Dontae Levingston, OL, Santa Monica C.C. — 6-5, 285
The Jayhawks are making a late push for the offensive tackle from Santa Monica, Calif., who visited Lawrence last week for the first time. As expected, the push from KU was playing time and Levingston told Kirby that the opportunity to make an immediate impact was intriguing. He also noted that most of the programs recruiting him are small college towns and, being from Los Angeles, he was just trying to pinpoint which one had the best feel. Levingston is an expected mid-year transfer, who is expected to choose a school before next Wednesday. His list of offers include Kansas State, Memphis, Texas Tech and several others.

• Anthony Olobia, DE, Arizona Western C.C. — 6-5, 230
Olobia, another one of those hybrid, D-End/linebacker types, is headed to Lawrence for an official visit this weekend. The Jayhawks have landed a couple of players from Arizona Western during recent years so their familiarity with the program could help here. The three-star recruit also has offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Utah and he is receiving interest from more than a dozen others.

Class of 2014 Commitments (as of Dec. 11, 2013)
• Jacob Bragg, 6-4, 308, OL, Nacogdoches (Texas) High -- 3-star
• Joe Dineen, 6-2, 197, DB, Free State High -- 3-star
• Bobby Hartzog, 5-11, 182, WR, Westside (Houston) High -- 2-star
• Keyon Haughton, 6-2, 295, OL, Georgia Military
• Damani Mosby, 6-3, 235, DE, Mesa C.C. -- 3-star
• Tyler Patrick, 5-11, 171, WR, The Woodlands (Texas) High -- 2-star
• Austin Stevens, 6-4, 245, DE, Montclair (N.J.) High -- 2-star
• Apa Visinia, 6-5, 380, OL, Grandview (Mo.) High -- 2-star
• Kyron Watson, 6-0, 226, LB, East St. Louis (Ill.) High -- 3-star
• Devon Williams, 6-5, 335, OL, Georgia Military
• Traevohn Wrench, 6-0, 180, RB, Gardner-Edgerton High -- 4-star

• All bio information courtesy Rivals.com.

Reply 14 comments from Steve Bower Dirk Medema Jayhawkinaustin Texashawk10_2 Carnahan Jayhawkmarshall Phil Leister Kingfisher

Cliff notes: A closer look at KU’s latest basketball commitment, Cliff Alexander

Cliff Alexander picks Kansas.

Cliff Alexander picks Kansas. by Matt Tait

Moments ago, Cliff Alexander, the No. 4-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014, announced that he would play his college ball at Kansas University, giving the Jayhawks the fourth and 12th-ranked (Kelly Oubre) prospects in the class.

Alexander, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound power forward from Chicago's Curie High, chose Kansas over Illinois, DePaul and Memphis. He has been compared, by some, to former Jayhawk Thomas Robinson, and, averaged 21.3 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks per game as a junior.

I haven't watched a ton of film on him yet, but I have checked it out and it looks, to me, like he's not quite as explosive as T-Rob but definitely is as powerful.

I'm sure with the development he'll get at KU and from working with Andrea Hudy, his explosiveness will take off and, when you combine that with his raw size and power, you're looking at a player who could make a major impact in a hurry.

One thing I noticed on film that really stood out was the touch on his jumper. I'm sure he won't be asked to shoot jumpers too often at Kansas, but it's nice to see that the framework is there for them to develop that if needed.

Those of you who have followed this thing throughout probably already know that Alexander's girlfriend (Caelynn Manning-Allen) is on the KU women's basketball team and that he was in town for an official visit just last weekend.

Now that Cliff's officially in the fold, though, I know you guys probably want to know a lot more. So here ya go. Below is a collection of stories and video links regarding the latest prep star from Chicago to pick Kansas.

Alexander instantly fits into any lineup:
http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/story/2013-11-14/cliff-alexander-decision-recruiting-2014-kansas-memphis-illinois-pick

Alexander spent last summer working to improve his jumper:
http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/story/2013-07-12/cliff-alexander-recruiting-update-humblekid11-peach-jam-dunks-kentucky-louisvill

In August, Alexander's AAU coach explained why he liked KU:
http://kansas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1541855

Here's DraftExpress.com's player profile on Alexander:
http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Cliff-Alexander-7138/

Alexander workout video:

Alexander breaks backboard at age 16:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cliff+alexander+breaks+backboard&sm=1

This one's called “Beware of Cliff Alexander:

This one calls Cliff Alexander the class' most powerful dunker:

Reply 7 comments from Surrealku Dirk Medema Olli Rama Perses Jayhawkmarshall Matt Tait Jessej421

New college football rules for recruiting and summer access and their impact on Kansas

The NCAA on Wednesday adopted and released the details of five new football rules pertaining to offseason recruiting and coaches' access to players during the summer.

According to a news release, the rules are effective immediately and, at a program like Kansas which is in the middle of a rebuilding project, may have an immediate impact.

The new rules include:

• 1 • Allowing football players to participate in eight hours per week of required weight training and conditioning during the summer. Up to two of the eight hours can consist of film review.

• 2 • Prohibiting school staff members from attending all-star games or activities associated with those games, which prohibits in-person contact by coaches from the time an athlete arrives at such an event until the time they return home.

• 3 • Establishing an extended dead period when no in-person recruiting can take place in December and January. For 2013-14, Dec. 16 through Jan. 15 is now a dead period.

• 4 • Establishing a 14-day dead period in late June and early July for FBS schools.

• 5 • Allowing schools to pay for meals for up to four family members who accompany a recruit on an official visit. Previously, schools were allowed to pay for meals for the recruit, his parents/legal guardians and spouse or children but not siblings or other family members.

Here's a quick look at how these rules may affect KU:

Rule No. 1 certainly will not hurt anyone and could actually stand to help a program like Kansas, which would benefit from as much time as possible for player development of its athletes — new and old — in the ongoing effort to close the gap between KU and the rest of the Big 12.

Rule No. 2 takes away a valuable recruiting tool because coaches often benefit, in terms of relationships, from supporting athletes at all-star games and, oh so rarely, can stumble upon unknown talent at such events.

Rule No. 3 is the biggest blow to the current KU program — and those like it — because if a team does not make a bowl and therefore is not practicing during the new dead period (Dec. 16 through Jan. 15) it no longer can make up time on the recruiting trail while bowl teams are busy practicing. In addition, it severely limits the role Allen Fieldhouse can and does play in football recruiting.

Rule No. 4 hurts Kansas a little because very few head coaches are as actively involved in going out on the road to recruit as Charlie Weis is and this takes away a two-week advantage he had on several coaches.

And Rule No. 5 is one that can only help recruiting because it will make life easier on several prospects and encourage more family members to join athletes on visits, which gives coaches more people to connect with.

None of these (aside from No. 3) are earth-shattering for college football but they will create a period of adjustment, as is the case with most rule changes.

Weis and his staff already work meticulously to maximize every minute of allowed recruiting time and, no doubt, will continue to do so. But functioning under the new rules will require even more organization, focus and strategy, all of which appear to be strengths of the KU coaches on the recruiting trail.

Reply 4 comments from Joe Ross Kingfisher Plasticjhawk Steve Corder

KU football commitment Andre Maloney passes away after suffering stroke on the field

One minute, he was scoring a touchdown for the Shawnee Mission West High Vikings during a regular high school football game.

The next, he was fighting for his life in a Kansas City-area hospital, a battle that ended Friday evening, according to Shawnee Mission School District and KU officials.

That's what the final 24 hours of life were like for the KU football commitment, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back who committed to KU this summer and was the sixth-ranked player in Kansas.

Here's the school district release:

It is with great sadness that I share with you that the school district received notification this evening from Research Medical Center that Shawnee Mission West senior Andre Maloney has passed away from complications due to a stroke suffered Thursday night. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andre’s family, teammates, coaches, fellow students, and the SM West staff during this difficult time. The tremendous outpouring of concern expressed today by the our community has been greatly appreciated. We will continue to honor the family’s request this time to respect their privacy.

And here's a statement from KU coach Charlie Weis:

“We are absolutely devastated by the news of the passing of Andre Maloney,” Weis said. “Our hearts are broken at the loss of such an outstanding young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, especially his mohter, Rosalita. We knew from the moment we met Andre just how special he was and he will never be forgotten. The Jayhawk family will forever hold Andre close to our hearts.”

Maloney's family released a statement earlier Friday explaining what happened and reports indicated that the young man spent much of the day in a vegetative state with no sign of recovery.

"During Thursday night's football game, Shawnee Mission West football player Andre Maloney suffered a stroke," the statement read. "He was transported to an area hospital for evaluation and treatment. He is currently receiving treatment in the intensive care unit at Research Medical Center. While the family greatly appreciates the concern, thoughts, and prayers of family, friends, and the community, they ask that the public and media respect their privacy at this time."

Free State High senior and fellow KU commitment Joe Dineen took to Twitter late Thursday night after hearing about Maloney's situation. KU coach Charlie Weis, who is not allowed to comment on recruits until they sign with Kansas, did the same Friday.

"A young man from a local HS football team was rushed to the hospital last night. Send some prayers his way! Also pray for his family&friends," Weis wrote early Friday afternoon. "Awful news! As a family guy and loving father, there are no words to describe my sorrow! GOD BLESS! Brings perspective to sports' importance."

Wrote Dineen: "There is so much competition in this league and we don't get along when we are playing, but when a player goes down, we come together. #sfl"

Just moments after hearing the news, Dineen wrote further: "Wow. RIP Andre. We had to put two people on him, just so he didn't burn our whole team. What a great player. I'm sure they have a football for you up there."

Reply 19 comments from Jhwkdw Jayhawkfantoo Micky Baker Pbouldenv Table_rock_jayhawk Namohcan_99 Oklahomajayhawk Mikehawk Actorman Stm62 and 10 others

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