Posts tagged with Recruiting

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 Jhawkerman 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 — 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

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 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'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, 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'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:

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'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

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:

Alexander spent last summer working to improve his jumper:

In August, Alexander's AAU coach explained why he liked KU:

Here's's player profile on Alexander:

Alexander workout video:

Alexander breaks backboard at age 16:

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

Jayhawks land commitment from 4-star Gardner-Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench

Although March tends to be all and only about basketball around these parts, there is some decent-sized football news from Allen Fieldhouse today.

I just learned that Gardner-Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench is in the building today and has orally committed to the Jayhawks.

Wrench, a junior and four-star prospect according to, was one of the top backs in the state of Kansas last season.

During a four-game stretch late in the 2012 season the 6-foot, 191-pound bruiser ran for 1,277 yards and 17 touchdowns, sometimes logging as many as 40 or 50 carries in a single game.

Here's the story our prep writer Benton Smith did on Wrench in advance of GEHS's meeting with Lawrence High in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs last fall.

We'll have more on the commitment in the near future. This is a big pick-up for the Jayhawks, as Wrench would come in at a time when the Jayhawks would be losing James Sims and Taylor Cox to graduation.

Reply 16 comments from Jzee Jhwkdw Micky Baker Baldjedi Lajayhawk Kman_blue Ahpersecoachingexperience April13 Boouk Kgphoto and 4 others

Breaking down KU football’s latest recruiting class three at a time

All right, now that the signing day dust has settled and the most recent recruiting class has become an official part of Kansas football, let's take a quick look at what this all means for the Jayhawks in 2013.

I'll have plenty more reaction and analysis of this class and signing day itself throughout the day and in the coming days — including a probable podcast later this afternoon — but I wanted to get it all started with a fun and informal look at what I think this class can bring to KU.

So let's break it down into a handful of three-player categories and follow it up with a quick and crude look at what I think the first first-string might look this fall.

Here goes:

Three biggest impact players:
1. Marquel Combs, DT
2. Marcus Jenkins-Moore, LB
3. Isaiah Johnson, S

Three most needed players:
1. Andrew Bolton, DE
2. Chris Martin, DE
3. Cassius Sendish, CB

Three most electric players:
1. Ishmael Hyman, WR
2. Colin Spencer, RB
3. Kevin Short, DB

Three biggest dark horse contributors:
1. Mike Smithburg, OL
2. Dexter McDonald, DB
3. Ngalu Fusimalohi, OL

Three guys who need time:
1. Jordan Darling, QB
2. Montell Cozart, QB
3. Ben Johnson, TE

Three hardest hitters:
1. Samson Faifili, LB
2. Andrew Bolton, DE
3. Chris Martin, DE

Three fastest fliers:
1. Ishmael Hyman, WR
2. Rod Coleman, WR
3. Kellen Ash, LB

Three guys I liked more after Weis' presser
1. Mark Thomas, WR
2. Zach Fondal, OL
3. Tedarian Johnson, DL

Where this class ranks nationally:
25th – The Sporting News
45th – (7th in the Big 12)
50th – 24/7 (8th in the Big 12)
55th –

My way-too-early look at 2013 first-stringers:

QB – Jake Heaps
RB – James Sims
RB – Tony Pierson
WR – Justin McCay
WR – Rod Coleman
TE – Jimmay Mundine
LT – Zach Fondal
LG – Damon Martin
C – Mike Smithburg
RG – Ngalu Fusimalohi
RT – Aslam Sterling

DE – Andrew Bolton
DT – Ty McKinney
DT – Marquel Combs
DE – Chris Martin
LB – Marcus Jenkins-Moore
LB – Ben Heeney
LB – Samson Faifili
CB – Cassius Sendish
CB – JaCorey Shepherd
SS – Isaiah Johnson
FS – Kevin Short

Stay tuned for much, much more throughout the day and the rest of the week and check back a little later for a podcast with our impressions and reactions from signing day.

Reply 65 comments from Dirk Medema Micky Baker Boouk Phog1004 Texashawk10 Rockchalk1990 Chase Topliff Kgphoto Randy Maxwell Matt Tait and 29 others

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

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

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

3:34 p.m. Update:

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

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

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

Here goes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:31 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Red-shirt.

10:46 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Starter.

10:04 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

Here's more on Faifili:

New KU linebacker Samson Faifili.

New KU linebacker Samson Faifili. by Matt Tait


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

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

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

Prediction: Starter.

Faifili highlights:

9:53 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Solid offensive contributor.

Back to waiting...

9:36 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Second or third WR.


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

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

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

Prediction: Battling for a spot in the regular rotation.

9:17 a.m. Update:

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

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

Here's a quick look at Short:


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

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

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

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

Short highlights:

9:09 a.m. Update:

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

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

Here's the updated list:

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

8:57 a.m. Update:

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

I'm checking on his status right now.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

8:39 a.m. Update:

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

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

Still waiting for more letters...

8:21 a.m. Update:

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Starting strongside defensive end.

8:05 a.m. Update:

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

Never had much luck getting ahold of Darling.

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


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

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

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

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

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

7:57 a.m. Update:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some highlights:

7:41 a.m. Update:

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

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

Here's a quick look at Ash:


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

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

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

Prediction: Red-shirt.

7:32 a.m. Update:

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

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Starter.

Isaiah Johnson with KU coach Charlie Weis.

Isaiah Johnson with KU coach Charlie Weis. by Matt Tait

7:27 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

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


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

Most resembles: Charles Gordon/Daymond Patterson.

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

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

7:17 a.m. Update:

Ben Johnson video from YouTube.

7:08 a.m. Update:

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

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

Signing Day Central for Matt Tait in 2013.

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

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

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

7:01 a.m. Update:

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

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

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

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


Here's a quick look at Johnson:


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

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

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

Prediction: Red-shirt.

Your newest Kansas Jayhawk, offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield.

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

6:46 a.m. Update:

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

The fun's just beginning!

6:16 a.m. Update:

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

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

Original post, 6:01 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go!

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

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


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

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

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

Prediction: Red-shirt.

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