Thursday, February 3, 2011


5 names to keep in mind for KU football recruiting class

Kansas University football coach Turner Gill is seen in a camera man’s monitor during a news conference. Gill was announcing his recruiting class of 2011 on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 at Mrkonic Auditorium.

Kansas University football coach Turner Gill is seen in a camera man’s monitor during a news conference. Gill was announcing his recruiting class of 2011 on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 at Mrkonic Auditorium.


— The forecast called for the temperature, without the wind-chill factor, to drop below zero during the night and I’m beginning to wonder if they have the material here to de-ice wings on airplanes. The thought occurred that just when Kansas University recruited a class of football players with Texas Tech-type speed, I might have to wait until they come here to see them play.

Locked in Lubbock, while watching college basketball on TV with country music blaring and seeing my breath inside a frosty sports bar Wednesday night, the young men at the nearby table were talking football and one of them temporarily changed the subject: “Did Tech win last night?”

“No, they got killed,” another said. “When I turned the news on and they showed the score it was something like 48-12 (41-19, probably).”

“Oh, but Kansas is really good, right?”

It’s always football season in Texas, which is one factor that makes it so difficult for schools from the North to compete against those from the South. (A bigger hurdle: Student-athletes generally prefer to stay close to home.)

A native of Forth Worth, Texas, KU coach Turner Gill shared he used the example of his own career in an attempt to overcome the geographic concerns. Going to Nebraska, he told recruits, helped him broaden his contacts and opportunities. It’s not a bad pitch, especially since he believes it.

Even for assistant coaches who evaluate grainy film and get to know the families of recruits, trying to forecast how recruits will compete against the big, fast bodies of the Big 12 presents a challenge. Still, it’s fun to try to guess at which recruits will do the most.

The five athletes among the 27 recruits who signed Wednesday that I’m most eager to watch perform:

1. Brock Berglund, QB: He plays by far the most important position on the field. Look at the difference between how Kansas played when a healthy Todd Reesing played and how it faded when a strained groin hampered him. Berglund’s size, arm strength, above-average feet and strong self-confidence make him a lock to start as a freshman.

2. Tunde Bakare, LB: Highland Community College standout with a nose for the ball that calls to mind James Holt, compensates for lack of size — 5-foot-11, 215 pounds — with exceptional speed, which KU has lacked at linebacker since Holt’s departure.

3. Bryan Peters, OL: At 6-5, 305, he already has college size and he was ranked No. 65 in the nation among offensive line prospects. That might not sound great, but considering there are five O-line positions, do the math. It equates to being ranked No. 13 at running back.

4. Darrian Miller, RB: James Sims has the ability to change directions, a la Brandon McAnderson, but he also got caught from behind. Miller is to Jake Sharp as Sims is to McAnderson. A burner, Miller, from Blue Springs, Mo., rushed for 2,226 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior.

5. Michael Reynolds, DE: KU hasn’t had a long, wiggly, speed rusher hunting quarterbacks since Charlton Keith in 2005. Reynolds, a 6-4, 220-pound baseball standout from Wichita, might be the guy. TCU and Oklahoma State pursued him.


Funhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Watching the game film of Tunde Bakare is scary. Makes you want to run for your life. "Nose for the ball " is perfect terminology. This player comes out of nowhere in a split second, like a magnet attaching to the player with the ball. And, watching him hit is like watching a brick wall appear out of nowhere, taking down a speeding car. Every clip I felt sorry for the runner he took down. I could feel the pain. The guy is scary.

Darrian Miller was always on the Friday night TV sports highlights here in KC. Darrian is the real deal, a lot of fun to watch. Like a fly darting around your head, you're not going to catch him. Definitely the fastest player in the game.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 3 months ago

Darrian is damn good, but not close to the fastest. Check out the youtube of him at the Friday night event last summer "racing" Saunders. Like a cat playing with a mouse, which is meant to say a lot more about Saunders than it does about Darrian, b/c DM is fast.

Jayhawker413 11 years, 3 months ago

Any chance Bakare plays safety???... seems like with his size and speed he is the prototypical size for SS, at least by NFL standards... a la Polamalu, nick collins, darren sharper, eric berrry etc...

Jonathan Briles 11 years, 3 months ago

Peters is not the 65th best OL overall he is the 65th best Offensive Tackle. Since there are two tackles on each line you could say he is like the 32nd or 33rd best right tackle or left tackle which ever he ends up at. Regardless it means he is an outstanding talent. I do very much agree with these players as being 5 to watch I just wish you could go with more than 5.

Anthony Pierson is one of the fastest players in the class and has an ability to play multiple positions and impact the game in a variety of ways

Dreamius Smith is an outstanding athlete. Jeremy Crabtree was quoted saying he is one of the most underrated players in the midwest and could be the best RB we have. I also like his potential at LB

Phil Ford is an incredible character guy who is willing to work. He has great size and mobility, but its his work ethic and love for the game I love more than anything. He is a player that will do whatever it takes to get better and make this entire team better. I see him being a captain in 3 or 4 years.

Marquise Jackson has great speed, but better than his speed is the mix of strength he has with his speed. He will be a great run blocker when he is not plowing through defenses with his speed size combo.

This is a great class with loads of potential and skill. I'm really looking forward to seeing it in action. Rock Chalk!

Eric Williams 11 years, 3 months ago

Peters is supposedly capable of playing all 3 OL positions. I think Gill will use him at Center, which was a huge weakness last year.

Stephen Johnson 11 years, 3 months ago

Tunde Bakare hits people like a sledge hammer. I would hate to be a receiver on a crossing pattern with him having you in his sights.

panalytic 11 years, 3 months ago

Good times!

I will look out for these guys too - and a lot of others. This looks like a new recruiting era with a somewhat different type of athlete.

GoHawks1 11 years, 3 months ago

Don't forget Anthony Pierson. Fastest player we have seen at KU in a long time. Hope he qualifies because he could be special next year.

Andrew Moore 11 years, 3 months ago

What position will Pierson play? He's listed as an athlete. For some reason I thought I saw somewhwere that he'll play corner, but I could easily see him in a receiver spot as well.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 3 months ago

Darrian Miller was quoted in the Star this morning that MU never offered him. can you believe that? the Tiggers were always the kid outside the candy store looking in with him....his brief flirtation with them was just that....a total tease.

Miller has not only very good speed, but his motor is outstanding. i watched him play live three times...and his 4th quarter, was just as good running hard wise, as was his 1st quarter. He'll play if healthy....we have great depth at RB for sure.

Now HCTG needs to focus on the 2012 and 2013 ......because great programs are not built on one recruiting class...let's put two or three of these together in a row. Go Jayhawks!

Kenneth Hillman 11 years, 3 months ago

Sims and B-Mac are not anywhere near the same type of running back (other than they both lined up in the backfield) so I have no idea what comparison Keegan is drawing here. I read Keegan's articles because I can't get enough of football...

I'm pretty excited about this class but tempered because they will only freshmen next year. Hopefully they will push everybody to get better though.

buttsauce 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't get the B-Mac changing directions comment. I always thought he was a more North-South runner. Sims doesn't bring to mind B-Mac either, but whatever. Good class, Coach.

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

I always thought B-Mac had real quick feet for a big guy. He never got the credit because he was so big, everybody just viewed him as a bruiser (which he was), but he was crafty and illusive too. I often compared him to one of my other favorite running backs of all time, Kimble Anders, whose ability to change direction was deceptive and efficient.

Sims is a smaller guy, but I see the comparison. They also keep their pads low, have exceptional vision and protect the ball. All reasonable comparisons.

panalytic 11 years, 3 months ago

I have not heard much Berglund, one of the new QB's. I'm glad Keegan has a lot of confidence in him.

Anyone else heard he has that kind of potential - to come in and start and play well???

100 11 years, 3 months ago

As much fun as it was watching Reynolds tape (D*mn!!!!!! Get out of the kitchen!!!!!), probably the most enjoyable tape I've seen so far was Dylan Admire.

The kid is a brute (OL). He'll have to work to be able to get into the rotation, but man, Admire really showed me what is different about the kids Gill is going after. Watch Admire, the incredible Hulk, pull & sprint twenty yards downfield to drill a LBer or safety in the way of his running back.

Admire like so many of these tapes really shows these kids passion. The stat about state championships in this recruiting class cannot be discounted. You see winner all over Admire, a lineman who appears to know the playbook better than his coach. Heck watching the film I was becoming convinced this could have been the first O lineman in the history of humanity who actually called the plays in the huddle.

This class is phenomenal. Mangino's 31 class (loved what he did for our facilities & God bless him) was decent, but nothing like this "34".

The tape is right there for us to see & this could very well be one of the fastest classes in America.

By the way, haters & lovers.... After watching Admire set up his grandma for touchdown runs, here is a must watch:

Michael Reynolds tape.

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

Where are these "tapes"?

Could you post them. I'd love to be that excited.

100 11 years, 3 months ago

Thanks to Gill's emphasis on recruiting, for the last 365 days I kept up with the film of a lot of potential prospects. A few I hadn't seen.

Luckily the LJW posted the tape of these signed recruits yesterday. It should be on the right side of the screen on the home page of kusports.

Take a look.

If watching Reynolds, Admire, Cummings & the other 24 doesn't get you jacked up, then you need to push the okay button because it's paused!!!!

These guys are the real deal!!!!!!

Michael Leiker 11 years, 3 months ago

As one of the loudest TG critics on here, I'd like to say I'm pumped after yesterday. Things could get fun really fast.

okiedave 11 years, 3 months ago

Very good class. The key is going to be whether we can improve our class recruiting ranking each year. HCTG can obviously recruit. If next year, we can have the 28th or 30th best class, then we will be on the right path..

Saad Saifeddine 11 years, 3 months ago

Vote for Tyrel Reed jayhawks. He's currently the leading candidate for the Lowe's Senior Class Award.

lv_jhwk 11 years, 3 months ago

Glad to see that a few people are getting too caught up in the moment and do realize that the true effects of this entire class won't be seen on the field for at least two years. That said, its still an encouraging sign of things to (possibly/hopefully) come!

100 11 years, 3 months ago

It's momentum brother Jayhawks...

Just watch.... HCTG is the kind of man who is barely celebrating today & is on the phone reaching towards a top 15 recruiting class for next year.....

Top 15 will be the goal for next year.

You build these classes year after year & your Jimmy & Joes will eventually have enough years on campus to take down an SEC team & win Kansas our first 'ship in football...

Gill's plan is to build a dynasty under the guise of speed, size, the dual threat on O mixes with attackability-speed-length (with DE) tribrid on defense.

Thats his plan, to build a dynasty.

By all accounts, and specifically film, there is no doubt about it that he's on track.

Character counts, as does a plan on the football fied and life after, & those five stars moms love this man & his plan.

Can't wait to see next year's class, I'd bet we steal a five star.




KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

Keeg Party, you're actually pretty funny when you're trapped in the armpit of Texas. Did you write this while you were still in the bar? Good stuff.

texashawk10 11 years, 3 months ago

Here's the problem with highlight videos, they are HIGHlights. Those videos are the best of those players intended to make them look like all-world athletes, not really something to base an entire opinion of a player on. To really get an idea of what a player is capable of, find video of that player going against other elite players and teams and see how they performed in those situations.

Michael Reynolds isn't even the incoming DE likely to have the biggest impact next season. Anybody but me think that someone who is 6'7" 270 lbs. in the same mold as Julius Peppers and already enrolled at KU and will go through spring drills have a better shot at starting in the Big 12 than a 6'4" 220 lbs. player who won't be on campus until June at the earliest.

Brock Berglund is going to have every opportunity to win the starting job and unless Webb or Mecham step up the games this spring, he will have a great chance at winning the QB job.

Tunde Bakare would probably be the best fit in a 4-2-5 hybrid defense playing the S/LB spot that can blitz, man up on a RB or TE, or drop into the middle of a zone and patrol the underneath routes. His size/speed combo makes him a great option as a hybrid player that can do just about anything.

I think Bryan Peters will have a decent chance at taking one the tackle positions next season. The OLineman that has the better chance to start next year is Dylan Admire if he can get up to 285 lbs. Center was the biggest weak point on the OLine last season and at 6'3" 285, Admire would have the ideal size to be a collegiate center.

RB's are a total crapshoot on who will prove themselves early on. Who thought it would be Sims instead of Bourbon last year? Rell Lewis showed during the MU game in 2009 that he can be a great speed back and hopefully he will be 100% this upcoming season.

100 11 years, 3 months ago

Apparently you haven't seen Reynolds, Admire, Cummings, Berglund, Bakare, Peters, Miller, Pierson, Julius or any of the other studs we have coming in.

Take a look at the film. These particular individuals are all attacking winners. All intense. Watch Admire and tell me he isn't a stud.

Hate if you must, but watch some tape; Mangino's 31st ranked class had nothing on this group. That can be seen very easily by watching the film in itself. Gill has one guy in particular who really should have been a 5 star.

Watch the tape.

But some of them are just ridiculous.

Just watch Reynolds for instance & get back to us.

Rock Chalk.

ShazzyD 11 years, 3 months ago

I saw the Reynolds video on ESPN and wasn't impressed. It looked like he was just plowing through guys that were smaller than him. Don't forget that he is playing against highschool kids. I thought Ben Goodman looked like a very capable rusher in his video though. It looked like was actually using some NFL style rushing techniques. Reminded me of Tamba Hali.

We have a quite a few guys that can compete for Laptad's vacant starting spot. I'm hoping at least one guy steps up.

100 11 years, 3 months ago

ShazzyD..... Take a look at the video of Reynolds on the right side of the screen. Screw ESPN & their five second "clips" from when he was a 16 year old Junior.... Reynolds is a stud now; don't know what he looked like as a 16 year old & don't care.

Watch this year's film (it's on the right, just click on it). Those kids he's running through & by? That's a bunch of high school kids in Wichita. Don't know how anyone expects to get tape of him when he's in college.

Otherwise nice comments. Rock Chalk.

ShazzyD 11 years, 3 months ago

What I mean is that you are watching him push around 16 year olds that are never going to play anywhere other than highschool. He looks like a stud in the videos because of inferior competition.

If he has to go up against the boys at Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech next year it will be a completely different story.

I hope he turns out great but he looks like a project to me. Will probably redshirt his first year.

The clips of Cummings and Bergland look great though. Way better than the clips I saw of Webb and Pick when they were in higschool. I'm very optimistic that we'll have a new QB.

texashawk10 11 years, 3 months ago

100, it's ok to be excited about this class, but take a step back and think about what kind of impact some these kids you listed will have an impact next season. I do think you need to actually read what is in my post before trying to put words in my mouth about what I said in my post.

Go back and reread what I said about Admire, if he can get up to the 285 lb. range, he will have a decent chance at winning an interior line spot because he will have gone through spring drills and have some experience against a D1 DLine and that's more than you can say about Peters and the other OLineman coming in.

Michael Reynolds weighs 220 lbs. and was the biggest player on the field in most of his clips. He is project player at this point as he relies solely on his speed as a pass rusher and his tackling technique leaves a lot to be desired. Were he to play next season, the average OT he would go against would probably outweigh him by about 100 lbs. and would force him up field nearly every play.

Julius Green has already bulked up to 270 and is going to go through spring practice and is an athletic freak because of his basketball background. Because of him going through spring drills and being a year more physically mature than other incoming freshman, he has a big advantage and I would be surprised if he isn't a starter next season.

Tunde Bakare is a 'tweener because of his size/speed and that's why I said he would be a good fit for a S/LB hybrid position that is common in a 4-2-5 defense.

Michael Cummings missed his senior season and said that he doesn't expect to play in 2011 while he learns the system and continues to rehab his knee. With his size and Berglund on the roster, I really don't see him as a QB in the future, but probably a WR or RB or DB and with his knee injury, I don't see him being anything but a redshirt in 2011.

We don't even know what position Anthony Pierson is going to play at KU so there's no way to know what impact he will have in 2011 if any.

With Darrian Miller, go reread what I said about RB's. Who actually expected Sims to be the breakout guy over Brandon Bourbon who was much more heralded than Sims. RB is a total crapshoot as to who will emerge and with as many as KU has, I'm not going try and guess what Miller will do in 2011. He could be anything from a redshirt kid to a 1,500 yard rusher or anything between.

There is a lot of speed and talent in this class, but a lot of that talent is still very raw and needs at least 2 seasons to put on bulk and develope those skills.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 3 months ago

Jayhawk Nation---- Just to let you know. . . . I have seen Michael Reynolds (Kapaun-Mt. Carmel H.S.) play in person once this past season. He has so much upside. And, I have also, seen Dreamius Smith play at Wichita Heights twice and once on local TV in the Wichita, KS area. I can't believe Dreamius didn't make Keegan's Top 5. KU did a fantastic job recruiting. Now, like Coach Gill said in his presser the other day----it's meshing all this talent together in order to help the Jayhawks down the road. I am anxious to see how the Jayhawks will do this Fall with all this talent coming to Lawrence! Rock Chalk!

KGphoto 11 years, 3 months ago

Just to have an All-American RB named Dreamius would be epic.

Could he be the next great RB out of Wichita? There IS something in the water down there.

Gayle Sayers, Barry Sanders, Bryce Brown...

Dreamius Smith?

ShazzyD 11 years, 3 months ago

5 Reasons to be optimistic about 2011 KU Football

  1. Wide Receiver Improvement: David Beaty coaching the WRs again means a potential huge improvement for Beshears, Patterson, and McDougald. This is the same guy that coached Kerry Meier and Dez Briscoe, whom both are in the NFL now despite not being highly recruited out of highschool. Based on Rivals and ESPN ratings, we have a MUCH higher talent pool in our WR group than we did when Beaty coached them in 08 and 09. The newest group of WR recruits look great too but they can even sit out a year so that we can see what Omigie, McGriff, and Herod can do. They haven't been able to show it yet due to rawness and bad QB play, but this WR group is stacked and we have a proven position coach working with them.

  2. Running Back Improvement: Sims was one of the few bright spots in 2010, but we can now pair him up with Miller. Bourban could end up being a good Fullback or H-Back. Pierson also could be a lightning change of pace back if he doesn't redshirt. This backfield will rival the orange bowl team.

  3. Offensive Line Depth: We already had a decent offensive line, but with all the new talent the competition will heat up. Hatch, Zlatnik, Spikes, Spencer, and Hawkinson all return. I think a few of these 6 new signees will compete with them for the starting spots.

  4. Influx of New Blood/Talent: I'm intrigued by the fact that Gill only chose to pull the redshirt off of 3 people from last year's recruiting class. I wonder if he did that on purpose to see what he had in his first year and then get a huge influx in his 2nd year. He says he'll play a dozen more of this years recruits. Last years group had some decently rated guys like Bourban (RB), McDonald (S), Herod (WR), Edwards (DT), Mundine (TE), Lewandowski (DE), and Maura (WR). Throw them in with a dozen or so guys from this year's group and you have a large influx of fresh blood. That's about 20+ new bodies to compete for starting and reserve spots. Who did we lose last year that we will miss? Harris, Springer, and Laptad? It will be a whole new team out there and it can only get better, even if it will be very inexperienced.

  5. The coaching staff's 2nd year. I think Gill used the first year to gauge what kind of talent and leaders the team already had. He now knows what his players are capable of and he knows what didn't work last year. Both coordinators will have more speed and talent to work with in their 2nd years.

Fred Davis 11 years, 3 months ago

Having seen Miller play in high school, the kid does have some jets, but he will get caught from behind. He's a bruiser for his size, don't get me wrong, but against Hazelwood Central in the Missouri Class 6 Championship game his junior year, he was run down two or three times by the HC secondary. Now, Hazelwood Central has some absolute studs and had some studs in the secondary that year. But he's a nice change of pace back, and when you get the kid in space, he will make things happen. I envision - for lack of a better example - a Thomas Jones/Jamaal Charles type of tandem with Sims and Miller... Very good get though, and it's great to see KU hold on to him after he flirted with the idea of going somewhere else. Reggie Mitchell is money and he's a big reason why KU was able to recruit the way they did this offseason.

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 3 months ago

FreddyD---thanks for spreading the news on Darrian Miller. He sounds promising!

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