With national signing day set for Wednesday and Kansas University’s football program still with two scholarships to hand out, the next couple of days figure to be interesting and exciting as KU’s coaches wait to hear if there are any last-minute commitments who join what is regarded as a top-40 class by many recruiting outlets.
Twenty-five prospects in the Class of 2013 already have committed to KU, and 11 signed national letters of intent in December. The rest are expected to sign Wednesday, but getting to that point has been tough for a few of them.
Most notable on that list is Iowa Western defensive back Isaiah Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety who committed to Kansas in December and has remained committed to the Jayhawks despite receiving interest and offers from other schools in the weeks since.
A couple of weeks ago, Texas Tech made a strong push at Johnson, who initially set up a visit with the Red Raiders but later canceled because of his comfort with Kansas. More recently, Missouri and Wisconsin also made late pushes, but Johnson rejected both.
“It’s frustrating,” Johnson admitted. “I think it’s kind of tough when you’re committed to one school but other schools keep calling. It’s hard.”
Johnnson isn’t the only KU commitment to endure such action. Louisville, Ky., offensive lineman Joey Bloomfield also has continued to rack up offers, and Pierce Community College linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore often fielded questions from other schools about why he picked KU.
“No other schools have really called me lately because I already told them I’m committed to KU, and I’m going to KU,” Jenkins-Moore said. “In the beginning, a couple schools respected it, but a lot of schools were questioning me on my decision and asking me why I was going to a school that’s 1-11. But it’s all good. They should be happy for me.”
With such activity being the norm in college football these days, coaches know they have to do as much recruiting after landing a commitment as they do before. During the past several weeks, KU’s coaching staff has double- and triple-teamed already-committed athletes to make sure those commitments stick.
Although Johnson admitted to being flattered by the continued interest, he said the work the KU coaching staff has done since he committed easily matched the work it put in to get him in the first place.
“Coach (Buddy) Wyatt has been doing a real good job,” Johnson said “If another school comes after me, I tell him, and he, coach (Dave) Campo and coach (Rob) Ianello all came to my school to let me know how much they wanted me. That just shows they really care. They’ve been with me throughout the whole process. They’ve been at my house. They’ve done everything they can to get me.”
Because of that, Johnson has rejected all other offers and, long ago, started counting down the days to signing day.
“I’m still committed to KU,” he said. “I can’t imagine anything changing that. It’s coming down to the wire, but I’m just ready to get it over with; I’m ready to sign right now.”
There is good news for Johnson and the rest of the commitments still hearing from other schools. Coaches have reached another dead period, so no contact of any kind is permitted between now and signing day.
Savage still thinking?
KU’s late-game wish list still includes a few high school seniors and junior-college prospects, and one name seems to have climbed to the top.
Arizona Western CC offensive lineman Dionte Savage, a 6-5, 345-pound guard who previously committed to Baylor, has reopened his recruitment and has been as busy as any prospect in the country during the past couple of weeks.
KU has put the full-court press on Savage, with head coach Charlie Weis and assistants Tim Grunhard, Jeff Blasko and Reggie Mitchell all playing a part.
Savage visited and loved KU during the final weekend of January and also has taken visits to Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Baylor remains a player and has done its best to hang on to Savage, who is expected to take his decision down to the wire.