Originally published January 27, 2014 at 08:19p.m., updated January 27, 2014 at 11:08p.m.

Two of nation’s top-ranked juco football players commit to Kansas

RB DeAndre Mann, D-End Anthony Olobia headed to Lawrence

Kansas University football recruiting.

Kansas University football recruiting.


Two of the top-ranked junior college players in the country chose Monday night as the night to announce their future plans.

Kansas University's already deep backfield got a little deeper when DeAndre Mann, the top-ranked junior-college running back in the country according to, orally committed to KU Monday evening. A couple of hours later, broke the news that KU also received an oral commitment from the nation's No. 2-ranked defensive end, Arizona Western's Anthony Olobia.

Mann, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound Miami native, chose KU over Georgia State. He drew offers from Miami (Fla.) and Purdue and others, and even turned down an invitation to visit the Hurricanes program he grew up watching.

The powerful back who earned first-team All-American honors after rushing for 1,706 yards and 30 touchdowns for Hartnell College during 2013, said the opportunity to be tutored by coaches with NFL ties and test himself in a power conference played big roles in his decision.

"Growing up in Miami, I have played very good football," Mann told Jon Kirby of "I know people talk a lot about the football in Texas and California but the football in Miami (and Florida) might be the best. Playing in the NFL is one of my childhood dreams. So I thought if I want to prove that I am that good then I need to play in a good conference like the Big 12. I want to prove to people what my skills are."

Olobia, 6-5, 240, chose Kansas over offers from Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Utah. Olobia made an official visit to Auburn in December and later described the experience as “the perfect visit.” Despite Auburn's interest, the database shows no offer was ever extended, which helped KU land Olobia.

Mann's commitment bolsters a KU backfield that already includes returners Brandon Bourbon, Taylor Cox and Darrian Miller, as well as incoming freshman Traevohn Wrench, who is expected to sign his national letter of intent with KU on Feb. 5. Olobia's commitment gives KU six defensive linemen in the current class, including four defensive ends.

Mann and Olobia become the 22nd and 23rd commitments in KU's Class of 2014. The Jayhawks have the ability to sign up to three more players in the current class but are likely to leave a spot or two open for potential transfers down the road.


Jacob Zutterman 8 years, 10 months ago

KU over Georgia St. as the top JUCO RB? Someone please explain this to me. Is he a sophomore or junior? Maybe a starter in 2 years?

Terry N Tom Denner 8 years, 10 months ago

Or some WR's that can catch the dang football !!

Joe Ross 8 years, 10 months ago

Justify your hype gentlemen. Hard work, talent, and commitment to progress...

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to know a little more about Olobia. It sounds like he got some really strong interest from some serious football schools. Where did he play HS ball? Did anyone recruit him out of HS? When did he take up the sport? Who else on the team is from AZ Western CC? Did they have any influence on his decision?

Matt Tait 8 years, 10 months ago

Trying to get ahold of him to get all that info. Stand by.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 10 months ago

Thanks Matt! I knew that the information would come eventually, but I was just surprised that none of it made the first draft.

Bill Habenicht 8 years, 10 months ago

He played at Liberty in the Seattle area. He played all through HS. His dad is a former Olympic track athlete and football player (WSU) and drafted but never played in the NFL regular season.

Deb Fitch 8 years, 10 months ago

Isn't this class heavy on defense? Nice to see we are recruiting well on that side of the ball but don't we need some offensive lineman and wide receivers?

Matt Tait 8 years, 10 months ago

The emphasis is definitely on defense - particularly on speed on defense - but there are 4 OL commitments, 4 WR commitments and 2 RB commitments in this class. And that doesn't even count TE Kent Taylor and QB T.J. Millweard.

So as you can see, it's actually pretty balanced, both between offense and defense and between juco players and high school guys.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm really fired up about Taylor and the other 4 OL guys. Hopefully out of the new guys and the returning old guys we can come up with an OL.

With no improvement in the OL....3 wins at best. Competitive OL.....6 or 7 wins...and a bowl game.

The OL development will determine Weis as a success/flop. Keep us posted.

Ryan Shelton 8 years, 10 months ago

Agree. The O Line

Dictates whether or not Jake

Heaps stays in the game.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Good point, Suzi. Every OCoordinator knows the O-line is the key to the whole offense, and WR's who can actually catch.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 10 months ago

Great thing is our OC is a OL coach so hopefully that will help.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 10 months ago

We've got the middle of the line covered. OT's are what we need, not that you pass on a stud somewhere else (FB, LB, OG, ...)

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 10 months ago

I've learned a few things from this latest round of JUCO guys (last year included), but the one thing that keeps surprising me is how many JUCOs there are! I've never even heard of Hartnell College...I suppose my interest will eventually force me to google it, since it obviously isn't in the Jayhawk Conference.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 10 months ago


That is a quote I was assailed at by a bunch of Mizzou Morons. Please Charlie and staff, make our program better.....these two young men sound like a great step in the right direction.

Regarding WR..I don't care if they are as slow as my Aunt Charlene....just bring in someone who can catch the damn ball!!!

Terry N Tom Denner 8 years, 10 months ago

Do not pay any attention to the meth heads from Mizzo. Missouri is the Meth Capital of the United States and that is all they themselves know how to breath.

Lance Cheney 8 years, 10 months ago

That's not true. We have lots of guys standing on the sideline who are breathing.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 10 months ago

We have a couple WRs who redshirted last year in Hyman and Thomas. Also the four that are coming in Patrick, Crawley, Hartzog and Neal (can play both sides). I think the two most likely to come in and play are Neal and Crawley, but Hartzog could be a darkhorse.

We have 4 OLs coming in which isn't a bad number and I know we have quite a few that redshirted last year or came in and started.

We loaded up on DLs this year. We have 5 guys that are either DTs or DEs. A few of those guys will probably redshirt, because we still have Johnson, Stowers, Goodman and finally we will get to see Bolton off his redshirt year getting healthy. So a few will impact immediately and a couple will redshirt.

I think we are good at LB with Arnick, Heeney, Love, MJM, Simmons, Miles, Ash, Goeas. It would be cool to see Watson get in the mix soon but he might redshirt but hey you never know but I see the other guys RS.

With DBs we got great guys coming back, and with this years JUCO help it just fills in. A few may Redshirt but i could see a couple of the guys helping out and playing.

Bobby Oviemena Birhiray 8 years, 10 months ago

I like our LBs but compared to the rest of the Big 12, they are a little undersized. Other schools LBs average a height of 6'3" & weight 240lb. We are closer to 6'1" & 235lb. I believe that area has a small margin of error! But if we can get some 2 techniques and 4's to keep these Guards off of our LB's, it shouldn't be a problem.

Robert Brock 8 years, 10 months ago

We can be grateful that we finally beat Georgia State for a recruit. Things are heating up!

David A. Smith 8 years, 10 months ago

You seem to have missed the bigger point- we beat MIami for a first team AA Juco RB.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 10 months ago

This kid is from Miami and turned down the Hurricanes. Think about that.

Robert Brock 8 years, 10 months ago

Miami deserves the death penalty. Maybe he knows it...

Yolanda Gay 8 years, 10 months ago

Top juco recruits. Hmm...where have I heard that before. Oh yes, last year. I'll wait and see if they qualify and then how they perform at the next level. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, thrice........

David A. Smith 8 years, 10 months ago

Stowers, McDonald, Pardula, Miller, Faifili, McKinney and others were Juco's- and solid difference makers. Some don't stick- but thats certainly not exclusive to KU. But, we also need to remember that some 4 and 5 star HS guys don't live up to their hype. So, we always have to wait and see- not just with top jucos.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 10 months ago

Glad to get another D-lineman. We need to spend out remaining 3 schollys on d-linemen.

As far as Mann is concerned...he won't see the field much.

Between cox, Miller, Bourbon, and Wrench...the backfield is too crowded.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 10 months ago

I see Mann being a return guy with Kevin Short if he plays. Wrench may redshirt, and Mann might redshirt too. You have Cox, Miller, Bourbon, Pierson, Wrench, and Mann as the top 5 backs... You never know Wrench or even Mann might out play Cox.... You never know Mann had 300 more yard rushing and 15 more TDs in his last year of Juco. I think Miller and Bourbon will be the top two guys tho. It will be interesting. I am glad to see that we are starting to have competition at some key positions finally.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 10 months ago

Mann is going to be the guy next year, google his training videos. This guy is a beast.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 10 months ago

Thats what I am talking about... The guys arms are huge. I think Wrench will RS and I think Cox will get lost in the mix again ultimately. Bourbon is just way to much to handle and is a great talent and it will depend on what goes on with Miller hopefully we see a lot of him.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 10 months ago

Mann has 2 years to play 2, there will be no RS.

Gerry Butler 8 years, 10 months ago

oh its really good to see the guys that's are ALWAYS trying to pull the program down, is the rest of your lives really that sad? some of you DO NOT realize how bad of shape this football program is in, but even when coach weis does bring in quality talent thee are some on here that always like to turn positive aspects into NEGATIVE unbelievable, comments like oh I'm glad we beat out Georgia state, good god REALLY? no wonder other players that are even the possibility considering coming here , they here about the support of the fans here on this program you don't think that doesn't weight in their decision? it you don't then holler at me I have got a bridge in San Francisco I CAN sell to you REALLY cheap. did you not see mr Georgia state that we also beat out Miami, Oklahoma and auburn that was in the mix for these guys? this is NOT a 1yr, 2 yr or even 3 yr thing the shape wonderful mr turner gill let this program you wanna talk pathetic decision for a coach? look no futher. the people that run off the last decent coach we had COACH MANGINO oh no we can't have mean getting in my golden spooned I'm the perfect child, my little baby's face talking aggressively , getting a little physical with my baby uh oh hell no we to get rid of him so who we get to replace him? you do not hear why these recruits that's coming are coming here? its because of the coaching staff their experience with the NFL getting the opportunity to learn. there ae some really good quality athletes that are on there way here but if you think we are going to turn into conference contenders over night? then GET REAL time to wake up and take a good hard slap of reality, you just can't turn a program that's in the type of state we are in to get turned around quick or even semi quick, coach weis is doing what he can that's one reason for a lot of the juco's trying to help get a quick fix patch it up UNTIL he can get the type of players that's gonna help get this turned around GO HAWKS

8 years, 10 months ago

Win some games and I'll get excited

Dillon Davis 8 years, 10 months ago

I think it's great that we're hitting the Juco ranks and that we got 2 of the best players at their positions according to some site I've never heard of. But what I'm concerned with, or at least what I would be if I were Charlie Weis, is how come all of this JUCO talent in the state of Kansas is going to either KSU or out of state schools? It's no secret that KS is a hotbed for JUCO talent. If you take a look at Rivals postseason top 100 JUCO rankings: you'll see that there are close to 20 guys on this list from KS and none of them picked us. Now I know we haven't had much success recently and maybe that plays a factor, but the fact that we are so bad should also say to these guys that hey we have a ton of PT available, come play for us. A lot of these KS guys didn't even get offers from us and that makes me curious too. If Charlie is all for JUCO talent then he needs to start hitting the schools in our state a lot harder than he is.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 10 months ago

There was a rumor of the Athletic department cutting some of Weis's budget... Does anyone have more information on this?

I think they should be giving him more money to try and get this program back to where it was in 07. We need to update the stadium and other things. We are one of the leaders in sports technology and our training facilities from what I heard are very good. But kids wont get to see that kind of stuff unless we get them to a game. I just don't know why we would cut the budget unless that is to save some money for the stadium renovations that i really wish were happening right now. But i understand the money isn't in place yet or even a real plan other than to take out the track.

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