Thursday, January 29, 2015

KU keeping an eye on football recruits

Kansas University football recruiting.

Kansas University football recruiting.


With national signing day less than a week away and coaches across the country still scrambling to fill their classes or find those diamond-in-the-rough athletes, it has become a tense time for the Kansas University football staff.

Not only are head coach David Beaty and company still trying to fill the open spots in this year’s class — according to, the Jayhawks still have four openings and will welcome seven athletes to town for official visits this weekend — but they’re also fighting like crazy to hold on to the commitments they have.

In the past five days alone, three three-star commitments have de-committed from KU to pledge their services to other schools and another dropped off the radar completely.

The most recent defection came from Olathe North tight end Josh Moore, who very publicly and bluntly announced his separation from KU on Twitter late Tuesday night. It is not yet known where Moore will end up — sources have indicated the junior-college route could be in his future due to academic issues — but his departure along with those of wide receiver Kevin Thomas (SMU) and defensive back Arico Evans (TCU) have taken some of the luster off of KU’s current class, which already includes eight mid-year transfers who are on campus.

This kind of movement is common any time programs go through a coaching change. And while nobody likes to see their school lose guys to other programs, the Jayhawks are doing their share of holding onto guys, as well. Jon Kirby of reported Wednesday that several other KU commitments have been approached by other schools during the past couple of weeks. Aside from Evans, Moore and Thomas, many of them have held strong on their commitments to Kansas.

The most recent such instance came from Fort Worth, Texas, running back Taylor Martin, a 5-foot-9, 187-pound two-star prospect who committed to KU last June. Coaches from hometown powerhouse TCU recently made a run at Martin, but the back told Kirby this week that nothing had changed in his mind.

“I told the coaches at TCU I made my decision to commit to Kansas and that’s what I am doing,” Martin told Kirby. “I am close with (KU running backs) coach (Reggie) Mitchell and he has stayed with me through the coaching change. I’m looking forward to signing with Kansas.”

Martin and the rest of the Class of 2015 will be eligible to sign their letters of intent bright and early Wednesday morning. Until then, it’s hold-your-breath-and-scramble time for the first-year KU coaching staff that has hit the recruiting trail with the disadvantage of limited time but made up for it by working tirelessly since the dead period ended earlier this month.

This weekend figures to be big for KU’s recruiting efforts, as the Jayhawks will welcome to town four already-committed players — DB Shola Ayinde, DB Shaquille Richmond, WR Steven Sims and QB Carter Stanley — and three targets in Derby High defensive back Darreon Jackson (3 stars), Fullerton Community College defensive back Marnez Ogletree (5-10, 190, 2 stars) and Coffeyville Community College offensive lineman Jaypee Philbert (6-6, 305, 3 stars).

As of Wednesday night, KU’s 2015 class breaks down like this: five defensive backs, four offensive linemen, four wide receivers, three defensive linemen, two running backs, two quarterbacks and one linebacker.

Ten of the 13 unsigned but committed athletes are from Texas, with Kansas, Florida and Oklahoma also being represented. Six of the eight mid-year signees came from Texas junior colleges, as well.

The class, as it stands today, includes 10 three-star prospects and 11 two-star prospects. In addition, true to his word when he was hired, Beaty also has put in a ton of work to bring on board several walk-ons, many of them of the preferred variety and a few who may have a chance to contribute immediately.


Brett McCabe 7 years, 4 months ago

If Evans, Thomas and Moor are the decommits, whose the guy who dropped off the radar?

No schollies for punters or kickers? Big mistake.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 4 months ago

I think they were referring to Moore, since he hasn't committed elsewhere. That would make it one of the other names that is missing. At least I "think" that's the case.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 4 months ago

Schollies are rarely given to K/P, and while I'm not ready to call it a mistake, it definitely is a concern. The pre-Pardula years are still way too vivid.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 4 months ago

I think KU has to start getting creative with recruiting. Why not take a flyer on a kid like this. Nothing like a kid who feels like they have something to prove.

Ryan Woods 7 years, 4 months ago

The KU coaches promised the Florida QB that they wouldn't look at anymore QBs.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 4 months ago

Chris, That article makes it appear no one has evaluated the kid. They have and so far all of them feel they have a better guy. One scout has said he is borderline between D1 and D2. We have two very excellent QB recruits. Why would we want to waste a scholie on another when we have greater needs on the O-Line and Secondary.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 4 months ago

Jim, you don't think schollies have been wasted over the previous 8 years? It's embarassing.

You think Bill Snyder is getting top notch recruits? He's built a culture and taken a lot of flyers on kids he has believed in.

I want kids that have something to prove regardless of evaluations, recruiting rankings, scouts, and rankings.

That's the problem these days...coaches are spending too much time putting faith into these services and all star camps rather than doing their own homework.

Be creative!!!!!!!!!

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 4 months ago

Based on what I’ve read about Snyder, he goes after players with high character. Kid’s who want to play and won’t give up. It’s worked well for him but seems to me his teams run into a ceiling each year and they ultimately beaten by opponents with better talent.

Robert Brown 7 years, 4 months ago

It is humorous to listen to some KU fans criticize KSU because they reach a ceiling when playing teams with more talent. In the BCS era, they finished ranked in the Top 25 eight times. In its history, KU has not ended the season ranked that many times.

Al Martin 7 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I'd very much like to get to where we have K-State's ceiling "problem" before we try to address it. Right now, we should address our "on the floor" problem, and K-State's model is not something I would scoff at.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 4 months ago

No criticism intended on my part. I was only trying to illustrate the limitations one is faced with when your roster is comprised of mostly 2 and 3 star caliber athletes. The fact that he has been able to win so consistently with less talent than his counterparts is to his credit.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 4 months ago

The fact that schollies have been wasted in the past means that we should throw a schollie at a kid that no one else is offering when we already have 2 in this class and 4 (?) on the roster?

You also seem to think that the coaches aren't doing their homework and just doing what you do; reviewing rankings and camps. News flash: These coaches have been successful because they are doing their homework.

So what creativity (something that isn't otherwise being done) are you proposing?

Chris Shaw 7 years, 4 months ago

2 star? 3 star? 4 star? 5 star? NR?....who cares? People are so concerned over a number or symbol by their name.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

Rankings are not an exact science, but they do give a pretty good indicator of where a team will be at when that class develops. KU has been near the bottom of the Big 12 rankings each of the past few years and the one class that wasn't was ripped apart when Weis got here.

Conrad 'Cory' Miller 7 years, 4 months ago

Funny how I never see comments like this on the basketball recruiting articles. Top teams have top recruits, this is not good. Hopefully our coaches can coach on game day, that will be what gets us back on track.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the BB comments are the polar opposite. People lament when we don't have "enough" 5*'s and McD's, and generally disassociate their earlier comments when Mason, Graham, ... are playing at elite levels.

Conrad 'Cory' Miller 7 years, 4 months ago

Agree, but if Bill Self started singing 2 and 3 star players for a couple classes, people would need to be talked off the edge! I just hope this coaching staff can coach and we see player improvement from game to game.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 4 months ago

Michael, Absolutely true! But what is your expectation of Kansas Football? Therein lies the the question?

  Are we  as KU fans foolishly expecting 10/11 win seasons? If you are, I think you are incredibly unrealistic at the moment. Can you build towards that? No doubt, but you aren't gonna get there anytime soon.

I mean, is it too much to shoot for .500, 7, or 8 win seasons? At this point, a 5 win season would be a step in the right direction from my vantage point.

 A consistent .500 program in one of the top football conferences in the country isn't asking much. Just make it a respectable program.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 4 months ago

I don’t expect to win 10 games a year but I don’t think going to a bowl game on a regular basis is unrealistic. If we schedule 3 cupcakes a year we only need to beat 3 conference opponents to become bowl eligible. Would also like to see the double digit losing streaks come to an end. We don’t have to beat the OU’s, and UT’s every year but we need to beat them occasionally. If we can reach this level of competition then an occasional run for a conference title is possible. A Big 12 title for me would be the ultimate but I’m not ready to put it on my wish list at this time. All of the above would become easier to achieve if the conference ever gets back to 12 teams. That would mean a 4 game non conference schedule and one less conference team to play. I won’t judge next year’s team on wins and losses.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

The Big 12 needs Texas to become a dominant program again. Recruiting is way down in the Big 12 and it's because of UT's struggles. This is a domino effect that impacts the rest of the league as well. The Big 12 has a total of one 5 star commitment this season so far. That means Texas and OU are going after more 3 and 4 star players because they aren't landing the 5 star players. This does impact KU's recruiting because some of those 3 star kids are ones that KU would be able to land in the past if OU and UT were landing 5 star kids instead of settling on 3 star kids. It also makes more competition for the other 3 star kids because the there aren't as many available. The Big 12 needs a dominant UT so both them and OU can start landing 5 star kids again instead of targeting the 3 star kids that KU used to be able to land.

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree that OU and UT are taking some of the recruits we could normally get, but I don't mind it for a few years. When you get down to two and three star recruits the difference between them is almost non existent. If they don't have rosters loaded with four and five star talent then we have a chance to develop our guys and have a fighting chance of beating them and getting closer to closing the talent gap. We need to take advantage of their struggles and use it as a chance to get closer. I don't like losing recruits to them, but I do like not having to go up against a roster of top elite players.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 4 months ago

Aaron - The Big 12 needs its top teams to schedule at least 1 quality (ie. pulse) non-con opponent and keep from piddling down their leg once they get to a bowl game more than they need UT to be dominant. What you don't factor into your analysis is the change in the recruiting landscape over the previous years, where BU has become relevant, aTm is breathing again and in particular open the door to pandora's box of SEC schools, ...

Whether UT is dominant or not, gone are the days when a non-UT school can live off TX schools. KU's bigger concern is the total poaching of KS/KC talent by non-KU schools. There are 7 quality recruits (3 & 4) that would have done wonders for our class that got away, and most went out of state. Our class takes a massive jump if we can just recruit better close to home. Hopefully, Gary Weir in particular can change that in the years to come.

Lance Cheney 7 years, 4 months ago

"Hopefully, Gary Weir in particular can change that in the years to come."

Ironically enough, it seems he's the reason one of our top recruits (Josh Moore) is decommitting. But I do agree with your point.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 4 months ago

Gary is the reason? Hadn't heard anything along those lines before. Do you (someone?) have more insight?

Lance Cheney 7 years, 4 months ago

Well just that on his Twitter account he wrote something along the lines of, "My coach made me go to his favorite school when I didn't want to." I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that. In hindsight, I should've worded it differently. I guess Weir isn't the REASON that he left, but he couldn't keep him committed. Actually, I should've just kept my mouth shut.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 4 months ago

As for the NM QB, there is an interesting quote from dear old dad, "It's funny, because he stopped opening them because he knew it was filler mail."

What's the chances one of those unopened pieces of mail had an offer, request for the kid to respond, ...

But he "hasn't let it effected him on or off the field". Just stopped opening the recruiting mail. No change whatsoever.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.