Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pair of juco defenders commit to KU football

Jayhawks add CB and DE to recruiting class

Kansas University football recruiting

Kansas University football recruiting


David Beaty’s December hot streak continued Tuesday as the Kansas head football coach, who just signed a two-year contract extension, landed verbal commitments from a pair of defensive prospects.

Northwest Mississippi Community College defensive end Willie McCaleb let the KU coaches know of his decision to sign first, and Mesa Community College cornerback Shakial Taylor did the same shortly after.

McCaleb told Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant he called defensive line coach Michael Slater Tuesday to share his intentions, then spoke with the Jayhawks’ head coach, too. According to the 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman, Beaty said that news “made his day.”

From what Taylor related to Kirby at Jayhawk Slant, Beaty had a similar reaction upon learning the 6-foot-1, 180-pound defensive back was on board, too.

“I called coach Beaty to let him know,” Taylor said. “When I told him I was committing he started screaming and everybody was wondering why he was yelling. Then he told them I have committed.”

Rated a three-star juco defensive end by Rivals, McCaleb said he will sign with KU Wednesday, and he plans to enroll for the upcoming spring semester. McCaleb had interest from both Troy and Kansas and visited both programs in the past week. The addition of McCaleb to the 2017 recruiting class fills a void created when defensive lineman Jamie Tago backed out of his verbal commitment to KU a day earlier.

In his sophomore season with Northwest Mississippi C.C., McCaleb earned All-MACJC honors after making 42 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. The defensive end also was nominated for a spot on the All-American team, which has yet to be announced.

When Taylor, rated a three-star juco cornerback by Rivals, arrives in Lawrence and steps foot on the Memorial Stadium turf, it won’t be the first time. Before playing at Mesa C.C., he spent his freshman year at South Dakota State, and actually played in the Jackrabbits’ 41-38 victory at Kansas, in Beaty’s debut as head coach.

“They said they went back and watched every snap I played for three hours,” Taylor told Jayhawk Slant.

As a sophomore with Mesa C.C., Taylor — who also had interest from Arizona State, Memphis, New Mexico, UNLV and Middle Tennessee State — recorded 18 pass breakups, an interception and 42 total tackles.

KU assistant coaches Todd Bradford and Kenny Perry both traveled out to Arizona to observe Taylor and recruit him. This past weekend, the corner visited KU before making his decision to sign on Wednesday.

“The facilities were great but it was really the people,” Taylor told Jayhawk Slant. “It felt like they cared about you and they are genuine guys. I felt like it was a place I could live after playing football. Being around the team it felt like home in that environment.”

None by Shak Taylor

KU’s 2017 recruiting class, as it stands Tuesday:

QB Peyton Bender

DB Hasan Defense

LB Jay Dineen

OL Joey Gilbertson

DT J.J. Holmes

LB Kyron Johnson

K Liam Jones

WR/Ath. Travis Jordan

DE Willie McCaleb

DL KeyShaun Simmons

WR Kenyon Tabor

CB Shakial Taylor

DB Robert Topps

RB Dominic Williams

WR Takulve Williams


Karen Mansfield-Stewart 5 years, 7 months ago

Great news. Congratulations to all.

Does anyone know the JUCO to high school ratio? It seems like we have a lot of JUCO guys this class.

Shawn Schaller 5 years, 7 months ago

Right? Why all these JuCo guys? It's not like we're just 2 years away from something huge?

Brett McCabe 5 years, 7 months ago

Definitely heavy JUCO and transfer class. My opinion - there are two things at work.

One: Seven home games next year means a better-than-average chance at getting something done. It would be a good time to have the roster as full as possible with ready-to-play guys.

Two: I'm guessing that the scholarship allotment opens up next year to a full 25, so Beaty knows that he'll be able to load up that class with freshmen, give them a year to mature and then bring the best onto the field in their sophomore years.

One thing that I will definitely trust Beaty with and that is roster management. As a former recruiting coordinator, I believe he probably knows exactly what he's doing, what's next and what's next after that. In this area, I'll follow blindly - until I walk into a wall.

Jonathan Briles 5 years, 7 months ago

We have 16 commits. 6 are juco and 10 are HS. I really don't think it's that bad especially when you think about what holes they are filling. We lost our two starting CB's and now got two to fill their places. We lost several D lineman and are signing three. Then we have our greatest need... QB. We needed ready to play guys at all those positions and the best part is that as far as I know every one of them will be here for spring ball. With what he had to work with I think Beaty has done an outstanding job with this class.

John Brazelton 5 years, 7 months ago

Next year should be a break-out year for KU football. Most of our best offensive players will be either juniors or sophmores. Most of our departing seniors were defensive players. The JUCO recruits are to keep our defense from taking a step back. If the starting QB is determined during Spring and Fall camps, then we should get off to a quick start. The goal for next season should be 4 to 6 wins.

David Kemp 5 years, 7 months ago

Picking up a few quality walki ons would be real helpful as well

David Kemp 5 years, 7 months ago

Juco recruits are filling spots left by starting seniors so ptetty necessary to fill those spots while bringing freshman along.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 7 months ago

Reading Taylor's background is one of those once or twice a year occurrences when I am reminded of the challenges that some kids have to overcome in order to pursue their dreams. No matter how many times I read them, I find the stories inspiring - and humbling.

Happy to have both of these guys as Jayhawks. Very excited about this recruiting class and looking forward to seven tailgates and home games next fall.

Michael Maris 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, look who made the 24/7 Best True Freshman List.

So, at least Mike Lee made one of the Best True Freshman Class.

How I remember the morning drives to work listening to Bill (is) King, Bobby Burton, Chris Childers, etc..... on the old Sirius Rivals Radio show. Then, Paul Finebaum was in the afternoon drive show.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 5 years, 7 months ago

That's quite an honor for Mike. He deserves the attention.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

When evaluating this recruiting class it's important to realize that all the JC recruits have been on campus for the spring semester. No late arrival or no shows of the past that rightfully soured many.

It is also important to include the players that are already here. It includes a couple more transfers but 2 of the most highly anticipated recruits in quite some time. It also includes a freshman OT that has already started for an entire year and a DB that is getting national attention.

This DE sounds like a great compliment to Armstrong and a 6-1 CB is phenomenal.

Micky Baker 5 years, 7 months ago

That couple of extra inches in height can be a big deal if the guy can cover.

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