Monday, November 19, 2018


Matt Tait: KU’s lack of commitments in 2019 class actually an advantage for Les Miles

Newly hired University of Kansas football coach Les Miles speaks to the media Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.

Newly hired University of Kansas football coach Les Miles speaks to the media Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.


A funny thing happened on the way to hiring Les Miles.

The outgoing Kansas football staff left him just one committed player in the 2019 class. And it might have been the best thing that ever could have happened.

Sure, in a perfect world, you’d like to have a much more complete recruiting class by the time the early signing period rolls around in mid-December. But it’s been ages since the KU football world was perfect, and this odd hiccup — one that would’ve hindered David Beaty, but might help Miles — actually could end up benefiting Kansas.

This is not a full-on indictment of Beaty and the job he did. Yes, Beaty’s record was abysmal, but he did bring in some talented players. Not enough of them and not always through the best channels for long-term development and sustainability. But the roster has talent. Even Miles said as much, calling the Jayhawks “a recruiting class or two away from being a very special football team.”

Miles’ words were probably superfluous. After all, he likely would not have taken the job if Kansas didn’t have something to offer in the way of talent.

And now, Miles gets to add to it.

Conventional wisdom in college football recruiting says that if half of any given recruiting class winds up panning out, you’ve done well.

The same standard will apply to Miles, who said he anticipated adding a group of 15 players in the 2019 recruiting class.

That’s 10 shy of the NCAA maximum 25 allowed per signing class, and Beaty’s propensity for blueshirting players and counting them forward to a future class, thus cutting into the 25 allowed in the next class, is the reason for the shortage.

When Beaty was hired in December 2014, KU already had seven commitments and he added 18 more to the 2015 class.

When Charlie Weis was hired in December 2011, Turner Gill’s staff had secured just three commitments, but because KU’s 2012 class was limited to 21 players, Weis also went out and added 18 players.

From a pure numbers standpoint, 15 and 18 aren't that far apart.

If you look at it that way, Miles really isn’t starting that far behind.

It's true that Miles has fewer days to put together his first collection of talent, but don't think for a second that the calendar will limit the talent pool he pulls from. Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long made that clear on Sunday.

"Maybe there are some football (prospects) who weren't necessarily looking at our program, but they're aware of our program through basketball, but now they know we have a national championship coach on our football team and they will take a closer look at the University of Kansas," Long said. "That's really the important piece about this. It's the brand of the KU Jayhawks, and we're hoping people will sit up and take notice and those who have maybe made soft commitments elsewhere, if coach Miles is interested in them, that maybe they will turn and take a closer look at what we have to offer."

No one knows better than Miles what he’s looking for in a player, both at a specific position and philosophically, so it’s an advantage that the 15 players he adds to this roster will all be players made in his mold.

It remains to be seen what that will mean at Kansas. But at LSU, it centered on traits like toughness, speed, athleticism and passion.

Regardless of whether those qualities remain important or others are added to the list, it seemed crystal clear on Sunday that even though he’s been out of the coaching game for two seasons, Miles has not lost sight of what he values in a football player.

Shortly after his introductory news conference, during a brief individual sit-down with the Journal-World, Miles shared a glimpse of what Saturdays had been like these past 26 months since being relieved of his duties at LSU in September 2016.

“We would put on a TV in five different spots and five different games and go from couch to pool to garage, just to watch and stay in touch,” he said.

Miles has been watching. And now he gets the opportunity to bring some of that talent to life.


Dirk Medema 3 years, 7 months ago

Matt - it doesn't take a lot of digging to realize that a chunk of Les' downfall was the lack of O - even by SEC stds. He has made comments about re-evaluating during the time off some of his ideas about the game and how to play it. Any idea what those changes might entail?

Maybe a related question- what's the over/under on days to OC/DC? Rest of the coaches? Will we know what positions are added for support staff?

Matt Tait 3 years, 7 months ago

Benton dove into Les’ offense & the development of that during his time away. And I think the coaches come quick. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have his OC & DC in place by the end of the week.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 7 months ago

More specifically his failure at LSU was the ability to get his QB in place every year. He had a couple of really good QB's and his offense was fine when he had that piece of the puzzle. Nothing wrong with a strong running game setting up the pass. You simply need a QB who can hit the open man or tuck the ball and run when left open. There were times he was limited by a lack of that guy.

Sean Kelly 3 years, 7 months ago

Matt- Have you heard of any other coaches who were in the running for the job or was Les the only real candidate? Any idea on who plan B might've been?

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

The time away from football has rejuvenated the old coach. So it appears Les Miles has, er...less miles than some might assume.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

For the kids in the back, what Matt is saying is that Les can recruit better players than Beaty, so it's better that the latter didn't fill the cupboards with his own recruits.

Only Matt said it much more graciously.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a real optimist article. Hey it's okay we only have 1 recruit, it let's the new coach do what he really is good at.

I'm sure KU has a few recruits that are on the edge, and there are some that if the offer is made, they commit; however, I think with Les it might open up a few doors that just weren't quite there and get the top ones that Beaty had lined up waiting to commit.

We look forward to continued news.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

You can offer a total of 85 scholarships at one time and we have 112 players on our current roster but we lose 26 to graduation and we can add 25 new recruits except that number is down to 15 because of the 10 blue shirts from last year. Makes perfect sense to me.

John Swift 3 years, 7 months ago

A little help please. Had to look up definition of blue shirts and now the question is why did we have so many (10)?. What class was over enrolled and why so many in one year. Rule says they cannot be recruited or even take and official visit. What did we do this?

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

Would be easier to comprehend if the roster listed players by class and category (red shirt, blue shirt, walk on).

Al Martin 3 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if Miles might do a couple of blue shirts, too, just to get the classes balanced a bit better.

Al Martin 3 years, 7 months ago

Saw a comment in another article that indicates that this might be counterproductive, so never mind.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

The current class imbalances was a by product of the recruiting of Charlie Weis. He left Beaty with classes that were huge one year and very small the next. Having a big senior class this year combined with a smaller recruiting class is not a bad thing for getting the class sizes back in order to where they're all close in size.

David Beaty blueshirting people was done to help that situation as best he could.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

Charlie Weis has been gone for four years. Beaty has had three full recruiting classes to, at the very minimum, substantially improve the scholarship base. He has done the opposite and, as Keegan documented thoroughly, is leaving it just as bad as he found it.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 7 months ago

The scholarship numbers are nowhere near as bad as what it was when Weis left here. Neither you or Keegan know what you are talking about.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

Keep trusting the word of a man who had an agenda against Beaty and lost his ability to properly cover the team because he list his access to the program.

And yes, the scholarship situation does fall mostly on Weis at this point because he screwed it up that badly.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

NOT EVEN CLOSE. Beaty is leaving us in much much much better shape than Weis. Keegan never got it right. Beaty had like 25 Junior and Senior scholarship players when school started and most of them were duds.. Beaty had to add 60 walk-ons to that mess. Miles is coming in and will have over 50 Juniors and Seniors next fall and he has a some pretty good talent mixed in.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 7 months ago

Have Hull call LA see who wants to come, sign em up. I'm sure that Miles will look to TX, MO, KS, since he also coached at OKst and knows the Big 12 recruiting landscape, but his strongest ties are in LA. Call some old friends from the high school ranks and get going. He's still a big name in LA so lm sure that there will be interest. Plus he wouldn't mind taking a few from LSU as a middle finger to them as well.

Steve Corder 3 years, 7 months ago

Good article. However, what is meant by "philosophical" as regards to talent? I don't think that characteristic of LSU players was ever uttered in Baton Rouge, but it is obvious KU and Lawrence are different...philosophically speaking.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 7 months ago

Man it's outrageous that KU seems to struggle in recruiting the way they do. Total lack of leadership at the top. Lawrence is a very cool town to recruit to and KU is a remarkable institution. Lawrence sure is a helluva lot better than Manhattan and they seem to not have any issues getting kids there. Les Miles should definitely make some waves in recruiting by bringing some credibility to the program. It's also hard to recruit no matter where you are when you struggle winning two games per year.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 7 months ago

KSU has had issues with recruiting for awhile. They are usually 8th or 9th in recruiting in the B12 and currently only have 8 players committed which is 7 less than everyone else in the B12 minus KU. Their recruiting has been bad the past few years and why they're near the bottom of the B12 now with little hope of ever getting back to where they were on a consistent basis.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

For the first time ever I'm actually hoping Snyder doesn't retire.

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