Sunday, November 25, 2018

Shane Jackson: Les Miles should prioritize in-state recruiting for KU football

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles, left, and Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long talk during the "Hawk Talk" radio show on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Johnny's West in Lawrence.

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles, left, and Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long talk during the "Hawk Talk" radio show on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Johnny's West in Lawrence.


Les Miles set the tone on the importance of recruiting during his introductory press conference one week ago.

Miles, of course, will likely not be targeting the same type of recruits at Kansas that he was going after during his time at LSU. The Jayhawks, who have just one commit from the 2019 class, have a limited number of available scholarships to hand out.

“This place is a recruiting class or two away from being a very special football team,” Miles said.

Fans are understandably excited about Miles’ ability to recruit in Louisiana, which is home to multiple KU players such as the rookie duo of Pooka Williams and Corione Harris. Both players were four-star recruits out of high school and made an immediate impact for the Jayhawks in 2018.

But Miles has plenty of talent in his new backyard, and it might just be the most opportune time to make that a priority.

Bill Snyder has dominated in-state recruiting during his time at Kansas State, and it is often evident during Sunflower Showdowns. This season, in fact, K-State needed a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter to claim a win over KU.

On the drive, quarterback Alex Delton (Hays) delivered the go-ahead touchdown and Alex Barnes (Pittsburg) recorded a key run on fourth down. Dalton Schoen, who is from Overland Park, also had a crucial catch to keep the drive alive.

Snyder’s situation remains uncertain, however, after the team finished 5-7. Multiple outlets have published columns insisting that Snyder should hang it up. Miles, meanwhile, is arguably the biggest name Kansas has ever had as a head coach and can subtly show off a national championship ring when meeting with recruits.

“What we're going to do is we're going to work a 500 mile radius and we're going to get to those, and we're going to win in that group,” Miles said.

Miles backed that up in his first week on the new job, as St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Jayden Russell tweeted that he had been offered by Kansas again under the new head coach.

None by Jayden Russell 🏳

Russell, who is a three-star recruit, is the third-best Kansas player in the 2019 class via Rivals. This past weekend, Russell helped the Saints capture their first state title in program history with a 49-28 win over Wichita Northwest.

But Kansas is home to a multitude of D1 players, including at least four at Free State High School. Keenan Garber is verbally committed to play receiver at K-State after scoring 20 offensive touchdowns in his senior season.

Turner Corcoran, a four-star offensive lineman, has received a scholarship offer from nearly every big-time program in the nation. With Miles at the helm, KU should make it a priority to land the FSHS junior, who is ranked No. 11 at his position in the country.

The Kansas faithful got a good look this year at how much in-state players can impact a program.

Joe Dineen, KU’s all-time leader in tackles for loss, was considered one of the best linebackers in college football this season after playing his high school career at Free State. Keith Loneker and Bryce Torneden, who were also Firebirds, finished in the top 3 in total tackles along with Dineen.

Sure, fans should be excited about the prospect of Miles adding to “Louisianimals” in the near future. But there is room for some much-needed attention on the players in the program’s own state.

And now seems like the perfect time for the Jayhawks to beat the Wildcats for recruits in their backyard.


Steven Haag 3 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. There may only be a handful every year, and once every three years or so, we have a really good 4 star. We need to land some recruits, a good cast to join Miles and we should be able to add wins. That will double the number of recruits who are least willing to take a look at our program

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

According to Rivals, there are 13 high school players in Kansas rated 3-stars and above. A few may have unshakable commitments; the lineman to OU, the commits to Iowa State (prying them from Matt Campbell would be tough), but there are probably still 8 or 9 that might viable recruits. With the Snyder death-watch in full swing, KSU commits would seem to be possibilities.

If Miles could land two or three of these right away, it would get the momentum going. Jax Dineen is available, the kid from Aquinas, Mertz, others.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 7 months ago

I think in order to get recruits to come to KU, the recruits actually have to see progress. Miles is a great start, but if wins come and big wins on occasion l really think that the top Kansas players will look to KU not just OU and other top programs. This is a great start with a name coach, biggest KU has ever had, but stability, solid plan and wins will help the locals stay home.

Robert Brock 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, there are a few kids in Kansas worth recruiting. Get ‘em!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

Say what you want about Snyder, he is still landing the in-state recruits. So if he returns for next year I have to assume non of his commits will jump ship. If however he decides to leave then this would be Miles opportunity to change some minds.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 7 months ago

Agree, and you can bet Bill Snyder realizes that and that's part of his decision-making thought process.

Damian Glaze 3 years, 7 months ago

From what I hear and read, there isn't that much thought-process left in Snyder. K-State is in a bind because Snyder is not making it easy for them to transition. This will hurt them during the recruiting. Word is he will agree to step aside or he will be fired in the next couple weeks.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow! What have you done for me lately coach?

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm hoping a few more recruits from Texas.

Kansas would be nice and Louisiana will continue to aid us, but Texas is what Mangino filled his roster with and that helped us a lot.

The key though is to coach them up.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

I'll be the one to say it: Shane is off his rocker, and I hope you're reading this.

Should Kansas go after recruits in state? Yes.

Should Kansas prioritize them? No.

Priority means giving preference. Extra consideration. It's like affirmative action for in-state recruits.

No, Shane. Kansas should NOT prioritize in-state recruits.

We should prioritize the best recruits. Whether they come from Kansas or elsewhere.

I see things get so often repeated that people mistake it for truth. It's not truth. If a kid in Texas or Louisiana or Arkansas is better than a Kansas kid, get the out-of-state recruit. If the Kansas kid is better, get HIM!

Enough of this non-sense!

Jonathan Allison 3 years, 7 months ago

each recruit should be weighted by his value as a football player (recruit ranking), his commitment to academics (GPA eligibility), his character (off-the-field track record), and his likelihood to actually commit to KU (proximity/family history, etc.) in no particular order.

It would be worthless for KU to go all-in for 5 recruits and then end up with a class full of 2 players. Likewise we have to look at all of the JUCO studs we brought in over the years who barely even suited up for us because of the academics or off-field issues.

Every coach obviously tries to bring in the players whom he feels will help his team win. I would assume that all of these factors are considered just about every time. So the key is how much weight does the coach give to each quality.

Have we placed enough weight on local talent? It's debatable, and Shane is taking the side of saying that we haven't.

Either way I think we can all agree that the key to upgrading recruiting primarily lies in upgrading our W-L record. Upgrading our head coaching profile obviously helps to, but results on the field matter most.

Shane Jackson 3 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the headline could have been worded better, but the idea is to make in-state recruiting more of a priority. That hasn't really been the case, as K-State has had the edge on in-state kids for quite some time. Given the uncertainty of Snyder's status, and Les Miles' name, KU has a shot to start winning the state in the near future.

I get that KU should really go after the best players, no matter what. But too often local players have went elsewhere, because KU hasn't made them a priority during the recruiting process. That can and should change under Les Miles. I'm not saying all spots should be handed to Kansas kids.

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

If this is your stance, I can agree with it. With one caviat. I absolutely agree that Kansas kids have gone elsewhere, but I don't know for sure if it's been because of a lack of prioritization. It may have been the status of the program that chased them off. To be fair, I think it might be some of both; however, with the low stature of Kansas football in recent years, put in the balance I suspect that our futility comes out the heavier consideration. Consider the case of Amani Bledsoe. We were all in on that kid. He's a good measuring stick because he was a Lawrence product out of Lawrence High School who was definitely a "priority" for Kansas. But when Kansas wants you and Oklahoma wants you, too...given the comparative conditions at the two schools it's almost not a choice at all. Heck, even comparing Kansas and Kansas State in recent years might lead one to the same conclusion.

I graduated from Horton High School in KANSAS. A local product there by the name of Trey Dishon was a Jayhawk fan. His mother was a KU fan. His father, a KU fan. Each of his sisters were also dyed in Crimson and Blue. But he chose Kansas State because of the prestige of their program. I've spoken to him and I know this to be the case. He plays there now on the defensive line. Not an isolated situation.

The Newell family out of Hiawatha, Kansas--12 miles north of Horton--had the same situation. A family FULL of die-hard Jayhawks. Jayhawk flags on each of their houses and Jayhawk plates on the front of each of their cars. But Peyton Newell chose Nebraska because of the program's elevation. Kansas recruited that kid heavily. I know that because I spoke to his aunt at the annual Missy Newell Memorial Run (his mother died to cancer and this is a fundraising event held every year), and she said "Peyton is a Jayhawk, but he can't play for Kansas." How can you say "yes" to Kansas when storied Nebraska takes you on a tour of their stadium and facilities?

My intuition strongly informs me that Kansas' cellar-dweller status has played a role in Kansas' recruits decisions to go elsewhere outside of these 3 anecdotes.

It boils down to this. Equating the outcome of recruiting with Kansas' effort to get these guys is NOT a 1:1 correlation. There are other factors they weigh heavily. Yes, Kansas can do more to mine the State for talent. I don't disagree, there. I suspect with Les Miles here and Bill Snyder making an exit (it appears), the scales will tip in Kansas' favor. But let's just acknowledge the truth here: merely saying that Kansas State has won the battle for the recruitment of in-state players is not wholly a referendum on Kansas' effort in recruiting.

It just ain't.

Shane Jackson 3 years, 7 months ago

I 100 percent agree that players will choose to go elsewhere, and it doesn't necessarily mean KU didn't recruit well enough. This was very well said on your part. I just meant more that Les Miles reaching out to Jayden Russell on one of his first days is an example of making in-state players a priority. At the end of the day, Kansas kids can choose OU or someone else over KU and it not be KU's fault. But being the first to a lot of these kids, like Russell, can sometimes make the difference. Really appreciate your response though!

Joe Ross 3 years, 7 months ago

Interesting what Miles can do!

It's also interesting that Russell was offered and did not accept, but now he's happy to be re-offered by Miles. If he accepts that might suggest that the "Miles factor" might have an effect on recruiting that Kansas didn't have before, which would resonate with our intuition.

Btw, here is a video of Trey Dishon dunking a basketball in high school at 300 pounds. It's not quite Zion Williamson, but you get the idea. NOTICE THE SHIRT HE'S WEARING!

Shane Jackson 3 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

You guys haven't been reading my posts. The current Freshmen class, soon to be sophomores, is more than 50% recruited from Kansas and Missouri.

I think it's 23 recruits, 12 local and none of them are transfers!!

Steve Corder 3 years, 7 months ago

Shane, do you honestly think it smart to offer Miles tips on recruiting?

What’s next? Drawing up offensive plays?

Shane Jackson 3 years, 7 months ago

Miles won't be recruiting the same type of talent that he did at LSU. His recruiting philosophy should and will change. The premise of the column was to say that Les Miles has a chance to help KU get the edge on in-state kids over K-State for the first time in a long time.

Waylon Cook 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow, such breaking edge ideas. Glad we have Shane to mentor our head coach!

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree with Shane. People who fail are people who can’t focus. The fastest, best way to create momentum is to land some Kansas kids right now. This hire is bigger news in Kansas and Louisiana than it is anywhere else and he can leverage that to success right out of the gate. It would be idiotic to take any other approach.

Going forward we absolutely need to dominate Kansas recruiting and there is no good reason that we can’t. I also expect to see him land some kids from KCMO going forward. The best, smartest place to start building a roster is to build it close to home.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 7 months ago

No good reason not to dominate KS recruiting - well, except for the Joe's articulate response above.

Sometimes there are factors beyond focus though that perspective would explain a lot.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 7 months ago

The author gets a wrist slap from the moderator? Wow!

Brian Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

Miles will get as many 3+ stars as he can, period! My guess would be 3 to 5 local players and 3 to 5 outliers and then fill the remaining 18 with 2 star local potentials. I don't think he will take one transfer unless the kid is really good. KU has plenty of Seniors and Juniors to work with.

Mike Maddox 3 years, 7 months ago

We don't have that many scholarships to offer this year. I believe we have 14 + the one lone commit we already have.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

I take that back. We might get some transfers more than I think. But it won't be because we are desperate. Miles may have some really good players from other schools that come from Louisiana transfer just to play under him. Why not! But they will have to sit out anyway.

Jerry Ryan 3 years, 7 months ago

Kansas produces approximately a dozen football players every year that are 3 star and above that play Div 1 football. The 3 cities of Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston produce an average of 750 D-1 football players every year. Louisiana produces many more then the State of Kansas. This isn’t rocket science. It’s basic math. Yes, we all would love to see the local kids choose Kansas. But no, they should not be prioritized over recruits from other areas. No stone unturned.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

What's with all the venom directed towards Shane? We should be trying to recruit instate kids, that's what all programs do. Go after the low lying fruit.

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