Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Les Miles’ first KU football recruiting class grows significantly on signing day

New Kansas head football coach Les Miles talks about his first recruiting class during his National Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 in Mrkonic Auditorium.

New Kansas head football coach Les Miles talks about his first recruiting class during his National Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 in Mrkonic Auditorium.


As the Kansas football program’s 2019 recruiting class grew by nine players on Wednesday, National Signing Day revealed a peek into the mind of first-year head coach Les Miles.

All the deliberate assessments and planning that went into Miles’ first recruiting class since re-entering the coaching ranks culminated with the Jayhawks winning over a number of talented high school prospects.

“The key is to fill the roster and to fill that roster answering the needs of your football team,” Miles said during his press conference, as he shared his thoughts on the entire class while speaking with local media members for the first time since he was introduced as KU’s new coach back in November.

Miles didn’t back down from the notion that many of the newest members of the program will be able to contribute as soon as this coming fall.

Including the 11 December signees, KU’s class features four defensive linemen, three linebackers, three quarterbacks, two running baks, two receivers, two cornerbacks one safety, one tight end and one kicker.

Miles said all of the 19 players he discussed will be on scholarship, marking a modification from 15, the number he had cited back in November.

“Really anticipated this number kind of from the start,” Miles stated Wednesday, when asked if the class ended up being larger than he anticipated initially.

Class includes 3 QBs

The first February signing day for Miles at Kansas got off to an eventful start as the Jayhawks added another quarterback to their class.

A 6-foot-2 prep QB from Kannapolis, N.C., Jordan Medley was KU’s first signee announced on Wednesday morning.

Though Rivals hasn’t assigned any stars to Medley, programs such as Charlotte, UMass, Army and Air Force extended offers to the athletic QB, whose open-field speed drew some oohs and ahhs during Miles’ press conference, when he showed a video clip of Medley taking off for a highlight reel run.

Miles said Medley, who passed for 2,203 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at A.L. Brown High, “probably” runs a 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.

During December’s early signing period, KU added Thomas MacVittie, a 6-5 pro style QB from Mesa Community College (Ariz.).

MacVittie, whose college career began at Pitt, will be a junior this coming season, while Medley will be a freshman. Miles said he recruited MacVittie at his last job at LSU, and he thinks the QB has since grown into “something special.”

KU’s 2019 class also includes QB Torry Locklin, who first announced his intentions to play at KU back in February of 2018, seemingly becoming a member of what proved to be the previous regime’s final recruiting class.

However, the two-star dual threat QB was asked by the coaches to wait a year. Miles and his new assistants decided to keep Locklin in the mix after the Texas native spent his first semester as a college student only taking classes at a junior college and not playing.

Miles said it’s possible either Locklin or Medley could end up switching to another position.

Linebacker flips from K-State to KU

One of the biggest victories of the day for Miles and his staff came when Gavin Potter, a three-star linebacker from Broken Arrow, Okla., decided to join the Jayhawks.

Potter, a three-star talent, had been committed to Kansas State since late October and also was considering signing with Texas Tech.

The efforts of defensive coordinator D.J. Elliot, inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and Miles amid what the head coach characterized as a “very competitive recruiting process” helped flip Potter to the Jayhawks.

Potter was named a first team all-state defender by The Oklahoman, and he recorded 92 total tackles his senior year for Broken Arrow’s 6AI state championship team.

Dallas standouts sign with KU

The most touted prospect in KU’s 2019 class made his decision official, when South Oak Cliff High (Texas) four-star defender Steven Parker signed with the Jayhawks.

KU listed Parker (6-4, 220) as a linebacker and Eliot said that will allow the athletic prospect to rush the passer within the defense’s 3-4 scheme.

The Jayhawks’ receivers coach, Emmett Jones, led the recruitment for Parker and also successfully landed Velton Gardner, a three-star running back from Dallas Skyline High, where Miles said the team’s best player lined up at either slot receiver, quarterback or running back.

Gardner was previously a target of Big 12 programs K-State and Texas Tech.

Jayhawks land former Michigan recruit

Once a member of the 2019 recruiting class at Michigan, Amauri Pesek-Hickson will instead join the Jayhawks.

Two days after decommiting from the Wolverines, the in-state prospect from nearby Blue Valley North signed with KU.

Rivals rates Pesek-Hickson, whom Miles described as a “big back,” as a three-star athlete, and KU listed him as a 6-0, 225-pound running back. Because Pesek-Hickson is one of the top seniors in the Sunflower State, Miles said he began studying the in-state signee shortly after taking over at Kansas.

CB Logan picks KU

A three-star high school prospect from St. Augustine, Fla., who picked up offers from such programs as Miami, South Florida and Ole Miss, among many others during his recruitment, Kenny Logan Jr. ultimately decided to relocate to Big 12 country and join the Jayhawks.

According to Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant, Eliot and defensive backs coach Chevis Jackson led the recruiting efforts with Logan.

Logan said that, during his recruitment, Miles told the young defensive back that he reminded the coach of one of his former LSU standouts, Tryann Mathieu, also known as the “Honey Badger.”

Alabama preps headed to Kansas

KU’s high school-focused day of signing included the Jayhawks landing a pair of defenders from Alabama.

Marcus Harris, a 6-2 defensive lineman, is rated a two-star prospect by Rivals and Miles was high on his potential.

Formerly committed to UAB, Jerome Robinson, a 6-3 linebacker, also signed with KU. Robinson is rated a two-star prospect by Rivals. Miles lauded Robinson’s athleticism, adding he’s also a standout high school basketball player.

Ford no longer included

When KU announced members of its signing class in December, the 11-player list included Justin Ford, a junior college defensive back.

The 3-star cornerback, however, is no longer listed among the Jayhawks’ signees.

Ford played at Golden West College (Calif.).

KU football’s 2019 recruiting class

(ratings from Rivals; √ = signed)

National Signing Day signees

√ 4-star South Oak Cliff H.S. (Texas) LB Steven Parker (6-4, 220)

√ 3-star Broken Arrow H.S. (Okla.) LB Gavin Potter (6-2, 205)

√ 3-star Dallas Skyline (Texas) RB Velton Gardner (5-9, 190)

√ 3-star Blue Valley North H.S. RB Amauri Pesek-Hickson (6-0, 225)

√ 3-star Menendez H.S. (Fla.) CB Kenny Logan Jr. (6-0, 195)

√ 2-star Park Crossing H.S. (Ala.) DL Marcus Harris (6-2, 265)

√ 2-star Carver H.S. (Ala.) LB Jerome Robinson (6-3, 235)

√ A.L. Brown H.S. (N.C.) QB Jordan Medley (6-2, 200)

√ Westerville Central H.S. (Ohio) K Jacob Borcila (6-2, 170)

December early signees

√ 3-star St. Thomas Aquinas H.S.S Jayden Russell (6-3, 190)

√ 3-star McEachern H.S. (Ga.) CB Valerian Agbaw (5-10, 170)

√ 3-star Mesa C.C. (Ariz.) QB Thomas MacVittie (6-5, 225)

√ 3-star Iowa Central C.C. WR Ezra Naylor (6-4, 210)

√ 3-star Iowa Western C.C. DE Malcolm Lee (6-5, 270)

√ 2-star Coahoma C.C. (Miss.) DL Caleb Sampson (6-4, 285)

√ 2-star Iowa Central C.C. WR Andrew Parchment (6-2, 185)

√ 2-star Meridian H.S. (Miss.) DL Da’Jon Terry (6-4, 350)

√ 2-star Andale H.S. TE Mason Fairchild (6-5, 250)

√ 2-star Rochdale H.S. (Texas) QB Torry Locklin (6-2, 195)


Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 years, 3 months ago

Interesting giving a scholarship to another QB. Not sure what the thinking there is. Amari and Kenny seem like outstanding pick ups. Excited to see some progress next year! Welcome new Jayhawks!

Buck Bukaty 3 years, 3 months ago

I could be wrong, Karen, but I believe he was signed as an "Athlete". We'll see.

Good luck to all !! Thanks for your efforts in the future.

Brent Shipley 3 years, 3 months ago

Correct. They were talking about him ending up on the Defensive side of the ball.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Miles said it’s possible either Locklin or Medley could end up switching to another position. Both are good athletes with good speed. There are plenty of HS QB that are HS QB's simply because they are the best athlete on the team and QB is the single most important position on the team. Never been remotely close to be there, but it would seem that it would give them a good feel for all the positions on both sides of the ball, and make the transition easier. I think both also played other positions during HS.

Doug Roberts 3 years, 3 months ago

The quality of schools we're beating out for recruits has gotten better. We're now beating schools like Nebraska and Ole Miss instead of Tulsa and Rice. So tired of Tulsa and Rice.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 3 months ago

Exactly! Honestly, that's the only way I try to understand what we're looking at, the stars clearly aren't always the real indicator and I'm not watching film on these kids!

Brent Shipley 3 years, 3 months ago

This is going to be a great year. Keep up the good work and cant wait until football season starts!

Al Martin 3 years, 3 months ago

A lot of great talent here. I'm excited!

But I'm wondering, are we so loaded at OL that we don't need even one in this class?

Ryan Shelton 3 years, 3 months ago

In my opinion, OL is our greatest need. I am scratching my head at this too.

Chris DeWeese 3 years, 3 months ago

Actually, we have a lot of OL on the roster already, but I agree with you. We should have signed at least a couple to keep pace.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

The reason we don't have 25 scholarships to give is because we filled quite a few slots last spring and summer with OL. I might be off slightly, but I believe our entire OL last year was comprised of players that joined the team after the normal recruiting period. It started 3 years ago with Adeniji and continued through the summer of 2018. In a way, that means that there are several OL recruits in this year's class. We just have the additional benefit of them being on campus already and contributing.

Al Martin 3 years, 3 months ago

That's interesting information. And I do get your "In a way" caveat. But a lot of those kids played last year, didn't they? And were they Juco signings? In any case they would have a max of three years of eligibility left, and likely less. Or maybe some of them redshirted. Clearly I'm not informed enough.

It would be nice to have had a couple OLs this year with a full four years of eligibility, but Coach Miles was in a position where he had to make some compromises, so I'll just trust his judgement.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Many of them played last year; at least 3 starting on the OL. I believe those 3 starters were all grad transfers. I believe at least 1, the OG from Cal only had the one year to play. The OT from tOSU (?Federer?) is back this year I believe, and I'm not certain about the OC from Houston. I believe there were several others from JC's, but not certain at all about how much they played, and whether they were included on the redshirt list.

There were a bunch of players in general that we were able to gain an extra year of eligibility. I don't remember if it was Benton or Matt that also stopped the JC mantra that they're all in the same 2 year category, and did the nice article showing how many of the JC recruits had eligibility similar to the HS recruits that rode our bench for a year.

Definitely agree that it would be nice to have a couple, and really 4-6 OL in each class. Part of that comes with getting the roster rebuilt and stabilized. We're a LOT closer than we were 4 years ago, but there is still a little more to do. It will be good to see Miles & co. with a full year of recruiting, especially after these successes of the 2 month version.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 3 months ago

WOW talk about closing speed. 3 of the best athletes available a 4 star dl and a few surprises. No more of this juco heavy crap. The Beaty Big Mouths are aweful quiet today. Just wait and see what Miles and Co. pulls in after a full year of recruiting. Great job!!!!

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Hi Kevin. Is anybody that disagrees with you a big mouth, or just the ones that use facts that disprove your ranting innuendo? Sorry if you missed whomever. Maybe I'm one of them because I recognized the good things that Beaty did, and he did do many good things. Just not enough.

Definitely agree with you though on this being a great close. Getting Parker to commit earlier this week was awesome (Big time target for the Red from the north). Seemed a bit greedy to think of getting APH (The purple people had a big crush going there.), but love that we flipped Potter as well. Will be interesting to see how things go in the little apple with this retirement.

I also personally agree with Coach Miles' assessment comments at the very beginning. I think we were really close to being bowl eligible last year, and while the schedule gets much tougher this year, I'm also excited to see what happens with an experienced HC leading the charge and very little defection this time.

Rock Chalk!

Buck Bukaty 3 years, 3 months ago

Disappointed that the "Live" program is pay-per-view!!

Buck Bukaty 3 years, 3 months ago

LOL, apparently you're not familiar with the term, Principles...

A kink to work out for next year.

Brent Shipley 3 years, 3 months ago

Wont change next year either. We had multiple football games that were on it as well this year.

I would rather have it and the games accessible for a $5 charge then not be on TV.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 3 months ago

Just think of what he could have pulled in with the 10 spots Beaty gave away.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Are you referring to the recruits from last year that were starting on the OL? They're the reason he didn't feel the need to recruit any there this year. They're already on the roster, in the weight room, on the field contributing.

John Strayer 3 years, 3 months ago

Wow...we've gone from "about 15" to 18 signed!

Joe Joseph 3 years, 3 months ago

Get a bunch of a 3-star kids and coach 'em up over 3-4 years. That's how this ship gets righted. I'm not sure reasonable fans could have expected much better from Miles' first class. Feeling good.

Lance Meier 3 years, 3 months ago

Very Happy with what Coach Miles has done in a short time. NOW, time to get down to Football Business... Winter Workouts... Spring Game... Summer Workouts... Fall... 1st Thing, Thanks Coach Miles, good first class... Cheering on my Hawks from OK... He could have signed the best there is to get, (KU signed some pretty good prospects)but U do have to believe that NOT all the kids stay or even come to KU... It's just the nature of the BEAST. It would be great to say all these kids will be in Uniform next Fall, that still has to be determined... What I'm saying is, how many NCAA Championships did the Fab 5 win??? NONE...


Phil Leister 3 years, 3 months ago

Your use of random capitalization confounds me.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 3 months ago

Yeah I'm not quite sure I get the Fab 5 reference.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 3 months ago

Basketball. Michigan.. Five freshmen, the "Fab 5" reputed at the time to be the cream of basketball. But they lost the championship game, if I recall. That was the 1991 team. And most of their season, including the Final Four, was vacated when it was discovered Chris Webber had accepted money from someone. I just now googled because I couldn't remember all 5 names.... Jimmy King, Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson, Juwan Howard

Brad Farha 3 years, 3 months ago

@Benton -- I count 20 recruits, but I thought we were limited to 15 for 2019. Are 5 of them preferred walk-ons and not getting a scholarship?

Whatever the answer, I like that 14 of the 20 are coming to us from high school.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 3 months ago

You are correct that HCLM said 15 one read any of my posts the past six months. Any school can give 25 in one season or a total of up to 85. At the end of the season we had like 21 to give but Beaty used up 3 on Blue Shirts and so we had 18. Coach Miles said he would sign 15 out of those but every year there are a few exceptions where the school gets back some scholarship up to the 25 max allowed. So we ended up being able to give 20. I wouldn't be surprised if 1 more pops up either.

Beaty did the job he was hired for which was to rebuild our roster. He was the best we could find that was willing to throw himself on a sword while rebuilding one of the worst scholarship situations ever. Albeit he did it for a shot in the dark at coaching a P5 and being successful while being paid a few million.

If you don't believe me, look at next year's Sophomore class, it's size, as well as the fact that more than half are local recruits. After next year's senior class graduates a large majority of transfer players will be gone.

Jay Scott 3 years, 3 months ago

"No one read any of my posts the past six months"

The most intelligent thing you've posted. Ever. Reflect on it.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 3 months ago

Obviously you did read it Jay. So Reflect on it!

[''] 3 years, 3 months ago

The Potter kid comes across like a pretty cocky douche. Like a player with confidence, but this kid is a PR nightmare for KU waiting to happen. Prove it on the field, not with HS sandlot trash talk and stunts. Dude yer a 3 star...not the second coming of the Boz. And mom and dad sat there and watched it happen. Parent up folks.

[''] 3 years, 3 months ago

He needs to go thru the Joe Dineen school of how to act as a KU player

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Even a on great day for the team, you have to conjure up something negative. Just amazing.

Phil Leister 3 years, 3 months ago

Something tells me you have a unique ability to recognize a douche when you see one.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations Phil! Guessing you didn't come here looking for a pre-teen affirmation, but you got one. The commenter ditto (?) (FKA pizzaboy) appears to have a pattern of responding with prepubescent name calling when confronted with intelligent response. Sort of a booby prize, but at least you don't have to recite the "I'm not smarter than a 5th grader" line. :-)

[''] 3 years, 3 months ago

Unwad yerself D-train. Yer gonna bust a vein trying to stick up for the coaching incompetence here. PS - as soon as I notice your first intelligent response, I'll respond differently.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't know anything about Gavin Potter (just saw the announcement) or his antics. From the 30,000 foot view he looks like a good get. Lots to defensive players signed today. Hopefully the OL has been addressed in the coaches minds and MacVittie can pass the ball.

I've not heard a peep about Pooka... I wonder what his status with the team is?

Dale Rogers 3 years, 3 months ago

Pooka is on diversion and has another court appearance. Feb 9th, I believe. If this runs true to form for most diversion processes, this appearance is for the judge to determine whether he has fulfilled his diversion agreement. I'm not sure whether this is an interim check or the final check but would guess a judge would not hold an appearance for an interim check. If he fulfilled his agreement then the charges will be dropped. If not, then the charges will be reinstated. That's my understanding of how diversion works. My wife in her younger days was a judge's assistant.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Gavin is a good get, even if a bit dramatic in part because we took him away from the kitties. Same with APH, though to a lesser extent. They felt they got in first on the re-recruiting, but apparently didn't factor in the closer.

Hat tip to the Mad Hatter.

As for the OL, Coach Beaty brought in a truckload of OL over the late spring/summer after not having enough to even play the spring game. They were good enough that they were the majority of the starters. I think it is part of the reason Coach Miles said we were close when he first took the job.

Chris DeWeese 3 years, 3 months ago

This recruiting class by far exceeded my expectations. When you consider where we were at just a few months ago, this development is nothing short of astounding (at least for me). Getting so many players to flip just doesn't happen every year for KU. Congratulations to the players and the coaches. Here's to a great season and much success in the coming years.

Bville Hawk 3 years, 3 months ago

When we had players flip over the last 5-10 years or so it was to de-commit from KU and announce they were going somewhere else. This is definitely a positive sign.

Ryan Ferree 3 years, 3 months ago

Way to go coaches, looks like some pretty good talent! Looking forward to the season!

Dale Rogers 3 years, 3 months ago

So what's the story on Justin Ford. This article says he's no longer listed on the list of signees. He signed in December. Did he not qualify academically? Did he decide to forego more college ( I believe he is juco)? I can't find anything on google other than his signing with us. Anyone know the story?

Brad Avery 3 years, 3 months ago

Remarkable what Miles and staff were able to do, starting literally from ground zero. The coast- to-coast recruiting approach with emphasis in-state has worked well for KU in the distant past, most notably under Glen Mason who did a great job recruiting in the upper Midwest and East Coast. Glad to see the KU resurrection taking place nationwide.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 3 months ago

In the aftermath and reading articles on signing day, it is obvious that those who are critical of Coach and his media skills don't understand the difference between him and some others. He is not a guy who spends a lot of time telling you he got what he wanted and now is ready to go coach these guys.

Brad Avery 3 years, 3 months ago

Quarterbacks, like baseball pitchers, are hard to project to the next level, but Jordan Medley has a very impressive tape. His recruiting story may turnout to be the most interesting of the group since he was completely overlooked by the national recruiting services. He looks like a starting quarterback, at least to me.

Bee Bee 3 years, 3 months ago

Three stars looks low to me. I know he was playing against high school competition but his release is quick and he s accurate.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 3 months ago

An impressive haul. Better than what I expected.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Interesting article on the e-network. Graded us as a C-.

To some extent you have to take it with a grain (or more) of salt, because they didn't include Potter as flipping.

Personally, I'd give the staff a higher grade (B-?) based on starting from scratch and building the entire class in 2 months.

Buck Bukaty 3 years, 3 months ago

To me, a grain of salt is major progress considering for about the past 10 years it's taken several shots of rye to get us through football season!

The coaching staff deserves an A++++ in my mind!!

Time to get on with the future!!

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