Monday, December 28, 2020

Les Miles looking for immediate help from incoming freshmen at various positions

Kansas coach Les Miles yells out to the team during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)

Kansas coach Les Miles yells out to the team during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson)


Kansas football coach Les Miles and his staff proved in 2020 they don’t mind starting freshmen. But it may still be a while before Miles is ready to make any proclamations about how specific members of the Jayhawks’ 2021 signing class could make an impact next year.

In the recently completed second season of Miles’ rebuilding project with KU, 11 different true freshmen started at least one game. No first-year player was as ready to play and be productive, though, as cornerback Karon Prunty — one of only three players on the roster to start in every game.

A 6-foot-1, 189-pound corner from Portsmouth, Va., Prunty’s name was one Miles brought up frequently, even before the season began, in anticipation of the freshman contributing.

Earlier this month, when Miles met via video conference with reporters to share his thoughts on KU’s next batch of freshmen, he was asked whether any of the Jayhawks’ early signees could follow in Prunty’s footsteps.

The coach didn’t single out specific players, but provided some clues in the form of position groups.

“I like my linebackers,” Miles began in his response.

KU signed three linebackers in December: Andrew Simpson (6-1, 220 pounds, from Norwalk, Calif.), Trey Staley (6-2, 200, from Snellville, Ga.) and D’Marion Alexander (6-5, 215, from China Spring, Texas).

“I like those offensive line lads,” Miles continued.

The Jayhawks also signed three O-linemen during the early period: Corey Robinson II (6-5, 270, from Roswell, Ga.), De’Kedrick Sterns (6-4, 272, from Austin, Texas) and Larson Workman (6-5, 265, from Ganado, Texas).

But Miles wasn’t done there, pointing to another position of need.

“That safety spot will be guys that will step in and play,” Miles added.

The secondary group he referenced included four signees by the time the three-day early period concluded: Omar “O.J.” Burroughs (5-10, 167, from Savannah, Ga.), Edwin White (6-0, 196, from Mobile, Ala.), James Wright (6-1, 195, from Sumter, S.C) and Jayson Gilliom (6-2, 190, from Suwanee, Ga.).

Miles scanned his list of signees one last time to make sure he didn’t forget a group. That’s when he touted KU’s incoming receivers, as well. Miles named Kelan Robinson (6-2, 183, from Grand Prairie, Texas) and Majik Rector (5-9, 152, from Dallas) specifically.

“Those guys might give you some plays,” Miles said.

Jayhawks in mix for another 2021 wideout

The top unsigned high school senior receiver in the nation, per Rivals, Quaydarius Davis is considering KU.

Davis, a four-star prospect from Skyline High in Dallas, told Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant that he has known KU receivers coach Emmett Jones since his freshman year.

Davis announced his top three schools are KU, Florida and Oklahoma State, but said others could be considered, too.

KU signed 20 high school players to its 2021 class in December, and could add in February as many as five more for next year.

Punter expected to walk on at KU

The Jayhawks are expected to bring in another punter for their 2021 roster in preferred walk-on Grayden Addison.

A specialist from Noblesville, Ind., Addison announced earlier this month his plans to join KU.

KU football Class of 2021 December signees

(Rivals rankings)

√ Ben Easters — 3-star Indiana prep QB; 6-3, 195

√ Omar “O.J.” Burroughs — 3-star Florida prep S; 5-10, 167

√ Cam’Ron Dabney — 3-star Georgia prep CB; 5-10, 175

√ Corey Robinson II — 3-star Georgia prep OL; 6-5, 270

√ Majik Rector — 3-star Texas prep WR; 5-9, 152

√ DeVonte Wilson — 3-star Florida prep CB; 6-3, 192

√ Kelan Robinson — 3-star Texas prep WR; 6-2, 183

√ Tommy Dunn Jr. — 3-star Texas prep DL; 6-3, 277

√ Deldrick “D.J.” Withers — 2-star Arkansas prep DL; 6-4, 245

√ James Wright — 3-star South Carolina prep S; 6-1, 195

√ D’Marion Alexander — 3-star Texas prep LB; 6-5, 215

√ Trey Staley — 3-star Georgia prep LB; 6-2, 200

√ Mason Brotherton — 3-star Arkansas prep TE; 6-4, 242

√ Devin Neal — 3-star Lawrence prep RB; 5-11, 208

√ Jayson Gilliom — 2-star Georgia prep S; 6-2, 190

√ Andrew Simpson — 3-star California prep LB; 6-1, 220

√ De’Kedrick Sterns — 3-star Texas prep OT; 6-4, 272

√ Larson Workman — 2-star Texas prep OT; 6-5, 270

√ Tanaka Scott Jr. — 3-star Alabama prep WR; 6-4, 192

√ Edwin White — 3-star Alabama prep S; 6-0, 196

Unsigned KU football Class of 2021 recruits

• Kameron Grays — 3-star Alabama prep DB

• Garfield Lawrence — 3-star Texas prep DE


Andy Godwin 1 year, 9 months ago

Patience. Building a new and lasting foundation will take some time. Bigger, stronger, and faster. Rock Chalk.

Clarence Haynes 1 year, 9 months ago

Will KU bring in any graduates particularly linemen from the transfer portal?

Dane Pratt 1 year, 9 months ago

It must be an option Les is looking at but as near as I can determine there are still three senior lineman, two starters and one backup, that are undecided about returning next year.

Steven Haag 1 year, 9 months ago all honesty......why would a graduate, enter the transfer portal.....and then pick KU, who is like 6-200 the last decade and WINLESS this year. We are likely going to get NOBODY via the transfer portal.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 9 months ago

They would choose to come to KU for the graduate program that KU's offer. Not all schools offer a Master's in every field and there is nothing like getting your Master's for free. Of course this means the player is probably not going to the NFL. So how good can he be? KU is only going to bring in a portal player if they fit a need. The quality of players available for the spot you are trying to fill is probably questionable.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

The transfer wouldn’t have to be a senior or graduate. Maybe more likely a younger player.

Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

True, but graduate transfers with experience may help for this coming season. And it will mean not getting some others that can help the program for 4 or 5 years coming in as a freshman I believe.

Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

We are going to have to use freshman players in some positions, which means it may take them some time to get adjusted but will have more time to develop their strength, techniques, and specific skills depending on their position. The O-line is a big deal, however. I am going to go out on a limb and say that the starting QB for opening day in the fall of 2021 will be Miles Kendrick and his back-up will be Ben Easters. Our starting running back, Devin Neal, but we will have running back by committee to develop changes of pace. Neither the position of QB or RB will have huge successes without great strides on the OL. With that said, it would be a realistic goal to see the offense move up to the middle third of all D1 teams, rather in the middle, top. or bottom of that middle third, it would be a great improvement and allow the defense to get some time on the sidelines. We still have work to do on the defense. We need to develop a pass rush and a couple of run busters at linebacker. Nothing out of this world great for the coming 2 seasons, if we are to be realistic, but if we can get to allowing 25 points per game as opposed to what was allowed per game this year, it might result in keeping some of the higher tier recruits that we have been losing the last few seasons. But the players have to understand what is at stake for their own careers and their futures. Just set this goal now, 4 wins for 2021. I'd be happy with that as long as we are competitive in most of the games. We can't allow 60 plus points to Baylor, 50 plus points to Iowa State, and we can't allow K-State to get into our heads any more. It's time to become men.

Our roster was so depleted when Miles came and there was a stigma. That stigma needs to be disposed of in 2021. Let the other teams know they have to earn it against us.

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