KU football on hunt for 'marquee' recruits to bolster program's rebuilding project


Kansas University football recruiting

Kansas University football recruiting

As Kansas football coach David Beaty and his staff keep persevering in their ongoing venture to reinvigorate a program that had been left to languish, the offseason months are just as critical as Saturdays in the fall.

The two most direct avenues for improvement — as Beaty referenced shortly after the conclusion of his second season at KU — are player development and recruiting. While the head coach thinks the Jayhawks already on campus are steadily getting bigger and better, Beaty knows that’s just one part of the process.

“And then I think the other thing is understanding we’ve gotta go out and continue to recruit and get some marquee players to help us,” Beaty said, “’cause every good coach I know has some really, really good ones. And we’ve got some good ones already, and we’ve gotta go get some really, really good ones from this point forward to be able to do what we want to do, which is win a lot and compete for championships.”

Just a week after those words left Beaty’s mouth, Kansas will welcome some highly sought after high school prospects to Lawrence. Adrian Ealy, a 6-foot-7 offensive tackle from Gonzales, La., will be in town this weekend to check out Anderson Family Football Complex and hear the KU staff’s recruiting pitch.

Running backs coach and Louisiana native Tony Hull, of course, deserves credit for getting Ealy — a four-star O-lineman who already has visited Oklahoma and has offers from Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Texas and many more — to give Kansas a look. A high school senior at East Ascension, Ealy is listed at 282 pounds. ranks him the 20th best prospect in the nation at his position.

None by Adrian Ealy

As reported by Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant, Ealy won’t be the only talented Louisiana recruit in town. Tevin Bush, a speedy 5-foot-5 athlete from New Orleans’ Landry Walker High (the same program that gave the Jayhawks starting safety Mike Lee), will visit Kansas this weekend, too.

A high school senior assessed three stars from Rivals, Bush already has verbally committed to West Virginia, but must be intrigued with Kansas as an option — thanks again to Hull — if he is making a visit. Bush also has picked up offers from Arkansas, Louisville, Texas Tech and others.

Although Ealy and Bush visiting campus obviously doesn’t guarantee anything for Kansas, it’s another indicator that Beaty seems to be steering the program in the right direction.

KU’s 2017 recruiting class already includes eight three-star prospects: former Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender, juco defensive back Hasan Defense, Texas prep linebacker Kyron Johnson, Louisiana prep receiver/athlete Travis Jordan, Derby standout receiver Kenyon Tabor, Garden City Community College defensive end Jamie Tago, Chicago high school defensive back Robert Topps and Texas prep running back Dominic Williams.

As Beaty suggested, Kansas needs a number of members in its latest recruiting class to come in and make a difference — just like Lee, defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., defensive tackle Daniel Wise and receiver Steven Sims Jr. did before them.

The more impactful recruits the staff lands, the quicker KU can escape the Big 12 cellar and start chasing Beaty’s hopeful longterm goals.

None by Zach Yenser


Chris DeWeese 5 years, 5 months ago

I wonder what kind of feedback these kids get from their peers and family members when they tell them they are considering Kansas.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if these guys understand the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond and the potential media exposure they could get when KU starts climbing the Big 12 ladder. Great opportunity for these guys is they recognize the potential here where they get serious playing tie to showcase their talents and can forego the initial bright lights of sitting on the bench at a big name school and being overshadowed by other big names.

Pius Waldman 5 years, 5 months ago

One should sense the problem acquiring 4 or 5 star guys that usually have highly successful schools on their list. But you try and maybe a few will flock your way. I can see the value of assistant coaches having influence as there simply isn't enough Kansas high school players have to find out of state top rated players.

Al Martin 5 years, 5 months ago

So where do we stand in moving towards a full roster? Somebody (Micky?) posted a while back that 25 from this year's team have used up eligibility, so a full recruiting class this year will only hold our numbers steady. How far away do we remain from having a fully stocked roster of scholarship athletes? Are we still years away?

Tom Keegan 5 years, 5 months ago

Al, We're trying to put that together. It's a tough puzzle though because coaches are not obligated and therefore do not volunteer information on whether certain players are walk-ons for a year or two, then gain scholarships, which players are counting forward to the next class, etc. So when we do come up with it, it will be full of disclaimers and won't be an official list. But we'll do our best to sort out the puzzle.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 5 months ago

In reviewing the roster, there are only 15 seniors that I recall being recruited, which would mean 10 were walk-ons. Of those 10, I'm recalling 5 getting game action, so maybe they earned scholarships along the way. That means we should be 5-10 players closer to a full team when we get a full recruiting class.

My count was 72 scholarship players (including 3 transfers that were ineligible and Jordan retiring) though there were also quite a few (4) walk-ons contributing including 2 starters on the OL in particular.

IIRC, you have to pay your own way for 2 years in order to not count against the recruiting class total, which would mean that Mesa and Keith (redshirts plus this year would make them eligible class free, but that Hakeem and Keegan would count. The question becomes did we have any space in the last class to give them scholars, along with Deron Thompson (Wichita/CSU RB transfer), Denzell Evans (Arkansas RB transfer), and Dayton Charlot & Charles Baldwin (Bama). Including all of them in the last class still only brings the total to 20, but I think we had already used a few the season before.

My guess is we'll add a few more to the total and be in the mid-70's next year, with a recruiting class of about 20, and Coach Beaty and crew continuing to work their magic with walk-ons, transfers, and the like. It's probably a couple more years before we have a full crew of 85. Like Tom says though, there's all kinds of speculation in there.

Kevin Robert Fest 5 years, 5 months ago

Im telling you this season was a disappointment but close loses to TCU ISU and a win over Texas shows some progress.

But watching Mike Lee a kid who should be a senior in high school HIGH SCHOOL not graduated from high school, but should still be in highschool with those thunderous hits is amazing. Wait till he puts on a little weight and learns to play at Div 1 level. The hit he had in the TT game l thought the guy he hit was dead he hit him so hard and the KST game knocking the KSU running back woozing considering Lee is 175 and the back is 225. Considering he had no off season weight training or training table food to get bigger omg this kid is going to knock himself out if he isn't careful. Mike Thunder Lee!!!

Those kids he would've played this year in high school should thank him for leaving early for KU ld hate to see what he could've done to some poor kid in high school.

Ray Winger 5 years, 5 months ago

Concussion Issue?! I like Mike Lee's making the other guys brain/body change direction, and his brain/body is going the same direction.

Chris DeWeese 5 years, 5 months ago

Nice to see Dominic Williams was bumped up to 4 stars by Rivals.

Edward Daub 5 years, 5 months ago

The "Mutt and Jeff" of Recruiting! A 6 foot 7 inch Offensive Tackle and a 5 foot 5 inch Speedster from the Bayou State.

KU Pep Band better learn to play CCR's "Born on the Bayou"!

Tallest KU Player in History? Maybe Vernon Vanoy at 6' 8", played Bball his first year. Shortest might have been Donnie Shanklin from the Orange Bowl Team.

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