Kansas expecting 12 additions to Class of 2017 on National Signing Day
In order for the Kansas football team to continue on its measured upward trajectory in head coach David Beaty’s third season in Lawrence, the Jayhawks will have to carry on with improving their depth and talent in 2017.
On Wednesday’s National Signing Day, the Jayhawks hope to make another advancement in that direction, with 12 recruits expected to make their commitments to the program official.
The group includes additions to KU’s offensive line, secondary, linebacking unit, receiving corps, one specialist and a highly touted running back. They’ll join eight December signees, giving Kansas a 2017 class ranked 57th nationally by Rivals, and ninth in the Big 12, ahead of in-state adversary Kansas State.
Here’s a look at the 11 prep talents and one junior college prospect who plan to sign with Kansas.
Earl Bostick (OL or DL): The newest KU football recruit, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound lineman from Barnwell, South Carolina, just committed this past weekend. Bostick, rated a two-star prospect by Rivals, hopes to make an impact on the interior, either on the offensive or defensive line.
Antonio Cole (CB): The 6-1, 190-pound corner’s standout sophomore season at Highland Community College netted Cole a three-star rating and reported offers from Iowa State and Minnesota, as well. With Kansas losing three starters in the secondary, Cole’s experience could prove useful.
Jay Dineen (LB): A high school playmaker right in KU’s back yard, the two-star Free State linebacker received interest from other college programs. Dineen, though, opted to join some linebackers he knows well: his older brother, Joe, and Keith Loneker Jr. Both played at FSHS, as did two of Jay’s former prep teammates, KU’s Bryce Torneden and Sam Skwarlo.
Joey Gilbertson (OL): The 6-4, 290-pound offensive tackle from Wichita Northwest intrigued KU O-line coach Zach Yenser with the way he fires off the ball on snaps. Gilbert, a two-star prospect, committed to KU back in June of 2016, after attending the Jayhawks’ Friday Night Lights camp.
Quan Hampton (WR): His measurements read 5-8, 165 pounds, but this three-star receiver from Texarkana, Texas, can sky. With a 40-inch vertical, Hampton, a prep basketball player, as well, possesses the athleticism to make up for his relative lack of size on the football field.
Liam Jones (K): A two-star specialist from Chocktaw, Oklahoma, Jones could end up playing a factor in KU’s kicking game immediately, with Matthew Wyman’s days of handling kickoffs, extra points and field goals through.
Travis Jordan (WR/athlete): One of the first Class of 2017 recruits to get on board with Beaty and Kansas, the three-star prep from Marrero, Louisiana, committed nearly 10 months ago. Listed at 6-1, 185 pounds, the three-star receiver was the first prospect landed by running backs coach Tony Hull.
Cooper Root (LB): One of four Sunflower State recruits on KU’s signing day list, the two-star linebacker from Wichita Collegiate led his team with 77 total tackles as a senior. Root, like Jay Dineen, hopes to impact a linebacking unit that loses Marcquis Roberts and Courtney Arnick.
Kenyon Tabor (WR): A three-star, in-state prospect who also had an offer from K-State, the Derby receiver helped lead his team to a Class 6A state championship. At 6-4, 215 pounds, Tabor could have the physical tools to reinforce an already strong group of KU receivers.
Robert Topps (CB): The idea of playing at KU for defensive coordinator Clint Bowen and trying to replicate the success of former Bowen pupil Aqib Talib was enough to inspire the 6-2, 185-pound corner to join the Jayhawks. A three-star recruit from Chicago, Topps received offers from 15 other Division I programs.
Dominic Williams (RB): Way back in September of 2015, the Frisco, Texas, running back became the first member of this year’s class. And, according to his four-star status, the 5-9, 186-pound Williams is the man most capable of impacting KU’s on-field product soon. In the previous two recruiting classes, only safety Mike Lee earned four stars.
Takulve Williams (WR): A two-star New Orleans receiver, Takulve Williams (5-11, 180), like Jordan, decided to leave Louisiana for the midwest after hearing Hull’s recruiting pitch.
• Peyton Bender — QB | 6-1, 180 | three stars
• Hasan Defense — DB | 6-0, 175 | three stars
• J.J. Holmes — DT | 6-2, 310 | three stars
• Kerr Johnson — WR | 5-11, 180 | three stars
• Kyron Johnson — LB | 6-1, 195 | three stars
• Willie McCaleb — DE | 6-3, 250 | three stars
• KeyShaun Simmons — DL | 6-3, 270 | two stars
• Shakial Taylor — CB | 6-1, 180 | three stars