A Louisiana perspective on whether Devonta Jason and Corione Harris will sign with KU


None by Whop

Pretty much since the day New Orleans prep teammates Devonta Jason and Corione Harris shocked the college football recruiting world by committing to Kansas, people have openly wondered about the chances the Jayhawks have of actually signing two such highly-coveted recruits.

Much more successful programs remain in the hunt for Jason, rated a five-star receiver by Rivals, and Harris, a four-star cornerback. But, like their former high school teammate at Landry-Walker, Mike Lee, these Class of 2018 prospects have been sold on KU as a a legitimate landing spot thanks to the efforts of Louisiana native Tony Hull, the associate head coach on David Beaty’s staff.

The Kansas staff, as well as the program’s supporters, have followed Jason and Harris closely, and now that the new NCAA early signing period is in effect, we could know just what their futures hold by Dec. 20.

In order to get a different perspective on KU’s recruitment of the so-called “Louisianimals” and perhaps a better feel for whether Jason and Harris will end up playing for the Jayhawks in 2018, I reached out to Sam Spiegelman, who covers LSU and the Louisiana recruiting scene for

What did you and others who follow LSU recruiting make of Devonta Jason not making an official visit this past weekend to LSU as planned?

“This was a complicated situation,” Spiegelman said. “Jason has a tight window to get three official visits in and had only four weekends to do it. He had planned on making his way to LSU for Nov. 25, Kansas on Dec. 2 and Mississippi State on Dec. 9. That left Dec. 15 open, but he has plans with his family on the weekend right before the early signing period.”

According to Spiegelman, Jason told him and other reporters the plan all along was to make an official visit to LSU for this past weekend’s Texas A&M game. However, some miscommunication with the LSU staff led to it falling through, as the Tigers were hosting a couple of other receiving prospects, five-star Terrace Marshall Jr. and four-star Justin Watkins. The coaches didn’t want Jason to have a subpar visit because they couldn’t spend as much time with each recruit as they hoped with so many big names there at once.

“LSU’s New Orleans area recruiter Mickey Joseph spent Monday morning at Jason’s high school to try and mend fences,” Spiegelman said. “He will go in-home with the wideout on Thursday, too. Between then, expect Joseph to try and find a time for Jason to officially visit LSU, whether it replaces another visit or is a mid-week official.”

How important is this official visit Jason is making to KU this coming weekend?

“The one edge Kansas has is the level of comfort between Jason and coach Tony Hull, and that Jason’s former teammate, Mike Lee, is having so much success in Lawrence. Beyond that, Jason is very cognizant of the state of the team and the lack of on-the-field success,” Spiegelman replied.

“Jason has made his way from New Orleans to Kansas several times over the past few months, so I’m not so sure if an official visit is really going to sway him in one direction or another,” he added. “This will be about talking to the coaches, getting an idea for the direction of the program and having a chance to re-connect with Lee for a weekend.”

Other potential advantages for Beaty, Hull and KU, Spiegelman suggested, are not only the recent visit mishap with LSU, but also the coaching change at Mississippi State, where Dan Mullen left to become the head coach at Florida, and Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead took over.

“If LSU can’t lure Jason back on campus, Kansas is all of a sudden emerging as a bigger threat than even a month ago,” Spiegelman said.

Who among Jason’s other finalists — Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, West Virginia and Miami — are the biggest threat to beat out LSU and Kansas?

None by Whop

“Easily Mississippi State. I was close to picking State as Jason’s most likely destination after the LSU official visit went awry, but with Dan Mullen now embedded as Florida’s head coach, we need to see which members of his coaching staff will leave Starkville, Miss., and head to Gainesville, Fla.,” Spiegelman said.

“Like Kansas, State holds an edge with some of Jason’s former high school teammates on the roster. Most notably, Keytaon Thompson, Jason’s former quarterback who he won a Class 5A state championship with a year ago,” he explained. “If specific members of the coaching staff stay put on the new-look Mississippi State staff, they may emerge as the favorite leading into a Dec. 20 decision date.”

Is Jason still expected to graduate from Landry-Walker in December and enroll somewhere for the spring semester?

“Yes. He has worked very hard for more than a year to get ahead of schedule in order to graduate in December and be on campus somewhere in January,” Spiegelman responded.

What was the initial reaction in Louisiana when Jason and Harris committed to KU in February, and how, if at all, has that changed in the months since it happened?

“Initially, it was shock. Maybe even a little bit of awe,” Spiegelman revealed. “Jason, a former LSU commit, is one of the top-five prospects within the state of Louisiana. Hull made an even bigger splash landing the tandem of Jason and Corione Harris, along with Pooka Williams, Ja’Marr Chase and Aaron Brule’ in one junior day function. Later, he added Nelson Jenkins, who is now committed to LSU, and Josh Smith, another teammate of Jason’s at Landry-Walker High School, in New Orleans.”

Williams, a three-star running back per Rivals, remains part of KU’s class, as does Smith, a three-star defensive end. Chase, Brule’ and Jenkins backed out of their verbal commitments.

“It led to some early frustration among the LSU fan base, for sure,” Spiegelman related of KU’s recruiting haul. “LSU fans were calling for Hull to replace Joseph as the team’s New Orleans area recruiter and made fans envious of the Jayhawks. Jason has long been a fan favorite for his spectacular, highlight-reel catches. Chase and Williams are also big-time performers that LSU fans are craving to find their way into the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class.”

The rabid LSU fan base, he added, probably has toned it down since, and wouldn’t lose too much sleep if both Harris and Smith end up playing at Kansas.

“Jason and Williams — not so much,” Spiegelman made clear. “I fully anticipate Williams will wind up at Kansas, assuming he qualifies academically. I can’t say the same for Jason, but if he did, the LSU fan base would not be pleased.”

Do you think it’s likely Harris and Jason are a package deal — wherever they end up?

None by Chunky

“If they are, the I’d circle Kansas and Mississippi State as the only schools in the mix for the two,” Spiegelman said. “Jason has been a priority for the LSU coaching staff, whereas Harris — another former commit — has certainly fallen down the board a bit over the past year following his de-commitment in July, 2016.”

Jason and Harris are not just close, he added, but best friends.

“Over the past few months, it seems as if they would be comfortable going their separate ways in order to find their own best fits at a college program. However, LSU is the only school where both wouldn’t be takes,” he said. “At Kansas or State, both could be a part of the plan.”

Is Harris more likely than Jason to end up at KU?

“Absolutely. It’s probably a coin flip between Kansas and Mississippi State,” Spiegelman began. “I know he officially visited Texas and had eyed a visit to Florida, which may be in the mix now that Mullen has landed in Gainesville, Fla. But I’d say Harris has been rather loyal to the Jayhawks and is weighing a future at Kansas versus State for the most part.”

How easy is it for other coaching staffs to use KU’s record the past several seasons as an argument to get Jason and Harris to back out — and do you think that will ultimately be the result?

“That definitely is on the table, but more so other coaching staffs are going to push the proximity from New Orleans or Louisiana,” Spiegelman suggested. “Kansas is a plane ride away. You can’t drive an hour up I-10 West to Baton Rouge or three hours through Mississippi to get there. The distance from home and their families cannot be overstated, especially when schools like LSU can preach playing for your home state and for your hometown school.”

According to the Louisiana-based recruiting reporter, both Jason and Harris seem unbothered when KU’s lack of success gets brought up.

“They are very bright kids and are well aware of the records at Kansas. They have also been reprised of the fact that they could play as true freshman in the Big 12 and perhaps spearhead a turnaround for the Jayhawks,” he said. “Coach Hull has done a terrific job prioritizing both Jason and Harris and keeping them on board for this long. Whether that sticks is out of his control and more will be a product of LSU’s and Mississippi State’s continued push.”

If Jason and/or Harris ultimately flip, Spiegelman thinks it would have less to do with KU’s record over the past several seasons and more to do with the overall stability of a more prominent program.

“There are more constants at, say, an LSU or a Mississippi State or a Florida, because of the program’s football history,” he offered. “Both prospects are going to go where they are wanted the most and they have done a great job entertaining all of their options, Kansas included, leading into Dec. 20.”

Follow Sam Spiegelman’s recruiting coverage at SEC Country

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Andy Godwin 4 years, 5 months ago

The signing date can't get here soon enough. Then we can talk about the actual class for 2018.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 5 months ago

As much as I’ve been against keeping Beaty for another season, I do have to say I like the guy. And it’s impressive him and his staff have kept a 4 and 5 start recruit not only interested but committed to KU. But having said all that, it doesn’t matter if Beaty brings in 10 5 star recruits, 90% of the battle is bringing in the right guys for your system and then being able to develop them from High School football players to College football players. So far, I haven’t seen that in Beaty. Look at Bill Snyder, he rarely gets 4 star guys and his teams are always competitive. And finally, I’m going to be pessimistic and say Jason nor Harris will sign with KU. I’m going with the dark horse Florida on this one.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 5 months ago

if I were a parent or a HS football coach of these guys I would advise them not to go to a school where the fan base has turned against the Head Coach and Athletic Director.

You come to a school because you have a good relationship with your recruiter, but if the team underachieves again next year he will likely be gone after the 2018 season.

As a fan of Kansas I want us to get the best recruits that we can. But if I'm on the other side of the aisle, then I am very leery of the situation. Ultimately it's the kid's choice, and some kid's can be lured with talk of how they can be the heroes who turn the program around... however, in this case it sounds like we should be prepared to lose one or both of these commitments.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

Let's get something straight the only reason the ONLY reason these kids are even considering KU is Hull, Beaty has nothing to do with it without Hull if only Beaty was trying to recruit them would be a joke they wouldn't even consider PU Football ooops KU football. You see what Beaty pulls in on his own mostly 2-3 srar high schoolers and worthless JUCOS.

If they lose both, this class will definitely be ranked in the 100s and not in the 60s as it currently is. Whomever they recruit if these 2 decided to go elsewhere will pale in comparison. It would be almost a worthless class.

Mike Nicco 4 years, 5 months ago

Using his experience while at Texas A&M, Coach Beaty decided KU should go after kids from an under recruited area. Making another wise choice, he hires Coach Hull to replace Coach Miller. Coach Hull exercises Beaty's vision and receives some commits. What you say may be correct. But your spin is not fair to Coach Beaty.

Jack Hoff 4 years, 5 months ago

Exactly Mike! These bogus fans hate on Beaty so much they find any reason to bash him. They'll say everything falls on the head coach, especially the negative but when something positive happens they try to say Beaty wasn't involved. How ignorant. They then proceed to call our recruits worthless on a public forum. Shame

David Kemp 4 years, 5 months ago

Nothing positive is going to come when the last of our Louisiana recruits decommit!!!!

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

KU should be more concerned about holding onto Hull, if he can get these kids to even consider KU some other programs are noticing this and can offer more $ better football program bowl games and better chance of him becoming a head coach which is what he ultimately wants. Our best recruiter went to Arkansas l believe a few years ago what makes anyone think Hull won't eventually leave as well. After that Louisiana is just an old girlfriend you think about from time to time.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

Great article Benton very insightful. Great read. I've been wondering about the LA kids over the course of the season and what they must be thinking about the program.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 5 months ago

And I'm sure all these negative comments are very helpful in recruiting. Sheesh.

David Kemp 4 years, 5 months ago

I’m sure comments by game announcers, sports writers and espn have no impact on these recruits!

Gerry Butler 4 years, 5 months ago

you ought to be used to this - -That's all these people know how to do. - -Most loyal fans ever

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

Lol do you honestly think that their final decision rest on that? So our record, coaching staff, long term outlook of the program their role on the ream has nothing to do with their decision? Give me a break.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

Hey Benton

Let's say all of the LA recruits currently committed sign with KU what's do you think the over/under in wins would be next year vs if only 2 sign and its not Harris or Jason.

John Brazelton 4 years, 5 months ago

If we get any of the four Louisiana guys it definitely won't be because of poster comments. Most fans would welcome the opportunity to get some outstanding players, but not KU fans.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 5 months ago

0-12 next year me the players that improved year over year under Beaty.

I'm glad they will red shirt and the next coach will have two players the new coach can actually develop.

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

So thankful for the positive posts of Kevin Robert Fest, resident expert on Football.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

Blah blah blah Jim. Im sorry yourself and John seem to just want to bury your heads in the sand. 3-33 mostly blowouts by double digits. Show me a positive. You can ridicule me because I don't agree with you. Show me what makes you an expert.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

Jayhawks put forth one of the most inept offensive showings in recent college football memory, posting a meager 21 total yards in a 43-0 shutout loss at TCU

I don't need to be an expert l have eyes.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

And a bug can see that this team stinks as well as l can

Jack Hoff 4 years, 5 months ago

How can KU fans of all people piss and moan about two 4 and 5 star recruits being interested in our program? Like seriously. Ku has always been a mediocre program, even with Mangino outside of a couple years. We should embrace this opportunity to bring in some studs who may turn the fortunes of our program. Instead we beat down our coach and his staff who are working so hard to get these kids here. Doesn't make sense to me.

David Kemp 4 years, 5 months ago

This recruiting class is deteriorating to the level of fcs.

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