With Bledsoe OU-bound, the focus on KU's D-Line shifts to Isaiah Bean
While Thursday's news that four-star defensive end and Lawrence High prospect Amani Bledsoe had picked Oklahoma over Kansas certainly qualified as disappointing for the KU football program, all is not lost.
The Jayhawks, who threw all they had at the local standout and did everything humanly possible to land him, will move on and still have five spots to fill in the 2016 recruiting class.
Granted, none of them look as appealing today as Bledsoe and it's doubtful that any of them — or even all of them combined — could bring the same kind of lift and momentum to the program that Bledsoe picking Kansas would have. But what's done is done and crying about what could have been certainly will not do anything to help this rebuilding program improve.
Give Kansas credit for cracking Bledsoe's final two. Even if the Jayhawks did not get him, encouraging a player of that caliber to give the program a long, hard look eventually will be seen as a good thing.
Today, however, the news is pretty disappointing.
That said, KU coach David Beaty and company don't have time to sulk. They've got a handful of visitors lined up for this weekend and they'll start trickling in tomorrow. The last thing those kids need to see is a coaching staff that's bummed out over losing Bledsoe. And they won't. Beaty and his staff, no matter how hard they took this one, know that this is the way recruiting in the college football world goes. You win some, you lose some and you can't get too high or too low no matter what the outcome.
Here's a list of some of the most likely candidates to fill KU's five remaining scholarships in the 2016 recruiting class that we posted the other day.
But, for now, with the news of Bledsoe picking Oklahoma still so fresh, let's take a closer look at one in particular.
His name is Isaiah Bean and he's a two-star defensive end prospect from Houston.
Bean currently stands 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs just 210 pounds. But it's easy to see that with a year to red-shirt and the proper strength and conditioning, he could quickly add 20-30 pounds to his frame and be more prepared to operate as a speed rusher.
The Summer Creek High prospect listed by Rivals.com as an “Athlete” has shown his versatility throughout his career, playing both offense and defense, and working at various summer camps as both a defensive end and a wide receiver.
You can see his frame and athleticism in the videos below.
Is Bean a ready-made, Day 1 contributor like Bledsoe? Not a chance. Could he be an intriguing project that pans out in a couple of years and impacts the program in a positive way? You bet.
And, right now, with KU in need of a defensive end in this class to fill the void left by Bledsoe's decision to pick OU, Bean is definitely better than nobody.
Rivals.com lists KU D-Line coach Calvin Thibodeaux as the lead recruiter for Bean, who also visited Tulsa and UNLV and plans to visit Fresno State.
Bean is expected to visit Kansas during the next two weekends and also holds offers from Fresno State, Iowa State, Tulsa, UNLV, Illinois, UMass, Louisiana-Lafayette, Prairie View A&M, Texas State and UT-San Antonio.
In the mood for more? Here's a link to Bean's HUDL page, which features game videos from his 2015 season.