Tis the season and things are about to quiet down for a recruiting dead period before ramping up in a big way come January. At that time Turner Gill and his staff will get busy wrapping up and maintaining their second recruiting class.
The reality is that this is their first class in a lot of ways. After just a month and a half on the job the current Kansas football crew was able to manage a few surprises and keep most of the pieces in place a year ago during a transitional period, but this year is the one that they've had a full year to put together.
It's a group that in a lot of ways represents the foundation of Turner Gill's tenure. Turner Gill's deal is a five year contract to start and these players will all arrive on campus as freshman in year two of the Turner Gill era. With the young talent in place and this group added to the mix, Kansas could have a pretty good idea as to whether they've found the right guy by the time this group turns the eligibility clock to year four. Otherwise known as year five for Coach Gill.
I'm sure some are leary of lending that type of timeline given the last year of football, but it might be a reality that serves the Jayhawks better in the long run. Give it time. Another disasterous year or two and yes it might be time to think long and hard, but it's too early to go down that road for the moment, so with that we look forward.
Where We're At
- Building depth on the offensive line. That's the first thing that Turner Gill seemed determined to do. Kansas has six committed high school seniors and one committed walk on junior college player coming in on the offensive line. Dylan Admire and Bo Adams will be stepping on campus mid year, the remainder of Travis Bodenstein, Damon Martin, Phil Ford, Luke Luhrsen and Bryan Peters will all report next summer. Average size 6'4" and 1/2 inches, around 285. That's nearly 1 ton of mass arriving on campus in the next year.
- 1 Quarterback(For Now). Michael Cummings is the dual threat style that Long and Gill seem to favor. Most likely this is a redshirt year in the making. Cummings had a knee injury that was just surgically repaired. Tough to say if he'd be ready to go any earlier than August and at that point it would take a pretty special freshman to break the lineup.
- Defense and speed. Kansas has four linebackers committed. Two played safety in high school, one is more prototypical in nature and the other is slightly undersized but has great speed and a nose for the football. Either way this is a spot that Kansas very much needs to hit on a few recruits. It's hard to count on a true freshman to step in and Kansas doesn't really need that, but this is a group that will help build for the future. Collin Garrett, Ben Heeney, Jake Love, Jason Hensley.
- Same as before, defense and speed in the defensive backfield. Two Olathe North players in Adonis Saunders and Victor Simmons are big time athletes, but both are expected to need time to develop. Chris Robinson out of Florida has speed but again might be a couple years away. The one that might be worth keeping an eye on is Alex Matlock. He's big and physical at the safety spot.
- Defensive end help? Just one right now, Ben Goodman. He's a teammate of Collin Garrett. 6'3" 225 and good speed potential off the edge.
- Reciever was a spot we thought we were set at for a while, but a few position changes and perhaps some questionable development mean we need some speed for the future. JaCorey Shepard was committed to Iowa at one time, switched it to Kansas. He's a slot type speed guy and the playmaker type that Gill is after.
- How about a running back stable. Reggie Mitchell is starting to stockpile some talent in the Kansas backfield. Darrian "the barbarian" Miller and Dreamius Smith join the team with Miller coming in at semester. A redshirt for both would be great, but Miller and Smith are both coming off huge careers and huge senior seasons with their respective teams.
- Don't forget the kicker. Alex Mueller is considered one of the top, if not THE top kicker in the country and was offered early by the staff.
Right now it's looking to me that there are likely 6 spots left in the class. A lot could still change, maybe another player decides to leave or something of that nature so things could change but for now let's assume six.
If I'm making a wish list. I'll thow some names out there that we might have a shot at and I'll put them in no particular order.
- Anthony Pierson - 4* ATH
- A quarterback to be named later (seems Buff fans are spreading rumors) - 3* QB
- Terry Redden - 3* DT
- Kevin Grooms - 3* ATH
- Clavion Nelson - 3* DE
- Marquis Jackson - 3* WR
- Johnathan Yenga - 3* LB
- Steven Scheu - 3* TE/Long Snapper
- Jephete Matilus - 3* LB
- Heard about an OLB/DE from a military school that was on campus recently. 6'3" 230, below the radar. Not sure where the staff sits with him, but if he was around it seems like there might be some interest.
There is a good chance there is more to that list and a few surprises might occur. I'll remind everyone of that last minute switch by 4* running back Brandon Bourbon a year ago. Things couldn't have been looking better at Stanford and Reggie Mitchell and Turner Gill were able to convince him to make the swtich. So who's on your list? Anyone I've missed? And what are the initial thoughts, concerns or other reactions to Turner Gill's early recruiting returns?