Recruit, recruit...recruit. One of the top priorities for Kansas coach Turner Gill has been and always will be recruiting. Early on the Jayhawk staff has seen an early commitment rescinded, the loss of some of the top instate talent and some concern over the caliber and level of talent being brought in.
Perceptions can change quickly. Over the weekend Turner Gill and the Jayhawks saw their recent momentum continue to build with commitments from two offensive lineman. One a junior college center out of Texas, the other a high school prospect from California with a laundry list of schools showing interest and an offer from a fairly high profile program in Florida state.
That brings the total to 9 players committed to the new Kansas staff before the month of July hits on the calendar. Six of nine have already been labeled with a 3 star rating by rivals, the site most often looked to for prospect rating. One of the unrated players is the recent junior college commit who has yet to be evaluated, the other two are considered under the radar defensive back recruits, both with strong measurables.
Compare where this staff sits versus last year and there is certainly a jump regardless of how strong you consider the current class. A year ago at this time, Kansas had received commitments from just two, in three star recruits Ricki Herod and Jeremiah Edwards. Edwards was considered an undersized defensive tackle with the potential to be a sleeper, while Herod was a receiver in an offense with little in the way of the passing game. That's not a knock on either of them, both have the potential to be solid Jayhawk players; it's just another way to measure this year versus last.
Last year Mangino and his staff were coming off of consecutive bowl appearances for the first time in the history of the program. They were entering a year where they were expected to vie for the North title and field the best team in the Mangino era. Not a bad spot to be recruiting from.
Currently Coach Gill and his staff are fighting an uphill climb and when you take a step back and view the situation at Kansas for what it really is, they are doing a very nice job. Sure there are a few players higher profile local players that fans would have liked to see the Jayhawks snag, and yes the group in the fold isn't commanding high level offers across the board. Still, If the current trend continues and the staff can string together a little momentum to start the season, Kansas will likely be able to put a few last minute feathers in their cap and wrap up a solid class.
It's way too early to declare victory, the players on board will have plenty to prove, but the strength of this staff is supposed to be recruiting. They are seven committed players ahead of a year ago and without question the Kansas program and athletic department is in a much more precarious situation. Put together a few consistent seasons and turn the momentum back in their favor, and it will be interesting to see just how good this group can be.