Turner Gill Signing Day Press Conference Recap

At 3PM central time after the letters of intent had been faxed and fans had some time to digest the 2011 Kansas Jayhawk recruiting class, Turner Gill met with the media. 

Coach Gill had an opportunity to talk about the group, answer questions regarding the group and rightfully so he looked like a coach carrying some confidence.  Turner Gill put together a top 35 class in a year where his team went 3-9.  The staff did an excellent job top to bottom and while we may still be 2-3 years from truly realizing the rewards from this group, it provides a good spark.

A quick recap of today's coverage:

2011 Quarterbacks     2011 Runningbacks     2011 WR/TE's    2011 O-Line

2011 D- Line     2011 Linebackers     2011 Defensive Backs     2011 Specialists

And with that, here's a quick recap of Gill's thoughts and comments on the 2011 Kansas football recruiting class.

Opening Remarks

  • Recruiting is what it's all about in the coaching profession and his staff did a tremendous job of being efficient and putting together a class that addressed every position.
  • Thanked other sports and Kansas University staff who were instrumental in assisting the program.
  • 27 Signees,  4 on campus, 11 States covering California to Florida.
  • Focused on the State of Kansas with 7 of the 27 being in state players.
  • Targeted 4 things: SIZE, SPEED, EXPLOSIVENSS AND DEPTH
  • Kansas wants depth and competition at EVERY position.

 

Positions

Offensive Line

  • Signed six athletic mobile lineman.  They targeted players that could pull, players that had quick feet and players that can change direction or adjust to any situation.
  • They targeted players that they believed can be tackles.  Working from the outside in with the offensive lineman.  If a player doesn't move as well and can't handle speed rushers he might move to guard.  If  he doesn't bulk up as much he might move into the center spot.

Running Back

  • Explosive players that can score every time they touch the football.
  • All have great speed
  • Beyond just open speed Gill stresses explosion.  Can the player accelerate and show a burst in the 10-15 yard range. If he breaks a tackle does he explode out of that tackle.

Wide Reciever

  • Size speed and explosion.  Both are natural football players.

Quarterback

  • Added great competition and both can make plays with their arms and their feet.

Linebacker

  • A position where they were very serious about adding speed and adding a high number of prospects.
  • Not much depth last year and they wanted to add more competition, more numbers and more explosiveness.
  • Every one of these signees can cover sideline to sideline, they can hit and they force turnovers.

Defensive Line

  • Similar philosophy as on the offensive line.  Recruited speed and athletes that can move and depending on how they develop they may move inside or they may stay outside. 
  • 275-285 might mean a move to the interior.  Gives them speed and quickness in a matchup against a guard and it provides defensive tackles who understand how to rush the passer.

Safety

  • Two physical players that have speed and have played major roles on the offensive side of the ball.  Gives them an edge in terms of understanding the game of football and they both play with tenacity. 

Corner

  • Track speed.  Both are extremely fast and will raise the bar at the position in terms of speed an athleticism.

Additional Player Comments

  • All defensive players ran track.  Most played on the offensive side of the ball.  They have speed and they have an understanding of the game. 
  • The group also exemplifies the best fit for them and the best fit for Kansas.  Looking for Character, leaders on their team and leaders in the community. 
  • It's a job interview.  They're interviewing us and we're interviewing them and in the end we found the right student athletes.
  • 23 of 27 played playoff football
  • 14 are state champions
  • Goal is to find players that know how to thrive in competitive situations and that's what this group does. 

Q&A (Paraphrased)

Where did the outside in philosophy come from?

  • Something he learned from Tom Osborne at Nebraska. Get speed, even if it isn't as big and then you can cause havoc which disrupts opposing offenses. 
  • Also talked with defensive minded coaches outside the program to understand how they approach the game.

Do you think your message is beginning to resonate?

  • Yes.  High percentage of those that visited campus committed and signed.  Even higher when parents were also brought in. 
  • Bringing parents in was a focus of the staff and will continue to be. 
  • Players and parents believe in the program and the direction and they want to be a part of building something.

Any immediate impact players?

  • Out of 27 signees, Gill expect just over HALF to play in 2011. 
  • Normally doesn't say that but he believes the team needs competition and that they have recruited players that will compete and be able to see the field.
  • May not start, but they will contribute on the field, in special teams and mature.

Does that number reflect need or is that the new college football?

  • "I want competition"
  • They are going to have a chance to compete.
  • We need speed and we've added it.
  • Competitition means you rise or you fall, "we want those who are going to rise to the challenge".

Is speed the top priority?

  • #1 concern addressed at every position.
  • Still expects 2-3 years before we really see what this group can do, but does anticipate a handful making a big impact from the outset.
  • If a player can run, he'll get more opportunity.
  • "Speed makes plays"
  • Made brief mention that their might have been a couple more that could have played last year as true freshman but held back because it's a process. Now at the point where they want to get these players in and playing for competition purposes and once the program is moving along you'd ideally redshirt most.

Any Voids in the Class

  • "NONE"
  • Faster at EVERY position, 2-3 players at every position.
  • Fortunate to have a lot of scholarships available.  Doesn't expect the number to be this high very often if at all.

Impact of a 3-9 season?

  • Didn't notice any.  No decommitments based on the season.
  • Players and recruits have confidence and they love what's going on at Kansas.
  • That includes players, recruits, parents.
  • "People commented that we have the things in place to win"
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