Yesterday Turner Gill and Kansas football landed two solid dual threat quarterbacks within hours of eachother. The pair of players, along with last years signings of Brock Berglund and Michael Cummings should send a pretty clear message in terms of the direction of the Kansas offense going forward. What Turner Gill and Chuck Long WANT to do, probably won't eventually look like what we saw last year or even what we might see this year with Jordan Webb. What the Kansas staff wants to do clearly involves a mobile quarterback who can run and a definite shift away from the pass first spread that we saw with Todd Reesing.
Seth Russell is listed at 6'4" 195 pounds and clocked a 4.55 forty time this summer while attending camp in Lawrence. Russell is the 26th rated dual threat quarterback, he's received a three star rating from Rivals.com and all this despite sustaining an injury during his senior year. Russell received offers from Kansas, Wake Forest and North Texas while others including Texas A&M and Oklahoma were set to evaluate him during his senior year due to strong camp performances on those respective campuses. From the way things played out, it was a great opportunity for the Kansas staff to jump on a bit of a sleeper early and they did it.
Russell's commitment was a big one for Kansas yesterday and would have seemed to put a wrap on the QB position with such a small class. At the same time it's a position with very little in the way of answers right now and with the uncertainty and Turner Gill's desire for speed, athleticism and competition, Bilal Marshall's commitment becomes a no brainer from the Jayhawk perspective.
Marshall is the 15th ranked dual threat quarterback in the country, he's a top 100 player in the state of Florida and he holds BCS offers from Baylor, Wake Forest, Boston College, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia and Northwestern. He's 6'3" and currently listed at a lean 170. Marshall is another in a recent run of players out of the State of Florida which would be a huge area for Kansas to grow their presence and without question he's the fourth quarterback in the last two seasons to fit a specific mold that the Kansas staff seems to be targeting. Another encouraging sign related to both Kansas commitments is the fact that they were recruited by two Kansas assistants in Robert Wimberly and David Beaty that seem to be making a nice push on the recruiting front.
What it all means for this year remains to be seen. Most likely Jordan Webb is going to be the guy under center for Kansas but when you look at Berglund, Cummings, Marshall and Russell you see four players that move extremely well and four players that can also make plays with their arm. You also see four athletic players that can find a place to get on the field depending on how things shake out. It's definitely a positive sign to see a multitude of options considering the struggle Kansas has traditionally had in recruiting solid quarterback prospects. It's also a positive sign to see all of these players fit the mold of an athletic quarterback.
What it means for the future, provided Turner Gill has time to develop and involve one or more of these quarterbacks is that the offense will most certainly feature a quarterback that can beat you with his feet just as well as with his arm. It's a style that has been successful historically at the college level and it's certainly a style that seems to be prominent in the college game today.
Certainly it's early and none of the four have taken a snap in any official Kansas practice. For that matter the two commitments yesterday have yet to sign any paperwork officially binding them to Kansas so a lot can change. Throw in the fact that Jordan Webb could enter next Spring as a two year starter and show he's capable of keeping the job and it may be some time before we see a complete shift. Nonetheless it's hard not to look at the group of quarterbacks recruited by Turner Gill and not see the direction he'd like to head.