Next up on our signee rundown we're diving into the big men upfront. Last year was of course a pretty big class for this group with Dylan Admire, Travis Bodenstein, Luke Luhrsen, Damon Martin, Phil Ford and Bryan Peters all committing to the Jayhawks. Phil Ford as we all know has gone the junior college route and could eventually end up back at Kansas while Travis Bodenstein has recently elected to transfer. All in all that still left Kansas with a strong four man class which has provided a nice foundation for the future.
That of course brings us to this year. While we do still have a couple of junior college prospects floating out there, Charlie Weis does have an answer and a commitment from two high school players that are expected to sign today. Without further ado, let's look at the big uglies.
OL | 6-6 | 280 | Overland Park Kansas / Blue Valley West
Beckmann is a local product and one of the carryovers from Turner Gill's class. Beckman was one of the first Jayhawk commitments in the 2012 class and despite the coaching change he's elected to stick by his initial decision.
Beckmann played alongside current Jayhawk Dylan Admire at Blue Valley West during his junior year and Admire's senior season. Beckmann is one of the top ranked offensive lineman in the state of Kansas but his senior year didn't necessarily go smoothly. Early on Beckmann sustained a shoulder injury and he missed nearly the entire season for Blue Valley West which probably helped Kansas in retaining the local product.
Beckmann earned his offer at the Kansas offensive/defensive lineman camp last summer and ultimately chose the Jayhawks over Kansas State early in the process. Joining a former teammate certainly couldn't have hurt. Now Beckmann joins a program where he'll have time to develop under offensive line coach Tim Grunhard.
OL | 6-7 | 290 | Lakewood Ohio / St. Edward
Connolly is pretty much the opposite of Beckmann in that he was a very late addition to the class and ended up at Kansas solely because of the coaching change. Connolly is a big prospect at 6'7" 290 and looking at him you can tell he still has a fairly lean frame for an offensive lineman. That said, he appears to have tremendous upside.
Connolly is an Ohio native and while he wasn't commanding Big 10 offers he did have several offers in hand from various MAC schools. It's a pretty typical story in and around Big 10 country and with early offers from Akron, Marshall and Wyoming, Connolly committed to Marshall in late December.
Then Rob Ianello and Ron Powlus ended up at Kansas. Both were familiar with Connolly from their time at Akron and they were able to bring Connolly in on an unofficial visit. Connolly then came back a week later on an official visit after committing to Kansas 10 days ago.
Connolly will be another project for Grunhard to work with and like Beckmann he has a big frame that they are clearly hoping to mold into a player that can contribute. There are a lot of good four year offensive lineman that go under the radar and end up in the MAC. Hopefully Kansas has taken advantage of a late opportunity and found a good one.