Over the weekend the Kansas Jayhawks and Charlie Weis reportedly offered a scholarship to 2014 offensive line prospect Braden Smith. You might ask what the big deal is considering he is just now heading into his junior year and he's a prospect just down the road at Olathe South. Well, Smith is an Olathe South prospect which does of course make him a local prospect, but the way things are shaping up his recruitment will be FAR from local.
Smith currently holds offers from Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, TCU, Kansas State, South Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, Stanford and more. Smith is quickly becoming one of the most sought after offensive line recruits in the country for his class and could end up being the top rated player at his position. That likely means Smith would be a five star recruit right in the Jayhawks backyard.
As a 2014 recruit Smith will be just a junior this coming season. He already measures nearly 6'6" and 280+. His high school coach reports a 425 pound bench press along, a 500 pound squat and a modest forty time with excellent footwork and flexibility. By all accounts this is going to be a big time player at the next level and likely beyond.
That means Kansas is going to face stiff competition and in past recruiting battles for national caliber recruits from the local market Kansas often finds that they aren't the ultimate choice. Smith would mark a huge change in that trend if the Jayhawks were able to convince him to stay local and help build the program. Of course a noticeable improvement of the product on the field as well as a huge effort by Tim Grunhard and Weis will be at the root of any chance Kansas has.
One positive, Smith's father played football for Kansas in the 80's. Without more background it's hard to say how much weight that will carry, but it's at least one connection that Kansas might be able to play IF they can show that the program is on a trajectory to make Lawrence a desirable place for the future. It's early, but at this point Smith is certainly a story to watch locally when it comes to the future of Kansas football.