John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
Taking a look at the group of nine junior college prospects and one high school prospect that have signed and are expected on campus for the Jayhawks this spring.
Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks were extremely aggressive in seeking out junior college prospects to bolster the talent level within the program in 2013. Overall the Jayhawks have 16 junior college prospects committed and Kansas has done a tremendous job of winning some pretty HUGE recruiting battles in this department. What makes this group even more impressive is the fact that NINE of those players have already signed and are expected on campus this spring. Furthermore, several have the opportunity to spend more than the standard two years on campus. Kansas fought hard, landed a great junior college class, fought of several late pushes and secured several players that are going to get a nice head start this spring.
|Marquel Combs||DT||Woodland Hills, CA Pierce C.C.||6'3"||305|
Combs was the perhaps the biggest fish landed with this class and he was one of the best recruiters and momentum builders for the Kansas staff after his commitment in December. The month of December was just one domino falling after the next and Kansas was coming out on top in nearly every situation.
Combs originally committed to Ole Miss but that door closed at some point and his recruitment was reopened. Now Combs reported offers from across the country in every BCS league and it really was an impressive list of opportunities. Kansas, Kansas State and Houston all appeared to provide the best opportunity for immediate playing time and the Jayhawks ultimately won out over instate rival K-State.
Combs represents the defensive tackle that Kansas has been looking for without success for several years now. He'll step in with a group that really started to develop some last year and provide an instant lift. At 6'3" 305, Combs moves very well, provides a push and can make plays in the backfield. He is the 10th ranked junior college prospect in the country and the top ranked recruit for the Jayhawks this year.
|Zach Fondal||OL||Corsicana, TX Navarro J.C.||6'5"||295|
Fondal is the next in line and will compete on the other side of the ball most likely at guard. Fondal chose Kansas over Arkansas, South Florida and Texas Tech. At one time Fondal was rumored to be a soft commit to the Razorbacks but a trip to Kansas and the sense of urgency that built with the Jayhawk junior college recruiting momentum led to his commitment and signing in December.
Fondal isn't as highly rated as someone like Combs but that shouldn't be a huge concern at this point. The Kansas offensive line needed to reload with competitive bodies and Fondal is definitely in that category. That's not to say that he'll be starting come September, but Fondal will definitely compete for playing time with the departure of several key contributors from the 2012 team. Charlie Weis used the bench and the travel roster as motivation on multiple occasions last year and he used it specifically with one offensive lineman that was showing some promise. Adding a player like Fondal keeps everyone working everyday in order to have a chance to play on Saturday.
|Ngalu Fusimalohi||OL||San Francisco, CA City College of San Francisco||6'3"||300|
Another big physical body added to the offensive line. Fusimalohi is part of the move West by this staff and it was a successful move for the most part. The offensive guard prospect out of City College was actually one of the early recruits to jump on board and he likely saw the opportunity for playing time right away. Fusimalohi is one of the top ranked interior lineman in this junior college class. He made the commitment to Kansas over several high quality non-bcs schools, but he also received some late interest before signing with the Jayhawks in December. This marks another recruit landed by Jeff Blasko who has been all over the place this past year in landing new talent for the Jayhawk program. If you had to put an MVP label on one of the assistant coaches for Kansas it would have to be him.
|Tedarian Johnson||DT||Raymond, MSHinds C.C.||6'3"||285|
Johnson is one of two defensive lineman out of Hinds CC that are expected to be in Lawrence this coming Fall. While Andrew Bolton is expected to sign today, Johnson signedd in December and adds another body to the defensive tackle position. Between Jordan Tavai, Ty McKinney, Marquel combs and Johnson, the Jayhawks have added a lot of talent to the mix to go along with Kevin Young, Keba Agostinho and those already on the roster. In theory this has got to turn this position in to an area with a solid rotation and potentially a strength. One thing is certain, it's going to be competitive.
Johnson chose the Jayhawks all the way back in September and he chose Kansas over Texas Tech, Iowa State and Mississippi State. That's not only adding talent, it's also taking talent away from two teams you have to play on an annual basis. Johnson, much like Tavai last year, could play both inside and outside depending on the personnel grouping and base defensive set.
|Chris Martin||DE||San Francisco, CA City College of San Francisco||6'5"||260|
This is another one that many believe could be on par with the Combs signing. Martin committed to Notre Dame and Cal before ending up at Florida out of high school. He was a highly highly rated player and he ended up taking a few steps back before ending up at Kansas this spring. He has great size, he's athletic and he'll be a huge boost to the defensive end position along with some of the other players expected to sign this week. Martin committed to Kansas over Nebraska and Washington State. There is some moderate concern over his bouncing around but that doesn't seem to be a concern for this staff, or at the very least the Kansas program is in a situation where the risk is well worth it.
|Dexter McDonald||DB||El Dorado, KS Butler County C.C.||6'2"||203|
Personally I like this story a lot. McDonald was one of the players that had to leave the Kansas program following the arrival of Charlie Weis. He had some work to do in the classroom and went to Butler CC to get that done. The work he's done has afforded him the opportunity to come back and he's decided to do just that. What's even more exciting is the fact that McDonald did very well at Butler, he started to turn some heads at some major programs and he'll bring size and experience to a major position of need for the Jayhawks next year.
|Trevor Pardula||K||De Anza, CADe Anza||6'5"||210|
Pardula is a kicker, obvious need for Kansas. But it does appear that he's coming in primarily to handle the punting and kickoff duties and not necessarily placekicking. That said, those two areas are just as important and just as in need as the placekicking piece. Give Kansas a kicker last year and it probably wins another game or two over the course of the year.
|Cassius Sendish||DB||Yuma, AZArizona Western C.C.||6'2"||185|
Another big junior college defensive back that can play either at safety or corner. Corner appears to be where he's headed and there will be some pretty stiff competition among a handful of players being brought in to address this area. Sendish comes from Arizona Western after being recruited by very few programs out of high school. Sendish reported offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State and Kansas State among others. K-State made a push after his commitment to Kansas but they were unsuccessful.
|Mike Smithburg||OL||Council Bluffs, IA Iowa Western C.C.||6'3"||300|
More competition at guard and center. Smithburg is another highly ranked interior offensive lineman and Kansas now has two on campus this spring to compete with what we have in place. Smithburg can play anywhere on the interior and addressing this area was a huge priority for Kansas. Kansas has perhaps the most talented backfield in some time and Jake Heaps is drawing some very positive reviews. Charlie Weis knows he needs to piece together a competent Big 12 level group up front and the recruiting strategy reflects that. Smithburg chose Kansas over Illinois, South Florida and a host of MAC schools.
|Colin Spencer||DB||Dallas, TXWoodrow Wilson||5'10"||179||4.5|
Colin Spencer is the one high school December grad and he's a bit of an athletic freak. That didn't translate into an overwhelming amount of interest but Weis seems prepared to see if he can find a place for a player as athletic as Spencer. That is expected to be in the defensive backfield, but the door might be open for other opportunities as he develops.