Defensive Line coming at 11:00am CST
The Kansas offensive line returns all five starters this coming season with Freshman All American Tanner Hawkinson anchoring the left side. Obviously Jeremiah Hatch should secure the center spot and then some mix of Brad Thorson, Sal Capra, Jeff Spikes and Trevor Marrongelli should round out the hogs up front.
Even the depth of this area is a strong suit for Kansas with Duane Zlatnik moving to guard last season and Riley Spencer having a strong year of development during his redshirt season. Throw in the mix Darius Parish or John Williams depending on how the positions shake out with the new staff and the Jayhawks are looking at a solid 6-8 offensive lineman with two or more years in the division one ranks.
What does that mean for an offensive line class from a recruiting standpoint? It means two things. First it's likely a smaller group. Second it's a group that will have time to develop. Kansas went out and found one monster that fits the mold and could prove to be a solid tackle prospect in the future for Kansas.
Chad Kolumber joined the Kansas class following the coaching change and after having a previous relationship with the staff from Buffalo. Coach Gill, Coach Stamn and Coach Wimberly were all familiar with Kolumber and as we learned from our first interview with the big man, they were looking at him right away.
Chad is a mountain of a man who comes to Kansas at a good time for him. He's viewed as somewhat of a project but he has uncoachable size and has worked hard over the past year to improve his value. Kolumber won't be forced into action early and will have the opportunity to let the Kansas training staff mold him into a monster. It's always hard to project lineman, probably the hardest of any position, but if you watch the video you see a kid with great size and a bit of a mean streak. That can't hurt in the Big 12.
I spoke to Chad last night and asked him about what it means to him to be signing with Kansas tomorrow.
"I am super excited and I just can't wait to make it official tomorrow."
"I think I will be getting an opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in the country at KU and I feel like I can help move the program forward in a positive manner."
It also appears that the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team has gained a new fan in Kolumber as he's been following the Hawks ever since getting the chance to see them in person.
"I have definitely become a Jayhawk basketball fan because the Morris twins are from my area and that Kansas State game was such a crazy game. Also the team is the best team in the nation right now."
Chad Kolumber Profile
Height: 6'8" Weight: 286
Strength: There's just no way to coach the kind of size Chad brings to the table. Kansas might be lucky that Todd Reesing still isn't back there because if he would have had a 6'8" body to throw over, it could have been a problem. Another thing that Chad has as you see from the film is a nasty streak. Reminds me a little of the way Trevor Marrongelli played this year always looking to finish blocks and plant his man in the turf. Chad will certainly add some weight to that frame once he arrives on campus and with a division one strength program Chad could become a road grading, blindside blocking monster.
Question Marks: For all the size and potential that's there because of it, the fact remains that Chad's competition level wasn't viewed as outstanding. He's relatively new to the game so the biggest question mark is that Chad is to this point a question mark. However, he has a great attitude and obviously Kansas is in the right situation to help foster that growth and develop his talent. It doesn't jump off the page at you but Chad Kolumber is a signing I think we might grow to really like.
A quick note: Fabbian Ebbele ended up signing with Arizona so that was the potential wild card at this spot for Kansas. With only one in the class Kansas will need to make the o-line a priority for next year. The good news is there is a solid group of local talent that the coaching staff can target to start out with. Phil Ford, Dylan Admire and Jordan Phillips are the first three that come to mind. All three are going to be recruited by the likes of MU, KSU, NU and KU so it won't be easy but the Jayhawks need to make a push with all three to get things going.