Yesterday Turner Gill and his staff put the finishing touches on a 27 signee class that ranked 34th in the nation. Yes the numbers helped, but when those rankings are done they are said to account for a 20 member class and credit the top 20 members of a class. At least that's the way Rivals does it and Rivals seems to have cornered the market on the college football recruiting rankings.
To put that 34th ranking in perspective Kansas is ahead of Wisconsin, Illinois, Mississippi State and West Virginia in terms of Top 50 teams with 20+ signees. In the Big 12(-2) Kansas understandably finishes behind Texas and Oklahoma. Texas Tech put together a very strong class and finished at 19. While Kansas sits just ever so slightly behind Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. In those instances the difference is minimal.
That means Kansas finishes in front of Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas State. Iowa State and Kansas State both signed over 20 so it's essentially an apples to apples comparison. The biggest difference at Kansas State is that they do add the Brown brothers and Bill Snyder does more with less better than anyone.
In terms of Missouri it was just a 16 person class and the Tigers did rank slightly higher in the averages recruit ranking than Kansas. Baylor added 19 but in the average recruit ranking they finished a tick lower than Kansas.
When you look at the size of the class, the needs addressed and the caliber of player for Kansas considering the 3-9 season and the demoralizing manner in which it occurred it's a class with some wow factor to it. Turner Gill should not have done this well, but he did and as a fan that's a great thing to see.
Now here's where things become challenging. Kansas now plays three non-conference games and the other nine teams on the schedule are in the conference and finished BETTER than Kansas a year ago. There are NO overnight fixes in football.
Turner Gill talked about playing over half of the incoming freshman. That sounds great when we are talking about upgrading the talent and building toward the future, but on the flipside it means Kansas will continue to experience growing pains. Basically things might have to get worse before they get better. I could be wrong, but I don't think I'll be Orange Bowl wrong.
Heading into 2011 I'm excited for the direction that Turner Gill has Kansas football pointed in, but he's still guiding a ship that took on a lot of water last year. My expectation is that Kansas competes. My expectation is that Kansas looks more organized, more "bought in" and like a team with a direction. My expectation is that the team looks in better shape physically and mentally on a weekly basis. My hope would be we find a way to gain ground on last years 3-9 record.
The reality is that we may not. If you had to put a ceiling on it today, 5 wins might be where that ceiling is. That's based on what we know TODAY. The good news is spring ball is around the corner, 2010 is in the past and despite all the shortcomings in year one Turner Gill has done extremely well in one area and that's laying a foundation to build on. It's a good class with a lot of potential. Now comes the hard part. Develop talent, put together consistently solid gameplans and win football games.