Defensively Kansas has made some strides during the Charlie Weis era. While it hasn't been perfect, there have certainly been players that have come in and made an impact and players that have developed far more than they did under Turner Gill. Dave Campo appears to have been a solid shot in the arm on the recruiting trail and Clint Bowen continues to develop as a coordinator and his commitment to Kansas is up there with anyone we've had on staff.
This years class really addressed a lot of areas and has the potential to provide a significant amount of immediate competition and near term depth. While the Kansas offense has a long way to go, it's possible that with the pieces in place defensively that Kansas could be close to fielding a pretty salty unit on this side of the ball. This is still at the point of 'show me, don't tell me' for many, but if you were going to have cautious optimism anywhere, this is it.
|Matthew Boateng||DB||Bradenton, FLIMG Academy||6'0"||180|
|Ronnie Davis||DB||Miami, OKNortheastern Oklahoma A&M J.C.||6'1"||170|
|Anthony Smithson||DB||Salinas, CAHartnell C.C.||6'0"||180|
|Joe Dineen||DB||Lawrence, KSFree State||6'2"||197||4.5|
Two junior college players and two prep level players are expected to sign with the Kansas secondary. This is a position Kansas went after in a big way last year and that trend appears to be continuing. Smithson and Davis both held BCS level offers from Pac 12, Big 10 or SEC schools. Joe Dineen is a local prospect that could probably fill in at a few different defensive positions over the longterm and Boateng is the hopeful sleeper.
|Kapil Fletcher||DE||Salinas, CAHartnell C.C.||6'4"||255||4.9|
|Damani Mosby||DE||Mesa, AZMesa C.C.||6'3"||235|
|Anthony Olobia||DE||Yuma, AZArizona Western C.C.||6'5"||230|
|Daniel Wise||DE||Lewisville, TXHebron||6'2"||242|
Let's separate the defensive ends from the defensive tackles this year because Kansas went after a bunch. On the outside the Jayhawks added three from the junior college level and one from the prep level. Just a few short years ago Kansas was severely lacking for depth anywhere on the defensive line. These last two years have shifted that trend significantly and the stakes have risen again for everyone on the roster with the addition of these players. Mosby and Olobia are more in the rush end mold. Fletcher might serve as a strongside player while Wise projects as a contributor down the line on the strongside as well.
|Lay'Trion Jones||DT||Garland, TXGarland||6'3"||285||5.4|
|D.J. Williams||DT||Lufkin, TXLufkin||6'3"||270||4.9|
Kansas added to a large defensive end class with a pair of prep defensive tackles. It's been awhile since Kansas has been successful in landing any true defensive tackles from the high school level, instead they've relied on converting ends or undersized players into serviceable contributors. Between junior college additions in recent years and the development of Tyler Holmes, Kansas could actually be in a decent spot when it comes to depth and the future of the position.
|Josh Ehambe||LB||Arlington, TXPrime Prep Academy||6'3"||230|
|Kyron Watson||LB||East St. Louis, ILEast St. Louis||6'0"||226||4.7|
Watson is probably the defensive player drawing the most attention and deservedly so. Kansas has a nice prospect for the future and kept him away from some solid BCS programs. Ehambe might be similar to a Ben Goodman in the future acting more as a rush end, but he's listed as a linebacker for now and is another decent prospect out of Texas, a State where Kansas turned their fortunes before.
All in all Kansas added something to every position with this class. It's a nice blend of junior college talent and high school talent as the Jayhawk staff continues to try to bring in immediate impact players and merge that with prospects to build with for the future. Again it's all wait and see after the last four years of what has amounted to football purgatory, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to have some optimism about the defense heading into next year and beyond.