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Updated: KU Football 2018 Recruiting Class

Breaking down the 2018 recruiting class and the strategy behind it.

West Virginia v Kansas Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Well here we are, back at the traditional February national signing day for college football. With the new early signing period, many schools have already signed the majority of their classes, Kansas included. The Jayhawks have inked 14 of their 18 commits for the 2018 class; the remaining four are expected to sign today. They are: QB Torry Locklin, OL Reuben Lewis, DE Miles Emery, and LB Ryan Malbrough. (The full list of 2018 recruits is at the bottom of this article if you want to skip down.)

Update 8:15 AM: Reuben Lewis was the first to send in his LOI this morning. Still waiting on Locklin, Emery, and Malbrough.

Update 9:45 AM: Ryan Malbrough is in.

Update 11:00 AM: SIGNING DAY SURPRISE! Jayhawks pull Florida prep LB Kenny Bastida.

Update 2/8/18: Torry Locklin and Miles Emery did NOT sign on Wednesday for unspecified reasons.

Class Breakdown

The 2018 class includes 11 junior college transfer players. Overall, the class is heavy on defensive players and offensive line, with just four scholarships going to the “skill” positions of QB, RB, and WR.

The last time I checked (and I haven’t double checked this), the 2017 Jayhawks had just 15 seniors on the roster: 1 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 4 OL, 4 DL, 1 DB, 2 Special Teams. So the numbers in the class seem to jive with space available on the roster. You may hear Beaty say something along the lines of, “we filled our needs,” which is, of course, coachspeak, but would also be a correct statement from him for once.

Players to Watch

I like to look at offer sheets instead of stars, ratings, or stats when I take a look at potential recruits. That said, obviously, CB Corione Harris is the gem of this class. Harris is the first top-100 recruit the Jayhawks have ever landed, and had offers from basically the entire SEC, Big 12, and beyond.

RB Anthony Williams was named the Louisiana state player of the year, and he should be a fun one. Officially, his only other two offers were from LSU and Mississippi State, but I think had he not been so solid with Kansas, his offer sheet would have looked similar to Harris’.

OL Jacobi Lott picked up a late offer from Texas, but kept his verbal commitment to KU.

Juco DE Azur Kamara and local prep DE Miles Emery both have solid offer sheets as well. Emery, should he sign with the Jayhawks, will have kept that verbal commitment over Oklahoma and Louisville.

I would expect all of these players to push for playing time, and at the very least be on the two-deep when the season opens in September.

What’s with all the Jucos?

If I may editorialize for a moment - this class appears to be a desperation move by a coach who knows he must win, and win soon. At Big 12 Media Days last summer, he practically promised results on the field; those results never materialized. Another season of three or fewer wins combined with more blowout losses should mark the end of the David Beaty regime. Forget recruiting Kansas (three recruits), forget recruiting Texas (Beaty’s “specialty”, two recruits), forget building this program the “right way” (11 juco recruits), forget all of that. Nope, we’re in God-please-please-please-let-us-win-four-games-this-year mode.

It’s a bold move, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him.

The problem with that is this is simply Charlie Weis 2.0. Even if they do win three or four games this year, and four or five in 2019, by 2020 we’ll be right back at the same place we were in 2015. At the very least it’s disheartening, and at the worst it’s dishonest, despicable, and a (yet another) fireable offense, both for the coach and for the man who hired him.

What Could Have Been

This class may ultimately be remembered for what it almost was - a top 25 class with potential program-changing players at multiple spots. I’ll be interested to follow the college careers of WR Devonta Jason (Miss St), WR JaMarr Chase (LSU), DB Aaron Brule (Miss St), QB Clayton Tune (Houston), and DE Cartez Crooks-Jones (K-State), two of whom are five-star talents, all of whom had verbally committed to Kansas at some point during the 2017 calendar year.

The 2018 Recruiting Class

Starting at noon today, you can check out KU Football’s “Signing Day Live” show on cable partners across the state (Jayhawk TV Network) and ESPN3. This will include David Beaty’s press conference at 1:30 PM.

Here is how the 2018 class breaks down. Follow this link to for some highlight videos of most of the recruits:

The 2018 KU Football Recruiting Class

Name Pos JUCO Size 247 Rank Rivals Signed Hometown Other Offers
Name Pos JUCO Size 247 Rank Rivals Signed Hometown Other Offers
Miles Kendrick QB x 5'9" 193 lbs *** *** 1/15/18 San Jose, CA
Torry Locklin QB 6'2" 190 lbs *** ** Rockdale, TX GA Southern, NMSU
Anthony Williams RB 5'8" 165 lbs *** *** 12/22/17 Boutte, LA LSU, Miss St
Stephon Robinson WR x 5'10" 165 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Torrance, CA Haw, MTSU, ODU
Nick Williams OL 6'7" 267 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 St. Louis, MO Illini, Min, UCF, Wyo, Ball, CMU
Jacobi Lott OL 6'5" 308 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Amarillo, TX UT, BGSU, UMass, NMSU
Mac Copeland OL 6'5" 250 lbs *** ** 12/20/17 Wichita, KS
Reuben Lewis OL x 6'4" 330 lbs ** *** 2/7/2018 Apopka, FL WVU, ECU, UNM
Najee Stevens-McKenzie DE x 6'4" 215 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Brooklyn, NY Terps, ISU, Miz, Pitt, Tol, UCF
Azur Kamara DE x 6'6" 230 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Phoenix, AZ L'Ville, ISU, ASU, FSU, Neb, Bay
Foster Dixon DE x 6'5" 250 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Los Angeles, CA CSU, UConn, UTEP
Miles Emery DE 6'5" 235 lbs *** *** Leawood, KS OU, ISU, L'Ville
Charles Cole DT x 6'3" 280 lbs ** *** 12/20/17 El Dorado, KS KSU, Fresno, UNLV, Mem, Tol
Kenny Bastida LB 6'2" 230 lbs *** *** 2/7/2018 Ft Lauderdale, FL Pitt, IU, PSU, MSU, Wisc, UNC
Ryan Malbrough LB 6'2" 200 lbs *** ** 2/7/2018 Carencro, LA KSU, CSU, Hou, LTU, Mem, Tul
Elijah Jones CB x 6'2"180 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Iowa Falls, IA ISU, Illini, UNM, Rut
Elmore Hempstead CB x 6'0" 190 lbs ** *** 12/20/17 Smackover, AR ASU, ISU, UNI, UCF, UNLV, USU
Corione Harris CB 6'1" 170 lbs **** **** 12/20/17 New Orleans, LA LSU, Ark, Aub, UF, MSU, FSU, UT, OU
Jeremiah McCullough S x 6'0" 200 lbs *** *** 12/20/17 Salinas, CA Buf, Fresno, Tol, USU
Davon Ferguson S x 5'11" 190 lbs ** *** 12/20/17 Laurel, MD Buf, SDSU
The 2018 KU Football Recruiting Class