The traditional signing day for college football recruits has taken a bit of a backseat to the early signing period, with most recruits, especially for high-profile programs, signing back in December. Regardless, NSD 2019 appears to have been a huge win for Les Miles and the Kansas football coaching staff.
Consider: After the completion of the early signing period in December, 247Sports ranked the 2019 Kansas class at #106 in the country, just ahead of South Alabama and just behind Rice. It now stands at #65, just ahead of Memphis and right behind Washington State. KU ranks 9th in the Big 12, behind K-State (#62) and ahead of Texas Tech (#67).
After expecting to sign 14 or 15 players, Les Miles announced a class of 19 recruits, including QB Torry Locklin, who was originally in the class of 2018 but did not sign and did not play ball at his Juco over the past year to retain his eligibility. Locklin inked a letter of intent with KU back in December of 2018.
There has apparently been one subtraction, however. Benton Smith reported on Wednesday that Juco DB Justin Ford, who signed with KU in December, is no longer listed among KU’s signees for the 2019 class.
Did Kansas meet it needs for this class? In a word - Yes. Yes, I think they did. I would say as a general rule in college football, if you’re looking for recruits to take over for departing seniors, you’re probably in pretty bad shape.
The first thing I noticed about this class was four quarterbacks and six defensive linemen. I think that qualifies as trying to meet those needs. Two of those QB recruits are listed as “Athletes” and may end up switching positions once they get to campus, while two of the DE’s are officially listed by KU as LBs (Robinson, Parker).
That said, KU doesn’t lose much on offense. Peyton Bender, Steven Sims, Alex Fontana, Jeremiah Booker, and Kerr Johnson are the biggest holes to fill. Obviously, KU has been looking for a quarterback since Todd Reesing left, and some help is definitely needed for the WR corps. However, this class appears to address both of those needs. The two Juco WRs have excellent height and should immediately bolster the receiving corps, which loses its top three playmakers from last season in the aforementioned Sims, Booker, and Johnson. Additionally, there are a couple of “Athletes” who may end up as WR, and they may be able to play right away.
Defensively, the Jayhawks lose all four starting defensive linemen, both starting linebackers, and a starter at corner. So, DE, DT, and LB are a definite need as well. Check, Check, and Check again.
Kansas also picked up a couple of prep linebackers who come pretty highly regarded, and may be able to contribute right away.
One glaring omission appears to be the offensive line, as there isn’t a single OL recruit in this year’s class. KU lost just one senior off the OL two-deep from 2018, but will likely have six seniors on the two-deep this year. Look for offensive line to be a point of emphasis for the 2020 class.
Overall for 2019, the Jayhawks signed 19 players and just 5 Juco recruits. I expect we’ll see all five Juco players get significant playing time (QB, WR, WR, DT, DE), and who knows, some of these freshmen may surprise us as well.
Players to Watch
Prep DE Steven Parker is the lone 4-star recruit in this group, but I would expect Juco DE Malcolm Lee to make a more immediate impact. Lee already has the body (and experience) needed to compete right away, while Parker may need some time in a D1 weight program in order to regularly contribute.
With Loneker and Dineen gone, I would expect LB Gavin Potter to be given every opportunity to earn some playing time as a freshman. Additionally, DEs Steven Parker and Jereme Robinson are actually listed as LBs on KU’s official signing list.
DB Jayden Russell may be able to play early on as well, but KU returns most of its secondary from last year.
Kenny Logan, Velton Gardner, and Amauri Pesek-Hickson are all highly regarded three-star athletes who played both sides of the ball in high school; any one of them could probably make an impact in the WR corps for Kansas. Miles talked in his press conference about Hickson playing RB for Kansas, and he is listed as such on KU’s release. That said, after watching a combined 90 seconds of Hudl highlights, my best guess is that Hickson will end up at WR, Gardner will go to RB, and Logan will go to CB, but again, that’s purely a guess.
Additionally, even though Peyton Bender is gone and Carter Stanley is back, I fully expect Thomas MacVittie to be your opening-day QB (and have a long leash).
The 2019 Class
Enough generalities! Let’s meet the newest Jayhawks with a quick primer on each player:
QB Thomas MacVittie (Juco), 3*
One of the first commitments to Les Miles after he took over. At one time the top-ranked Juco QB, his only other reported offer was from Vanderbilt. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, committing to Pitt despite a late push from Les Miles and LSU. After a redshirt season there and a second year with minimal playing time, MacVittie headed to Juco to hone his QB skills. MacVittie has two years of eligibility remaining.
QB Torry Locklin, 3*
As mentioned above, Locklin was originally supposed to be a part of the 2018 class. Even though he signed in December of 2018 this year’s class, you likely won’t see him listed at 247Sports or Rivals.
QB-ATH Velton Gardner, 3*
Likely projecting as a RB due to his size, Gardner was verbally committed to K-State and Texas Tech at various points during the recruiting cycle. He is listed as a RB on KU’s roster.
QB-ATH Jordan Medley, 3*
A signing day surprise, Medley has the speed and size to play a variety of positions should coaches decide to switch his positions. He decommitted from Charlotte and also had offers from all three service academies as well as UMass. For now, he’s listed at QB on KU’s roster.
ATH-RB/WR Amauri Pesek-Hickson, 3*
Hickson has only played one year of organized football, but it was enough to get him a scholarship offer from Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. However, Michigan over-recruited and ran out of scholarships, so K-State, KU, and others went after Hickson hard over the last week or so. With KU’s depth at RB and Hickson’s frame, I look for Hickson to make an early impact at WR, but Les Miles did say at his press conference that he likes “big backs.”
ATH-RB/CB Kenny Logan, 3*
Logan has an impressive offer list full of SEC, ACC, and B10 schools despite a top-3 of KU, USF, and UConn. RCT’s very own David says: “This usually mean one of two things: They don’t want to redshirt (i.e., looking for playing time), or something came up about their behavior or academics that made the big boys shy away, and left the schools willing to take a chance.”
That said, let’s hope he’s just looking for playing time. He’s listed as a CB on KU’s roster.
ATH-CB/WR Valerian Agbaw, 3*
Agbaw signed back in December and along with Jayden Russell has been one of KU’s biggest recruiters on social media. His offers were mostly MAC and Sun Belt schools. Agbaw is listed as a CB on KU’s roster.
WR Andrew Parchment (Juco), 3*
One of two Juco WRs, Parchment signed back in December, choosing KU over Iowa State, Hawaii, UNLV, Arkansas State, and Ball State. He originally committed to Cincinnati out of high school prior to going to Juco, and has two years of eligibility remaining.
WR Ezra Naylor (Juco), 3*
The other Juco WR, Naylor had offers from Bowling Green and Troy. Naylor will have two years of eligibility remaining and is already enrolled and on campus in Lawrence.
TE Mason Fairchild, 3*
One of four in-state commits, Fairchild primarily had offers from FCS schools.
DT Caleb Sampson (Juco), 3*
Sampson originally signed with Missouri over K-State out of high school, but will end up in Lawrence after a couple of years at Juco. He has excellent size, and considering KU’s situation along the defensive line, should compete for playing time immediately. Sampson has three years of eligibility remaining.
DT Da’Jon Terry, 3*
Terry signed with KU during the early signing period, but the school didn’t announce it for a few days at Terry’s request. Terry already has the size you want for a Big 12 DT, and I can’t wait to see what this coaching staff can do with him.
DE Malcolm Lee (Juco), 3*
Lee had a nice offer list that included Iowa, Iowa State, Louisville, UCF, and Houston. He’s got great size for his position and I expect him to lock down one of the DE spots pretty quickly. And the best part is, Lee has three years of eligibility remaining.
DE Marcus Harris, 3*
Another unexpected signing, Harris had one other P5 offer from Washington State and a myriad of G5 offers. Even as a true freshman, he may already have the size to be able to step in and compete right away.
DE-LB Steven Parker, 4*
The undisputed gem of this class, Parker decommitted from Texas Tech and flirted with Nebraska before committing to Kansas. He’s got excellent size but will likely need to add some weight in the training room. Still, he may be able to compete for playing time right away, considering the current state of KU’s defensive line.
DE-LB Jereme Robinson, 3*
Yet another signing day surprise, Robinson decommitted from UAB to sign with KU. He also had offers from Memphis, ULM, and Bowling Green. Listed at just 215 lbs, he may be a redshirt candidate as he grows into 6’4” frame.
LB Gavin Potter, 3*
This was a signing day ceremony that will go down in Kansas lore. A day after posting pictures to Instagram wearing Texas Tech gear, Potter walked into his high school gymnasium wearing a K-State hoodie. He peeled off that hoodie to reveal a Texas Tech shirt. People started clapping. He then pulled off the shirt to reveal his commitment to KU via body paint.
Troll Level = 100
DB Justin Ford (Juco), 3*
Ford signed with Kansas back in December, but as mentioned earlier, was not listed in any of the releases provided by KU Football today.
DB Jayden Russell, 3*
KU’s most boisterous presence on social media, Russell has admitted to having zero interest in Kansas until Les Miles was hired. He chose the Jayhawks over offers from K-State, Iowa State, Duke, and Boston College.
K Jacob Borcila, NR
All I know about Borcila is that he reportedly had a scholarship offer from Arkansas State. Oh, and Les Miles said during his press conference that Borcila can hit a 60-yard field goal.
2019 FB Commits
|Thomas MacVittie||X||X||QB||6'5" 225 lbs||3*||3*||Cincinatti, OH||Vandy|
|Torry Locklin||X||QB||6'2" 190 lbs||3*||NR||Rockdale, TX||n/a|
|Andrew Parchment||X||X||WR||6'3" 185 lbs||3*||2*||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Haw, UNLV, Ark St, Ball|
|Ezra Naylor||X||X||WR||6'4" 208 lbs||3*||3*||Atlanta, GA||BGSU, Troy|
|Mason Fairchild||X||TE||6'5" 250 lbs||3*||2*||Andale, KS||S Dak, SIU|
|Caleb Sampson||X||X||DT||6'4" 270 lbs||3*||2*||Covington, LA||WKU, Nicholls, UTSA|
|Dajon Terry||X||DT||6'4" 320 lbs||3*||2*||Meridian, MS||South Alabama|
|Malcolm Lee||X||X||DE||6'5" 250 lbs||3*||3*||Bellevue, NE||Iowa, ISU, L'Ville, UCF, Hou|
|Marcus Harris||X||DE||6'3" 250 lbs||3*||2*||Montgomery, AL||Wazzu, Tul, Tol, Troy, +18 more|
|Steven Parker||X||DE-LB||6'4" 220 lbs||4*||4*||Dallas, TX||Decommitted from Texas Tech|
|Jereme Robinson||X||DE-LB||6'4" 215 lbs||3*||2*||Montgomery, AL||Decommitted from UAB|
|Gavin Potter||X||LB||6'1" 200 lbs||3*||3*||Broken Arrow, OK||TTech, KSU, Kent, CSU|
|Jayden Russell||X||DB||6'2" 180 lbs||3*||3*||Overland Park, KS||BC, Duke, ISU, KSU|
|Valerian Agbaw||X||ATH-CB/WR||5'11" 185 lbs||3*||3*||Powder Springs, GA||GSU, Ball, Char, Chatt|
|Velton Gardner||X||ATH-QB/RB||5'9" 170 lbs||3*||3*||Dallas, TX||Decommitted from Texas Tech|
|Jordan Medley||X||ATH-QB||6'3" 200 lbs||3*||2*||Kannapolis, NC||Decommitted from Charlotte|
|Kenny Logan||X||ATH-CB/WR||6'1" 185 lbs||3*||3*||St. Augustine, FL||Bama, Aub, FSU, Neb, Pur, +22 more|
|Amauri Pesek-Hickson||X||ATH-RB/WR||6'3" 210 lbs||3*||3*||Overland Park, KS||Decommitted from Michigan|
|Jacob Borcila||X||K||6'2" 165 lbs||NR||NR||Westerville, OH||Ark St, Miami OH|