This most recent crop of recruits comes to Kansas as the #56-ranked recruiting class (per 247Sports) in the country. That’s quite a step up from the #70-ranked class of 2019, which makes sense, as the coaching staff literally had two months to cobble together that 2019 class, the first of the Les Miles era at Kansas.
Additionally, for the 2020 class 247Sports has KU with the #10 class in the Big 12. However, they have four Big 12 teams clustered in within 7 spots of each other - #49 Tech, #51 KSU, #53 BU, and #56 KU. This tells me that this class is competitive with most of the Big 12, and with proper coaching and development, it could be a solid base for the program within two years or so.
Unfortunately, that means that yes, we are still in the building phase of the program. At least on paper, the roster does not appear to be in “Big 12 shape,” but, it certainly seems to be trending in that direction.
This class is full of three-star players, as is typical for Kansas, but there are still two things to note:
- No Juco Recruits
- The “quality,” if you will, of the three-star players.
In his first two seasons, Miles has inked 10 top-1,000 (in the country, regardless of position) players. The previous coaching regime signed just eight such players over its final four seasons. Rebuilding scholarship numbers with depth is key at this point.
That said, let’s take a look at who you might expect to see in the fall - assuming football is even played, of course.
CB/DB JaCobee Bryant is KU’s highest rated recruit. He had an impressive offer list that included schools like Virginia Tech, Nebraska, and Tennessee. It’s difficult for high school freshmen to step into D1 play right away anyway, particularly on defense, but with Kansas losing a ton of players in the secondary, opportunity to see the field year one abounds.
WR Lawrence Arnold is the second-highest rated recruit in this class. Although KU really only loses Daylon Charlot off of last year’s receiving corps, Arnold may still have a shot at some playing time. At 6’4” he has the size, and with offers from schools like Oregon, Wisconsin, and Utah, he’s also got the talent.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Tristan Golightly, who while not ranked as highly as Arnold, still held an impressive offer sheet that included the likes of LSU, Nebraska, Utah, and Purdue. Golightly also has a big frame at 6’5” 205 lbs.
Additionally, keep your eye on TE/WR Will Huggins, whose size (6’6” 235 lbs) makes him an intriguing prospect. Huggins shot up recruiting rankings last fall, but held firm to his verbal commitment to Kansas.
It’s likely that Thomas MacVittie and Miles Kendrick will be the front-runners for the starting QB job, but it was reported that offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon had Jalon Daniels on his radar early on in last year’s recruiting cycle. Who knows, Daniels may surprise everyone. Or, maybe he’ll redshirt for eight games, come in to beat Texas at home in November, then lead Kansas to the Orange Bowl as a sophomore. Hey, something similar has been done here before!
Other names to keep an eye on are mostly on defense, again, primarily due to turnover. Kansas is returning just four starters from last year’s Week 1 depth chart: DE Sam Burt, LB Dru Prox, LB Kyron Johnson, and DBs Kyle Mayberry and Corione Harris. However, keep in mind the return of Corione Harris is unlikely at best, considering he is still indefinitely suspended from the team due to his legal troubles over the past six months.
So, freshmen to keep an eye on defensively include Kenean Caldwell, a huge defensive lineman (6’3” 330 lbs) who held offers from Oregon, TCU, A&M, and Colorado, among others. DE Clinton Anokwuru held multiple P5 offers as well. And, all three linebackers signed in this class also had multiple P5 offers: Krishawn Brown, Taiwan Berryhill, and Alonso Person.
Overall, I would say expect to see more 2019 recruits than 2020 recruits, but, this class does look to solidify the foundation upon which Miles can continue to build.