Kansas lands 18 JUCO players in signing class

Kansas coach Charlie Weis is looking toward Kansas State as an

example for success.

When Weis was offered the job at Kansas, he compared the two

rivals teams. Kansas was 2-10 and about 90 miles down the road,

Kansas State was 10-2. His Jayhawks finished the season 1-11 and

0-9 in Big 12 play while the Wildcats went 11-2 and are fresh off a

Fiesta Bowl appearance.

After another lackluster year, Weis decided to look more closely

at Bill Snyder’s team. One major part of Kansas State’s consistent

success has been the role of strong junior college recruiting. Sure

enough, as 14 letters of intent arrived on Wednesday, a familiar

pattern appeared. His 25-man recruiting class featured 18 players

from junior colleges around the country.

”I’ll take the 18 junior college players because they are ready

to play now,” Weis said.

The Jayhawks return 35 letter winners, but only 12 starters so

brining in experienced players is key. Marquel Combs, who signed

last December, is the perfect example.

He is the top-ranked junior college prospect according to ESPN

despite only playing one year of football in high school.

The Memphis native will come to Kansas with two years of

eligibility after leaving Pierce College and join a defensive line

that lost two starters. He received more than 50 Division 1 offers

and chose Kansas from the list.

”We provide a unique opportunity because almost everyone can

see themselves getting into the mix,” Weis said.

Chris Martin, a transfer from City College of San Francisco and

fellow four-star recruit will join Combs on the defensive line.

From there, Weis added nine players who were ranked in

Scout.com’s top 100 JUCO Players.

On the other end of the spectrum, Weis also nabbed a pair of

three-star quarterbacks from Kansas City high schools.

Jordan Darling will graduate from Shawnee Mission East as the

top rated pro style quarterback in Kansas. He comes from a military

family and has thrown for 1,000 yards in three different states

during high school.

He is joined in the class by Montel Cozart, a two-sport letter

winner from Bishop Miege who was named the 2011 Kansas Gatorade

Player of the Year. He also played for Kansas assistant coach Tim

Grunhard before he joined the staff last year.

As he builds the Kansas program, Weis hopes to move away from

the junior college model and add in more high schools seniors, but

right now he needs results.

”They’re much more grown up,” said Weis of junior college

recruits. ”They’ve got it figured out and physically they’re more

developed. They’re much more ready for the real world.”

Weis, who has experience coaching in both college and the NFL,

described junior college transfers as the ideal medium.

”These aren’t 18-year-old kids,” Weis said. ”These guys have

been weathered. These guys have already had to live a little bit of

a rough life. Everything hasn’t been handed to them.”

Wednesday morning, with this year’s class squared away long

before deadline, Weis gathered his staff in the morning to start

planning for next year. Weis and his staff have a three-year plan

for each position, but this year he is satisfied with his second

recruiting class at Kansas.

”I feel good that we have filled every hole numerically with

guys we thing are pretty good players,” Weis said.