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.