Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Jayhawks have an interesting class coming in.
National Signing Day has quickly lost most of its luster with the advent of the early signing period, but it’s still a chance for schools to round out their recruiting classes for the upcoming season.
Kansas received 19 signatures in the early period this past December, with a few key names that elected to wait to commit. If we go by the rankings, that ended up hurting KU’s recruiting class this year, but more on that in a bit.
From this point on, everything I am going to tell you is coming from either 247Sports or Rivals. I do not have a subscription to either, so there is no paywall breach forthcoming.
First, let’s take a look at the 26 names from which KU has signed letters of intent:
Anyone you don’t see on the list above is a PWO (Preferred Walk-On). KU’s policy is to not distinguish between scholarship players and walk-ons, so names like Jordan Brown, Jared Casey, Quentin Skinner, Reis Vernon, and Danny Robinson aren’t listed here. (Apologies as I’m sure I’ve missed a couple of the PWOs.)
Let me repeat something I said last December:
… it’s clear that Les Miles has had a tremendous impact on KU’s recruiting. You have to go back to the Mark Mangino era to find regular recruiting classes in the top-50. David Beaty’s average class was ranked #65, Gill/Weis averaged #58, while Mangino averaged #46. And remember, Weis and Beaty leaned on Juco recruits to bolster those class rankings as well.
While 247Sports has all of KU’s recruits rated as three-star players, it should be noted that six of them are ranked in the national top-1,000. Once again, to put it in perspective:
Last year in 2019, Les Miles inked four such players. In five years, David Beaty got 15 total, but seven of those came in his first recruiting class in 2014. That means that, over his final four seasons, Beaty averaged just two top-1000 (high school) recruits per class.
In the Big 12, Rivals has KU’s class tied with K-State, ranked ahead of Texas Tech and Baylor. Nationally per Rivals, the Jayhawks are just two spots behind Iowa State and four spots behind Oklahoma State. There’s a rather large gap between #4 and #5 in the Big 12 with TCU at #32 and OSU at #42.
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 – much like last year’s class, actually, especially if you consider the top-1,000 recruits that Miles is bringing in.
Getting JaCobee Bryant to sign after he decommitted from KU just a few weeks ago was huge. Not only is he rated as the best player in this class, CB is a sudden position of need with the graduations of Hasan Defense, Davon Ferguson, Shaq Richmond, and Mike Lee, as well as the legal troubles that Corione Harris is currently faced with.
This class features five offensive linemen, two WRs who should be able to play right away (Arnold, Golightly), and two linebackers who should also compete for playing time right away considering KU’s 3-4 scheme (Brown, Berryhill). I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Will Huggins’ name, who shot up recruiting boards last fall but held firm with his verbal to KU. He’s got a chance to make an impact at TE as a freshman as well.
And last but not least, once again, I’d like to note: Zero Juco recruits.
We won’t spend a lot of time here, because I’d obviously rather talk about the ones who are Jayhawks. But, there are a few notable names you may be interested in. For example, the four-star LB who looked to be the centerpiece of this class six weeks ago, Brennon Scott, decommitted last month and signed with UNLV.
Local targets Da’Vonshai Harden and Jaylin Richardson both ended up at Northern Iowa.
Khari Coleman, one of the earliest verbals for this class, would have been one of our highest ranked recruits this year. As predicted in December, he flipped to TCU during the early signing period.
Chris Jones, who at one point had offers from Florida State, Penn State, Nebraska, and others of that ilk before verbally committing to KU in August of last summer, ended up at Florida Atlantic. Guessing there’s something going on there. Or maybe he just believes in Willie Taggart’s vision for the future of the Owls.
Anyway. The dream recruit, four-star RB Ashaad Clayton, put pen to paper for Colorado this week. Clayton and Pooka together in the backfield with Brent Dearmon’s offense would have been a lot of fun.
With Florida transfer QB Feleipe Franks off the board to Arkansas, it appears as if Kansas has been unable to address the quarterback position. There are some players currently in the transfer portal, but I haven’t heard if any of them have any interest in KU. As of now, it looks like a three-way race between Miles Kendrick, Torry Locklin, and Thomas MacVittie.
That said, Kansas does have two QB recruits in this class, and it was reported that Brent Dearmon was all over Jalon Daniels. Hey, if he’s the next Todd Reesing, sign me up!
All things considered, while there may not be any obvious standout players, it’s a solid class and it’s better overall than what we’ve seen over the last 10 years, Les Miles is definitely making an impact, and I have a feeling that the 2021 class may be the best one we’ve seen since Mangino’s 2006 bunch, a class that featured 15 top-1,000 (high school) recruits.