Archive for Tuesday, February 6, 1996


February 6, 1996


A California junior college quarterback and a Florida prep lineman have given verbal commitments to Kansas University's football team.

If the two new non-binding commitments -- and the preceding 23 -- are honored, the Jayhawks will sign 25 players to national letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the football signing period.

Akili Roberson, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound QB, committed to Kansas out of Los Angeles Southwest Community College.

"He's the whole package," Southwest coach Henry Washington said. "I must admit, we didn't do the job we should have done with him here. But he's got a strong arm, he can run a 4.5 40 (-yard dash). He's a sharp kid."

A native of Los Angeles, Roberson headed to Southwest after he failed to meet NCAA initial-eligibility guidelines his senior year at L.A. Locke High.

"He was the city player of the year out of high school," Washington said. "He was a pretty hot prospect this year, until people found out he was going to be a spring graduate. They saw he was going to get out late and backed off."

Purdue and Kentucky were among those schools who showed interest early, Washington said. The coach said he didn't have any stats on his QB, but said he threw for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons.

"I think Kansas got the best quarterback out there, as far as community college is concerned," Washington said. "His stats don't show it, but you'll see in a couple of years. He's a good one."

Washington said Roberson was on schedule to graduate in May, but he might have to take a summer-school class to be eligible for next fall. He'll have three years to play two, meaning he'll have a red-shirt year available.

The prep lineman, 6-4, 320-pound Ishmeal Knight, from Tampa (Fla.) Hillsboro High, picked KU over South Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, Kansas State and Marshall.

"I set standards for what a college would have," Knight said. "One was, it had to have a family-type environment. Kansas met that need. The coaches there are very close to the players. And it has to have a stable criminal justice program. I get a certain vibe when I go to a college, and I got a good vibe from Kansas."

Knight, a two-time all-conference pick, was a first-team all-district and all-Suncoast selection as a senior. He also earned honorable mention to the all-Florida team. He played on both lines his senior season but said he was recruited to KU to play offensive line.

He made his decision to attend KU after returning the past weekend from a recruiting trip to West Virginia.

"I was recruited pretty hard early on, but I made some mistakes early in ninth grade with my grades," Knight said. "Most of the schools pulled out because they didn't think I'd make it, but Kansas stuck by me. That's another reason I picked Kansas."

Knight said he had improved his GPA and has met NCAA initial-eligibility guidelines.

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