Kansas University football coach Turner Gill turned an eye toward the future on Friday at a season-ending news conference at Mrkonic Auditorium in the Anderson Family Football Complex.
Who knew the future would be so immediate?
In addition to summing up his first season in charge of the Jayhawks, Gill announced the signing of two highly-coveted local prospects from the Class of 2011, who will join the Jayhawks in January.
Dylan Admire, a 6-foot-3, 264-pound offensive lineman from Blue Valley West High in Overland Park, will graduate high school early and enroll at Kansas for the spring semester.
A three-star lineman according to Rivals.com, Admire originally committed to Nebraska before changing his mind and electing to join the Jayhawks. In speaking about Admire for the first time since receiving his letter of intent, Gill said the freshman-to-be would have a chance to work his way into the offensive line rotation right away.
“He was one of the best guys we had on our board,” Gill said. “And we’re glad he decided to come here. He’s strong, he’s athletic and he’s explosive. He’s very passionate about the game and he’s a guy that’s very, very in tune with wanting to be the best. So he fits what we’re trying to do and I know he’s going to develop into a solid football player.”
Miller, a four-star running back from Blue Springs High in Missouri, also recently sent his letter to the KU coaching staff after a complicated recruitment that saw him commit to KU early, back out a few weeks later and ultimately settle on the Jayhawks again in late October.
Miller, 5-10, 181, who rushed for 2,226 yards and 30 TDs this season, set the Missouri big-class rushing record with more than 6,500 yards during his career.
Asked what Miller’s role with the Jayhawks would be, Gill was direct with his answer.
“Running back all the way,” he said. “There’s no hesitation on that one. He has tremendous speed, tremendous vision. Whenever the ball’s in his hands he’s able to take it to the end zone on any given play.”
Like Admire, Miller plans to enroll at KU in time for the spring semester. Both players will start classes in January and will be eligible to participate in spring practices.
Three players leaving team
Also on Friday, Gill announced that fullback Steven Foster, defensive back Ryan Murphy and defensive tackle Darius Parrish were no longer with the team.
Foster and Murphy — the former Free State High standout — are on pace to graduate at the end of the school year.
Parish, a sophomore from Wichita, who played in nine games this season, plans to transfer to a different school to continue his football career. Gill said he would grant Parish’s request for a release and wished all three players well in their future endeavors.
Pick happy as a receiver
Asked Friday about the status of quarterback-turned-receiver Kale Pick, a sophomore from Dodge City, Gill said his meeting with his former starting QB revealed a player pleased with his current situation.
“He’s on board at receiver, full-throttle, ready to go,” Gill said.
Asked if that meant Pick was done taking reps at quarterback, Gill said: “I’m never gonna say never, but, at this time, he’s a wide receiver.”
Spring football news
Three returning Jayhawks are expected to miss most of spring practice because of injury, Gill announced Friday.
Cornerback Isiah Barfield and offensive lineman Riley Spencer both recently had shoulder surgery and will miss all of spring drills. Running back Rell Lewis, who missed 2010 because of an ACL injury, will be available this spring but only on a limited basis while recovering from the injury.