Members of senior classes that change football programs tend to return to campus recruiting visits when asked to identify the day the tide turned.
It’s common of players to talk about how a few guys who met during their visits huddled together out of range of the coaches’ ears and made a collective decision to come to the school and become the men to turn a losing program into a winning one.
Given how much high school football talent is on the Kansas University campus this weekend, one such conversation could take place.
For all we know, Rodney Coe, Kevin Grooms, Jephete Matilus and Clavion Nelson are making that pact right this minute.
“It’s an impressive group of recruits who are being recruited by several other quality BCS schools,” said Jon Kirby of Rivals.com. “You’ll see a lot of talent coming in for four or five weekends in December and January.”
A 6-foot-2, 247-pound athlete from Edwardsville, Ill., Coe has been recruited by Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois and other heavyweights. Florida State is among those hot on the trail of Grooms, a 5-10, 165-pound burner from Hollywood, Fla., and he still made a visit to Lawrence. South Florida and Illinois have offered Nelson, a 6-4, 225-pound defensive end and a teammate of Grooms. Matilus, a 6-1, 218-pound linebacker from Delray Beach, Fla., orally committed over the summer to Minnesota, which fired its coach.
Special teams coach Aaron Stamn reportedly is in the midst of arranging a recruiting visit for 6-5, 250-pound defensive end Roy Robertson of Grand Prairie, Texas. Robertson is also being pursued by Arizona, Arkansas and TCU.
A keen ability to judge talent accurately and develop relationships with recruits is the common thread that runs through Turner Gill’s coaching staff.
Recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell landed receiver Charles Rogers, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, when working for Michigan State. Mitchell has been considered among the best recruiters in every BCS conference in which he has worked.
Receivers coach Darrell Wyatt, when working at Oklahoma, was the lead recruiter for Adrian Peterson, the NFL’s top running back since joining the Minnesota Vikings.
Offensive coordinator Chuck Long and his staff recruited all the key contributors to this season’s surprising San Diego State team that is ranked just outside the top 25.
Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes recruited most and developed all the linemen that have played such a big part in Mississippi State’s improvement.
Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt worked at TCU, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Texas A&M and Nebraska, among others, so he knows what it’s like to land athletes coveted by powerhouse programs. He has coached nine NFL players. His Texas and Florida ties will come in handy for Gill’s pursuit of speedier players.
The football season has ended. The basketball team is idle. The women’s basketball team is out of town. And this is a huge weekend for the outlook of KU sports. Slow players don’t win football games. Fast guys do. A lot of speedy athletes are checking out KU’s facilities and eyeing instant playing time.