The 2010 Kansas University football team may have gotten off to a rough start. But the Jayhawks’ 2-3, roller-coaster record has not had a negative impact on the local recruiting scene.
Two Kansas City-area offensive linemen from the Class of 2011 — Bishop Miege senior Phil Ford, 6-foot-6, 342 pounds, and Blue Valley West senior Dylan Admire, 6-4, 273, — told the Journal-World Wednesday that they remained as committed as ever to coach Turner Gill and the KU program.
“I’m 100 percent a Jayhawk forever,” Ford said. “Tell the whole town of Lawrence that, please.”
Added Admire: “Oh yeah, I’m 100 percent committed.”
Since pledging their services to KU this summer — Admire in late July and Ford a few weeks before him — the two have become good friends and have spent countless hours talking — and texting — about their love for the Jayhawks. Despite watching their future team fall to FCS foe North Dakota State in the season opener and get pounded at Baylor last weekend, the two linemen haven’t changed their outlook.
Credit Gill, his coaching staff and their approach to recruiting for that.
“I’m still committed there all the way with coach Gill,” Ford said. “When I first met him he was real nice and genuine and humble and he talked to me about how it might be a rough start but they’re going to get it going. I know they’ve had a few ups and downs, but the coaches said in the spring that since it’s a new offense and a new team it might take a little while.”
Although several people have chosen to focus on the lowlights from the 2010 season, Admire and Ford have kept their minds focused on the positives. While the solid play turned in by several younger Jayhawks — especially freshman running back James Sims — caught their eyes, the way they’ve been treated by everyone on campus has remained the biggest selling point for the two local linemen.
“I think they’ve played some really great football at times,” Admire said. “All the coaching staff and the players and the atmosphere are just great, win or lose. Obviously, winning’s always better, but the team’s made up of all real positive people, which I really like.”
One reason Admire and Ford have been able to stay positive during the Jayhawks’ rough start is that they’ve been going through similar situations with their own teams. Miege, which won the Class 4A state championship in 2009, won its first two games of the season, but since has lost three in a row. BV West, which will play host to Miege tonight for a homecoming contest, also has gotten off to a rocky start at 1-4.
“It was kind of frustrating at first, the way (KU) started out,” Ford said. “But it was kind of the same way our high school team started out. It was a little depressing, but we’re still in high spirits.”
Added Admire: “Wins and losses take care of themselves. All you can do is just keep getting better each week and looking at the things you did good and the things you did bad. That’s all that matters to me. No team’s perfect, anywhere you go. Especially in college. Any Saturday, anybody can win. You could be dead last or you could be No. 1 and some of the games have shown that this year.”
With the Jayhawks on their bye week, Gill had time to visit Bishop Miege and Blue Valley West — along with several other area high schools — last Monday. The NCAA rulebook prohibits KU’s first-year coach from talking with recruits in person at this point in the season, but his presence made a huge impact on Admire and Ford.
Admire, who plans to graduate early so he can report to KU on Jan. 15 and be eligible for spring practice next season, said his high school coach, Scott Wright, told him that Gill picked up a copy of his transcript and talked with Wright for two hours.
“I know they’re all really genuine and they really care and that’s why they all do all that stuff,” Admire said.
KU will return to the field Thursday, when it plays host to Kansas State at 6:30 p.m.
Texas DE plans November visit
Horace Arkadie, a 6-foot-4, 227-pound defensive end from Irving (Texas) High, told Rivals.com that he will visit Kansas on Nov. 5, when the Jayhawks play host to Colorado.
KU recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell recently attended one of Arkadie’s games — he had eight tackles, five quarterback hurries and a blocked field goal in that one — and special teams coordinator Aaron Stamn has been recruiting him since the spring.
Arkadie lists Kansas, Virginia and Arkansas as his top three schools, and he has visits planned for all three. He will travel to Virginia on Oct. 30 and to Arkansas on Nov. 26.
Gill courting Couch
KU coach Turner Gill was at Garden City Community College on Tuesday, visiting with the GCCC coaching staff about defensive tackle Maurice Couch.
Couch, 6-2, 295, has been on KU’s radar since the spring and is one of the most highly-recruited junior college players in the nation.
Couch told Rivals.com that Gill was the first Div. I head coach recruiting him to make the trek to Garden City.
“The (GCCC) coaches said that coach Gill really wants me at Kansas,” Couch told Rivals. “It feels good to know that the head coach is involved and showing that much interest in me. It shows me how much Kansas wants me there.”
Couch lists Kansas, USC and Tennessee as his top three schools and he will visit Southern Cal in November and Tennessee in December. He is expected to visit KU in January and, right now, it looks as if the Jayhawks are the leader.
“It’s right on the tip of my tongue that I want to say Kansas is where I am going,” Couch said. “But I have told myself I need to take a couple visits to other schools and make sure I make the right decision. For a school to beat out Kansas, they would have to do something special.”
Florida LB talks Jayhawks
Wonderful Terrific Monds II, a 6-3, 212-pound linebacker from Westwood High in Fort Pierce, Fla., recently told Rivals.com that he plans to make an official visit to Kansas during his team’s bye week in late November and that the Jayhawks were the leader for his services.
“Whenever we talk about recruiting places he keeps talking about KU,” cousin and head coach James Monds said. “He just talks about how he can’t wait to visit. He wants to see the campus and really talk with the guys on the team and make it feel like home. Kids want to know if they have a home away from home.”
Hensley close to return
Class of 2011 commitment Jason Hensley, a 6-2, 215-pound linebacker from Alma, Ark., was in Lawrence for the Jayhawks’ victory against New Mexico State and is getting closer to returning from a broken fibula that has kept him off the field for the first several games of the 2010 season.
“I’m doing non-contact drills right now,” Hensley told Rivals.com in late September. “Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks, I’ll be playing. It’s been too long since I last played, so I’m ready to return. I’m running and stuff like that, so I should be playing within the next few games. That’s definitely my goal.”
Peters will visit
Bryan Peters, a 6-5, 305-pound offensive lineman from La Mirada High in California, has scheduled an official visit to Kansas for Oct. 23, when the Jayhawks play host to Texas A&M.
Peters is one of six offensive lineman from the Class of 2011 who already has orally committed to KU.