When Charlie Weis was hired as the head coach of the Kansas University football team earlier this month, he came to town with a big name and the promise of bringing big-time quarterbacks to Lawrence.
With the first part already well in hand, Weis delivered on the second part of that equation on Thursday, when former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist announced, via Twitter, that he was joining the Jayhawks for his final season of college football.
“After a long & difficult decision making process, I’m incredibly excited to join the Kansas football team,” Crist’s Tweet read. “Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”
Crist, who will be eligible to play next season because he’s a recent graduate of Notre Dame, played three seasons and made 10 starts for the Fighting Irish from 2008-11. He was recruited to Notre Dame by Weis and first came to Lawrence the day after Weis was introduced at Kansas.
Since then he has visited Delaware and Wisconsin and ultimately picked the Jayhawks over Wisconsin.
The announcement late Wednesday that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst will be hired as the new head coach at Pittsburgh, may have played a role in Crist’s decision and the timing of his announcement.
As a high school senior in Canoga Park, Calif., Crist earned a five-star rating from Rivals.com and was ranked as the No. 2 quarterback prospect in the nation. His career at Notre Dame did not bring similar success. Two knee injuries cost him the better part of two seasons, and, after being named the starter for 2011, he was benched during the opening game of the season and appeared in just three games the rest of the way.
Now, Crist, who has the look and feel of an NFL quarterback, is determined to prove he still can play and will do so under one of the best QB tutors in football who has abundant connections to the NFL.
During his time at Notre Dame, Crist completed a shade over 58 percent of his passes for 2,327 yards, with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. During the 10 games in which he lined up as the starter, Notre Dame was 4-6.
His best season, both statistically and in terms of impact, came during 2010, when he started nine games and threw for 2,033 yards and 15 TDs.
Although nothing has been confirmed, rumors of two-year starter Jordan Webb transferring have run wild during the past couple of weeks. Should Webb decide to leave Kansas, Crist would be by far the most experienced quarterback on KU's roster heading into 2012.
Beyond Crist, and without Webb, QB-turned-wide-receiver, Kale Pick, would be the only other player on the Kansas roster to have started at game at quarterback.
While landing Crist is a huge pick-up for Weis and the Jayhawks, the program hardly seems content to stop there. KU remains in pursuit of BYU transfer Jake Heaps and also continues to target quarterbacks in the high school Class of 2012.
For more on Crist, stay logged on to KUSports.com throughout the day.