National signing day is two months away and the Kansas University football team has nearly half a class left to fill.
With that in mind, this seems to be a big weekend for KU coach Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks, who will welcome 15 prospects on their official visits to campus, according to a report from JayhawkSlant.com.
Included among the visitors are a handful of players who already have committed to the Jayhawks. So far, KU has landed 13 oral commitments in the Class of 2013 and Weis said they have room for a total of 27.
Kansas City-area quarterbacks Jordan Darling (SM East) and Montel Cozart (Bishop Miege) will be in town this weekend, as will Basehor-Linwood High tight end Ben Johnson and Dallas safety Colin Spencer.
While those four high school standouts already orally committed to KU, the rest of the group remains undecided. Judging by several comments that have shown up on Facebook and Twitter, this group will do its best to help the KU coaching staff land the others.
One of the biggest names — and bodies — expected to be in town this weekend is Josiah St. John, one of the top-rated junior-college offensive linemen in the country. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound St. John hails from Trinity Valley Community College (the same school as defensive tackle Ty McKinney) and has one of the most impressive offer lists of the entire group. Thirteen BCS programs have extended scholarship offers, including Big 12 schools Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and West Virginia. In addition, St. John has received offers from Arkansas, Texas A&M; and Washington.
Another notable name at a key position is Trevor Pardula, a 6-5, 210-pound kicker from De Anza (Calif.) College. KU assistants Tim Grunhard and Clint Bowen have tag-teamed Pardula’s recruitment and Rivals.com lists San Jose State as the 6-5, 210-pound December-graduate’s only other offer.
In all, 10 of the weekend’s 15 visitors are junior-college players, something right in line with what Weis has said would be his strategy this offseason.
“The more the merrier,” said Weis midway through the 2012 season when asked about adding junior-college prospects. “As long as kids care about education and come here with the intent to graduate and aren’t just coming here to make a one year stop to get to the NFL, as long as they want to come here and get a KU degree and help us win and are good citizens, bring them on.”
While Weis’ immediate emphasis may be on junior-college talent, he also has said throughout his first season that it’s important to bring in a balance of players who are ready to go now and players whom a coach can develop.
Of the five high school prospects coming to town this weekend, only Ishmael Hyman, a 6-foot, 169-pound wide receiver from St. John Vianney High in Holmdel, N.J. is uncommitted.
Regardless of how things pan out with the junior-college prospects, Weis seems intent on bringing in a bunch of new faces this offseason.
“I know one thing, we’ve got 27 spots, and there’s a good chance there’s going to be 27 people to fill those spots that we like,” he said. “There’s a good chance of it. It might be 26, but it’s going to be right there.”
Here’s a look at the other junior-college prospects expected to make visits to KU this weekend:
Lyndon Tulimasealii — 6-4, 270, defensive end, College of the Desert
Mike Smithburg — 6-3, 300, offensive lineman, Iowa Western C.C.
Kevin Short — 6-2, 185, cornerback, Ft. Scott C.C.
Damien Parris — 6-7, 295, offensive lineman, Contra Costa C.C.
Isaiah Johnson — 6-1, 210, safety, Iowa Western C.C.
Desmond Hollin — 6-4, 265, defensive end, ASA College
Trevor Harris — 6-5, 235, defensive end, ASA College
Matt Finnin — 6-8, 330, offensive lineman, College of DuPage