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Archive for Wednesday, February 1, 2012

National Signing Day kicks off Weis era at KU

February 1, 2012

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National Signing Day has arrived, and even though the Kansas University football program spent most of December transitioning from former coach Turner Gill to new coach Charlie Weis, the Jayhawks appear to have landed a recruiting class that will help them in 2012.

Because of the timing of the coaching change, KU’s Class of 2012 may not be complete. Weis said in mid-January that he would save a few spots for potential spring transfers, and he has maintained all along that he would not fill spots just for the sake of having bodies.

When looking at the 15 players expected to sign their national letters of intent with Kansas throughout the morning, it’s clear that Weis was able to achieve the kind of balance he believed would help all areas of the roster. The list, which is made up of 12 three-star prospects, three two-star players and one with no rating, includes eight high school players and seven junior-college transfers. In addition, eight of the 15 are offensive players and the other seven come from the defensive side of the ball.

For a live look at the signings as they come in, along with whatever breaking news may pop up throughout the day, log on to KUSports.com to check out the “Tale of the Tait” Signing Day blog.

Here is a closer look at those players expected to sign with KU today:

Greg Allen - Cornerback, 5-foot-11, 190 pounds

Allen, who hails from Alief Taylor High in Houston, is a three-star prospect who previously was committed to Utah. During his senior season, Allen was the class 18-5A Defensive Player of the Year, and he is planning to run track this spring. His events include the 100, 200 and 400 sprints, along with the 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400 relays. D-Line coach Buddy Wyatt was the lead recruiter for Allen, and he was hosted by red-shirt freshman Ben Goodman.

Courtney Arnick - Linebacker, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds

Arnick, a three-star player with great speed, hails from Dallas’ Carter High (home of Jeremiah Hatch), where he was a first team all-district selection last season. He chose KU over offers from Boise State, Houston and Memphis, among others, and he visited all three in the past week. His decision to choose Kansas came down to the positive vibe he got from KU’s coaches, players and facilities.

Turner Baty - Quarterback, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds

During his one season at City College of San Francisco, Baty threw for 3,149 yards and 42 touchdowns while completing 64 percent of his passes and helping lead CCSF to a juco national championship. He calls himself a pro-style quarterback but takes pride in the fact that he’s mobile enough to make plays outside of the pocket if needed. A three-star prospect with 4.7-second 40-yard dash speed, Baty chose KU largely because of the opportunity to play for Weis. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Brian Beckmann - Offensive Lineman, 6-foot-6, 280 pounds

One of the few local players in KU’s Class of 2012, Beckmann, who hails from Blue Valley West High in Overland Park, originally committed to KU last summer and decided to stick with the Jayhawks after meeting the new coaching staff. The three-star tackle also had an offer from Kansas State. Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell was the lead recruiter for Beckmann and he helped the lineman, a lifelong KU fan, remain committed during KU’s coaching transition.

Charles Brooks - Tight End, 6-foot-5, 245 pounds

Brooks is a three-star tight end who comes to Kansas from Scottsdale Community College in Arizona as one of the top five junior college tight ends available. He chose KU over offers from Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, New Mexico and Savannah State. Although he emerged as an offensive threat during his time at Scottsdale CC, Brooks spent most of his life playing basketball and is still adjusting to his new sport.

Sean Connolly - Offensive Lineman, 6-foot-7, 290 pounds

Dubbed by many as “a late bloomer,” Connolly is a two-star offensive tackle from St. Edward High in Lakewood, Ohio, who backed out of his commitment to Marshall to join the Jayhawks. The lineman, whose teammate and fellow tackle, Kyle Kalis, is headed to Michigan as a five-star prospect, spent the 2011 season playing left tackle. Connolly also had offers from Akron and Marshall and made a solid connection with KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard during his recent visit.

Taylor Cox - Running Back, 5-foot-11, 205 pounds

Cox, who hails from College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., was one of Weis’ earliest commitments at KU. An All-American selection following the 2011 season, Cox ran for 1,507 yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 games this season. Originally from Mill Creek, Wash., Cox owns the school record for rushing yards in a game (326), rushing yards in a career (2,744) and touchdowns in a career (31). Wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello was the lead man in the recruitment of Cox.

Josh Ford - Wide Receiver, 6-foot-4, 195 pounds

Long, tall and fast, Ford finished the 2011 season at Arizona Western with 845 yards and 10 touchdowns on 58 receptions. The wide receiver who figures to have a chance to earn immediate playing time has been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Originally from Washington D.C., the three-star prospect knew and competed against KU hoops star Thomas Robinson during their prep days. Ford chose KU over Bowling Green, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee State and Utah State.

Tyler Holmes - Defensive Tackle, 6-foot-3, 286 pounds

The lone high school defensive lineman in this year’s class, Holmes comes to KU from Sachse High near Garland, Texas. A three-star prospect who has put on 16 pounds since the end of his high school season, Holmes said he could play inside or out and prides himself on his ability to rush the passer off the edge. He chose KU over offers from Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Memphis, North Texas, Sam Houston State and Western Kentucky.

Ty McKinney - Defensive Tackle, 6-foot-3, 310 pounds

McKinney, who played the past two seasons at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, committed to KU after Turner Gill was fired and before Weis was hired. He developed a strong relationship with Buddy Wyatt, who coached the defensive line under Gill and will have the same job in 2012, and said he would not have come to Kansas if Wyatt had left. This three-star D-tackle chose KU over Arkansas State, Houston and UTEP.

Tre Parmalee - Wide Receiver, 5-foot-10, 160 pounds

Ranked as the fifth best receiver in Kansas, the Bishop Miege High standout, who played for new KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard in high school, originally was committed to Northern Illinois, but quickly changed his mind after Weis landed at Kansas. He is the son of former NFL player Bernie Parmalee, who now coaches tight ends for the Kansas City Chiefs. As a senior at Miege, Parmalee won the Otis Taylor Award as the top receiver in Kansas City and was a first-team, all-state selection while also earning all-EKL honors. He also won the MVP award last summer at Ohio State’s camp.

Jordan Smith - Tight End, 6-foot-3, 240 pounds

Smith, from Reicher High in Waco, Texas, is another player who originally committed to the previous coaching staff and decided to stick with KU after meeting and talking to Weis and the new staff. A dynamic athlete, who lists Dallas Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten as the player he patterns his game after, the three-star prospect is a true tight end who likes every aspect of the position. He chose KU over offers from Air Force, Cincinnati and UTEP.

Keon Stowers - Defensive Tackle, 6-foot-3, 273 pounds

Stowers, from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga., originally was supposed to start his college career at Butler County CC but chose to go to Georgia Military to play with a longtime friend. Stowers chose Kansas over Iowa State, Louisville, South Alabama and Troy. Like Baty, Stowers will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Jordan Tavai - Defensive Tackle, 6-foot-3, 280 pounds

One of the most recent commitments, Tavai comes to Kansas from El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif. The three-star prospect, who was named a juco All-American following the 2011 season, chose Kansas over Texas Tech and Washington State. He said KU’s impressive coaching staff made the difference.

Tyree Williams - Cornerback, 6-foot, 190 pounds

Kansas got in on Williams’ recruitment late, but showed him enough to make him commit to the Jayhawks last weekend. Rated as a two-star “athlete” but expected to play cornerback at KU, Williams comes to Lawrence from Dulles High in Sugar Land, Texas, where he also stars as a basketball and baseball player. He chose KU over SMU.

Others to keep an eye on

The following list is made up of players who have not yet committed to any school but are believed to have KU in their final few:

• V’Angelo Bentley - 5-10, 178-pound, three-star cornerback from Glenville Academic Campus in Cleveland.

• Carlos Lozano - 6-8, 360-pound, three-star offensive lineman from East Los Angeles College.

• Schyler Miles - 6-2, 220-pound, three-star linebacker from Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla.

• Nas Moore - 6-0, 190-pound cornerback with no rating from East Los Angeles College.

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