Fire up the fax machines, cue the message board maniacs and make way for a new crew of Jayhawks.
It’s national signing day across the country, a college football holiday of sorts when athletes make commitments official by signing national letters of intent.
Today is the culmination of a year’s worth of effort for the Kansas University football program and marks the beginning of the recruits’ self-dubbed “Dream Team” era.
Although 10 of the 25 commitments in KU’s 2013 recruiting class signed with the program during the mid-year signing period in December, the remaining players are expected to do so today. And most of them plan on doing it early. Some members of KU’s new class from the East Coast expect to get things going well before the lights come on in Lawrence — as early as 7 a.m. EST.
The Jayhawks received a bit of a scare Tuesday, when juco All-American defensive back Kevin Short, of Fort Scott Community College, announced on Twitter that he would be signing with New Mexico.
A few hours later, Short, who committed to KU in December, recommitted to KU via Twitter and also told the Journal-World that he was “for sure going to sign with KU” after talking to KU coach Charlie Weis and assistant coach Clint Bowen about his role.
The three-star prospect originally chose the Jayhawks over offers from Arkansas, Houston, Louisiana Tech and Syracuse.
Nothing will be final until the Jayhawks receive his letter of intent, but, Short or no Short, KU’s incoming class, which is ranked in the Top 40 nationally by most recruiting services, still brings with it plenty of excitement.
In addition to already landing a pair of four-star defensive linemen in Marquel Combs and Chris Martin, today’s haul is expected to bring help at several key positions. The Jayhawks plan to welcome hard-hitting, high-motor linebackers Marcus Jenkins-Moore and Samson Faifili; safety Isaiah Johnson, who remained committed to Kansas despite some late pushes from other BCS-conference programs; defensive end Andrew Bolton, who had several SEC offers; Garden City C.C. wide receiver Rodriguez Coleman, who gives KU good size (6-3, 195) at a thin position; and a trio of local prospects in quarterbacks Montell Cozart (Bishop Miege) and Jordan Darling (SM East) and tight end Ben Johnson (Basehor-Linwood).
Here’s a quick look at the athletes expected to sign with the Jayhawks throughout the day (star rankings according to Rivals.com):
- Kellen Ash (3 stars): 6-3, 194-pound linebacker from Parkway South High in Missouri. A three-star prospect, who committed to KU last April.
- Joey Bloomfield (3 stars): 6-6, 305-pound offensive tackle from Ballard High in Louisville, Ky., who chose KU over offers from Air Force, Colorado, Houston, Kansas State, San Diego State and Wyoming.
- Andrew Bolton (3 stars): 6-3, 280-pound defensive end from Hinds C.C. in Raymond, Miss. Clocked at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, Bolton also had offers from Iowa, LSU and Mississippi State.
- Rodriguez Coleman (3 stars): 6-3, 195-pound wide receiver from Garden City C.C., who chose KU over Cincinnati and led the Jayhawk Conference with 64 receptions and 973 yards last season.
- Montell Cozart (3 stars): 6-2, 180-pound quarterback from Bishop Miege High in Kansas City. Played high school football under current KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard.
- Jordan Darling (3 stars): 6-4, 226-pound quarterback from Shawnee Mission East High in Kansas City. Dominated summer camps and picked the Jayhawks over Kansas State.
- Samson Faifili (3 stars): 5-11, 240-pound linebacker from American River C.C. in Sacramento, Calif., committed to Kansas in mid-November, choosing KU over Hawaii, Iowa State, Nevada and Oregon State.
- Colton Goeas (3 stars): 6-2, 245-pound linebacker from St. Louis High in Honolulu,. High school teammate of former KU target Reeve Koehler (offensive lineman who chose Arkansas) who packs a punch and plays a physical style. Chose Kansas over offers from Hawaii, Tennessee, UCLA and Washington State.
- Ishmael Hyman (3 stars): 6-foot, 169-pound wide receiver from St. John Vianney High in Holmdel, N.J. Lightning-quick playmaker who earned MVP honors at the Chesapeake Bowl in December chose KU over offers from Boston College, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse and others.
- Marcus Jenkins-Moore (3 stars): 6-3, 210-pound linebacker from Pierce C.C. in Woodland Hills, Calif., who describes his game as “relentless” and chose KU over offers from a dozen other BCS-conference schools including K-State, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
- Ben Johnson (3 stars): 6-5, 230-pound tight end from Basehor-Linwood High near Kansas City, Kan., was one of the first players in the class to commit.
- Isaiah Johnson (3 stars): 6-1, 210-pound safety from Iowa Western C.C. Helped lead IWCC to a juco national title while leading the team with eight interceptions. Was named an NJCAA honorable mention All-American.
- Kevin Short (3 stars): 6-2, 185-pound cornerback from Fort Scott C.C. Earned first-team NJCAA All-American honors last season and chose Kansas over multiple offers from BCS programs. Tuesday flirtations with New Mexico appeared to be much ado about nothing.
- Colin Spencer (3 stars): 5-10, 179-pound athlete from Woodrow Wilson High in Dallas. Played cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback in high school. Graduate early and is on campus for spring football.
- Mark Thomas (2 stars): 6-2, 210-pound wide receiver from Nassau C.C. in New York. Solid, physical wideout chose KU over UConn and Marshall.
In addition, the following players are mid-year transfers who signed their letters of intent in December. Many of them already are on campus and are planning to participate in spring drills in March. A few were delayed for academic reasons and likely will join the Jayhawks in June with the group that signs today.
- Marquel Combs (4 stars): 6-5, 305-pound defensive tackle from Pierce Community College in Woodland Hills, Calif. This four-star impact player had 50 offers and chose Kansas over Kansas State.
- Zach Fondal (2 stars): 6-5, 295-pound offensive tackle from Navarro Junior College in California. Canceled trips to Arkansas and Texas Tech and committed to KU.
- Ngalu Fusimalohi (3 stars): 6-3, 300-pound offensive guard from City College of San Francisco. Known as a mauler, Fusimalohi’s offer list closely resembled Faifili’s.
- Tedarian Johnson (3 stars): 6-3, 285-pound defensive tackle and juco teammate of Bolton. Chose Kansas over offers from Iowa State, Memphis, Mississippi State and Texas Tech.
- Chris Martin (4 stars): 6-5, 260-pound defensive end who played one season at Florida while Weis was the offensive coordinator, chose Kansas after spending the 2012 season at City College of San Francisco. Former five-star prospect also had offers from Houston, Nebraska, San Diego State and Washington State.
- Dexter McDonald (3 stars): 6-2, 203-pound cornerback and former KU player who recommitted to the Jayhawks this fall after spending the year at Butler County C.C.
- Ty McKinney (3 stars): 6-3, 310-pound defensive tackle from Trinity Valley C.C. In Athens, Texas, originally was supposed to join the Jayhawks in the Class of 2012 but ran into academic snags which delayed his arrival by a year. Chose KU over Arkansas State, Houston and UTEP and committed before Weis was hired.
- Trevor Pardula (2 stars): 6-5, 210-pound punter and kickoff specialist who picked the Jayhawks over hometown San Jose State.
- Cassius Sendish (3 stars): 6-2, 185-pound cornerback from Arizona Western C.C. A natural leader and hard hitter who chose KU over Big 12 schools Iowa State and K-State, among others.
- Mike Smithburg (3 stars): 6-3, 300-pound offensive lineman from Iowa Western C.C. Versatile lineman with experience as both a guard and a center, picked KU over Illinois and will participate in spring football.