It was a rough weekend for Kansas University’s football program, which lost an assistant coach to TCU and then watched a couple of its top remaining recruiting targets commit elsewhere.
Just days after learning that linebackers coach DeMontie Cross was leaving to take the same job with the Horned Frogs, a pair of highly sought offensive linemen said no to the Jayhawks and yes to other BCS-conference programs.
Honolulu offensive lineman Reeve Koehler, a four-star guard from St. Louis High who was at or near the top of KU’s remaining wish list in the Class of 2013, committed to Arkansas over the weekend.
Koehler, who took an official visit to Arkansas this weekend, said last week that he would weigh his options after returning home from the visit. Arkansas and Kansas were his finalists, but evidently Koehler saw enough from new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema and the rest of the program on his visit to commit orally while on the trip.
Koehler, 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, told Danny West of HawgSports.com that there were multiple things about the visit that he liked. One of the biggest factors was the team’s bond.
“The highlight of the visit probably was seeing how tight the players are,” Koehler told West. “I like that kind of brotherhood. I knew this was the place I wanted to be.”
Not long after learning of Koehler’s decision, the Jayhawks also lost out on another offensive lineman when College of DuPage tackle Matt Finnin, a three-star prospect who had listed KU among his five finalists, orally committed to Nebraska.
The 6-8, 330-pound juco standout told Mike Matya of HuskerOnline.com he was wowed by his visit with the Cornhuskers and did not see any reason to wait.
“I loved everything about it,” Finnin told Matya. “I don’t see myself playing anywhere else next year.”
KU coach Charlie Weis still has two spots remaining in the Class of 2013, which can include up to 27 players because two of the midyear transfers can be counted backward to last year’s class. Eleven of the 25 commitments in the class officially signed with KU in December. Many of them — mostly junior-college transfers — are in town already and will begin their lives as Jayhawks on Tuesday when the spring semester begins.
In addition, those players will be eligible to participate in spring practice, which begins March 5 and wraps with the annual spring game on April 13.
National signing day for the rest of the class is set for Feb. 6, which gives Weis and company a few more weeks to fill the remaining spots should they choose to do so. Weis has said consistently since taking over at KU that he would not sign guys simply to bring in bodies, so the possibility exists that the class is complete as is. There are a few uncommitted targets still out there, but Koehler and Finnin certainly were at the top of KU’s wish list.