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LJWorld.com weblogs Tale of the Tait

There's more than meets the eye to recruiting rankings; take a look

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Signing Day 2011 is now just six days away, and if you look at the Big 12’s team rankings page on Rivals.com’s web site for the Class of 2011, you’ll notice a couple of things right off the bat.

Being KU fans, you’ll probably see that Kansas’ current recruiting class is ranked sixth in the conference, which actually puts the Jayhawks fifth since Nebraska, which is in fourth, won’t be in the conference next year.

You’ll also probably notice that the rankings are broken down in a couple of different ways. First, you see the total number of commitments. For KU, at least as of this morning, that number was 26. In the next three columns, you’ll see five-star commitments (none for Kansas), four-star commitments (two for Kansas) and three-star commitments (21 for Kansas). The final column you’ll see winds up being the average of all of that school’s recruits. In this case, the average for KU is 2.96, which means that, on the whole, KU’s Class of 2011 is a three-star class.

Here’s the catch. We all know that four-star guys don’t always play like four-star guys and two-star guys occasionally turn into studs. The other thing that makes ranking classes so difficult is the fact that these sites and rankings rarely take into account the needs of each particular team.

Here’s an example. His name is Kyle Crofoot and, according to Rivals.com, he’s a no-star guy. That’s not to say he’s no good. It’s just that based on who’s recruiting him and the position he plays, there’s not enough info or film to give him any stars.

But the special teams star from Orlando is on KU’s radar and, if he decides to come to Kansas, he could play a bigger role on next year’s team than any recruit they’ve already landed.

Here’s why. Crofoot, all 6-4, 240 pounds of him, is one of the best long-snappers in the country. He’s so good that Auburn is inviting him to walk on and, after a visit to Kansas this weekend, he’s scheduled to check out Florida next week. For those who may have forgotten, Auburn won the national title this past season and Florida, well, they’ve won two titles in the past few years.

The beautiful thing about Crofoot’s trip to Kansas is the fact that there’s an actual scholarship offer attached to it. Because of the crazy success KU coach Turner Gill and Co. have had in the past couple of weeks with landing some late and talented commitments, there’s not a lot of scholarships left for the Jayhawks to hand out. Offering one to Crofoot shows how important the position is. Jayhawk fans who watched with horror last year as KU had three punts blocked, also know all too well.

This is not a knock on last year’s long snapper, Justin Carnes. Like so many of his teammates, Carnes, just a red-shirt freshman in 2010, was young, inexperienced and not quite accustomed to what it took to succeed at the college level. Like most do, Carnes undoubtedly will get better and will be a solid option for the Jayhawks if he’s needed.

If Crofoot, whose three older brothers played in the SEC, decides to take KU up on its offer to pay for his schooling, he’ll have a great chance to step right in and hold down the long-snapping duties for the next four years. Many outlets have him ranked in the top three in the nation among long snappers, and, special teams or not, when you get a guy ranked in the top three in the country to come to your school, you play him.

This thing is far from a done deal. Crofoot first has to visit, meet the coaches and players and then decide if coming to the rebuilding project at Kansas is worth passing on proven SEC powers and perennial national-title contenders.

Who knows? For him, it might be. One thing we do know, though, is even if Crofoot picks Kansas, his addition won’t make near the impact on KU’s recruiting rankings as it will to the product on the field.

Here’s a couple more stories on Crofoot, for those wanting to read more:

This feature is from Chris Hays at the Orlando Sentinel.

And this update comes from Jon Kirby of Rivals.com.

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