Tale of the Tait
4:12 p.m. Update:
Just heard back from Kevin Short, who informed me — in all caps — that he was "GOING TO KU FOR SURE."
Short said he simply felt uneasy about what he was being brought in to do and wanted to talk with Charlie Weis and Clint Bowen about his role.
No harm, no foul, I guess.
I'd like to thank Kevin for getting me sharp before tomorrow's big day. I'm ready.
See you all in the morning.
3:38 p.m. Update:
In light of the whole Manti Te'o fiasco, it's certainly worth noting that it's hard to trust anything that doesn't come from the horse's mouth, so that's why it seems like a smart move to say that KU may still have a shot at Short.
The latest post to his Twitter account backed that thought:
just got off the Phone with the head man Weis we talked about the situation 2marr i will make it known #RockChalk shawty
That's all we know for today. I'm still trying to reach Kevin, but, either way, it's all about tomorrow and the letter and the fax. We'll know then.
I don't think KU's out of this yet.
On the eve of national signing day, the Kansas University football program learned that Fort Scott Community College cornerback Kevin Short, a first-team All-American last season, has switched his commitment to New Mexico.
At around 2 p.m. today, Short posted on Twitter the following message: "I will be signing my NLI to the University of NewMexico i appreciate the long hard support from everybody but I have to do what I have t ..."
There is very little information out there at this point about why Short changed his mind but the possibilities seem to range from everything to academic concerns to a simple change of heart.
As of last Friday, the 6-2, 185-pound cornerback told me that he had been under a lot of pressure but that he was still planning to sign with KU.
I checked in with defensive tackle Marquel Combs, the unofficial leader of KU's "Dream Team 2013" movement to see if he had heard anything from Short today and Combs told me that Short had not been texting him back.
Efforts to reach Short myself, so far, have also proven unsuccessful.
We'll see how this whole thing develops, but it looks, for now, like KU has lost a pretty solid target and that the number of players expected to sign tomorrow has dropped from 15 to 14. If that holds, KU would have three spots remaining in the Class of 2013, should it choose to fill them.
Stay in touch with KUSports.com today for more on Short if anything becomes available and, as always, wake up with us bright and early tomorrow for my annual signing day blog that tracks the progress of KU's commitments all morning.
With national signing day now less than 24 hours away, all kinds of stories about signing days past make their way to the forefront of people's minds.
From famous tales about fax machine fiascos to power classes and last-minute shockers, the stories are always a favorite of mine, even if I've heard many of them before.
Although most (maybe all) of them had nothing to do with KU, they're still interesting reads for die-hard football fans who can't get enough gridiron action in the offseason.
With that in mind, here are a few quick links to some of the more entertaining flashbacks as well as a couple of interesting stories about the cost of recruiting and how rankings tend to pan out.
Enjoy, and make sure you're back here bright and early Wednesday for this year's edition of our live signing day blog. I'll be up and at 'em with the earliest signees and will be tracking the fun all morning as I wait to head up to KU coach Charlie Weis' signing day press conference at 1 p.m.
KU's current class, which includes 25 commitments — 10 of which already have signed — figures to be pretty straight forward. I've talked to most of the guys and they all seem to be planning to sign as early as possible on Wednesday. The coaching staff still has two spots remaining so there's always a chance that an additional name or two could pop up tomorrow, but I'm not expecting that.
I think they'll be smart and hang on to those spots in case something surprising pops up elsewhere in the next couple of weeks. Always a good idea. And a smart bet, considering Weis said when he first got here that he would not sign guys just for the sake of adding bodies.
Here we go...
• National Signing Day's craziest stories from Athlon Sports:
• Alabama, which has a fan base that follows signing day like storm chasers follow the weather, actually put a live camera on its fax machine and, at times, has even tossed in a little spice, super model style:
• Top 10 recruiting battles of all-time from ESPN Insider:
• Here's another good read from SI.com, regarding the predictability of determining a team's success based on recruiting rankings:
• This is also pretty cool from ESPN, a look at how much each Div. I program spent on recruiting during the past two years. Kansas, which, according to the report, spent about $80,000 more on recruiting in 2011 than 2010 also was toward the top of the list nationally in terms of how much it spent:
Kansas University commitment Marcus Jenkins-Moore caused quite a stir late Wednesday afternoon, when he posted on both his Facebook page and his Twitter account that he had plans to take an official visit to Louisville.
Jenkins-Moore, one of the biggest KU supporters in the current recruiting class, hails from Louisville and the news spread quickly. Fans took to message boards and Twitter in search of answers, some going as far as to say their hearts dropped or that their days were ruined.
In the end, it all turned out to be much ado about nothing.
When reached by phone by the Journal-World, Jenkins-Moore said he was just “bored” and simply was “playin' around.”
Later, on the social media sites, he said he simply floated the fake message out there to see if KU fans would notice.
They did. And so did he.
Later, he returned to the popular sites to post the following soothing statements:
“I was just playin,” he wrote on Facebook. “It's Rock Chalk til the death of me!”
As for Twitter, the Pierce Community College linebacker was busy responding to numerous KU fans but also fit in the following: “Just playin around a lil bit! No worries #Kansas ! There's only gonna be one hat present in 7 days! Cracked a joke on my #KU family! Forgive me.”
Jenkins-Moore more is one of 15 players expected to sign national letters of intent next Wednesday, the first day of the regular football signing period.
Jenkins-Moore said he could not wait to make it official and that he had started a countdown for his arrival on campus.
As for his partner in crime, Pierce defensive tackle Marquel Combs, who was not believed to be in on the Twitter/Facebook prank, Jenkins-Moore said he thought Combs would be returning to Pierce for the spring semester to finish up classes that did not transfer and the two of them would report to Lawrence in June.
That was just his read on the situation, though, and by no means is official. Combs signed with KU in December and had planned to arrive on campus in time for the start of the spring semester but has not yet reported.
We'll keep an eye on that situation as well as Twitter, but don't expect any more jokes from Jenkins-Moore before next Wednesday.
Did you hear what Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis had to say about the whole Manti Te'o mess?
Well, in case you missed it, here are Weis' comments:
During the past couple of weeks, as the story about the Notre Dame linebacker and his relationship with a girlfriend who not only did not exist but also never actually died, spiraled into more strange territory by the minute, Weis has kept his name out of the circus.
It would've been real easy for the second-year KU coach to get involved. He knew Te'o well, recruited him to Notre Dame and developed a strong bond with his immediate family. With the Te'o story landing in places such as Good Morning America, CNN, and, of course, every sports blog and web site on the planet, Weis' name and perhaps even his current employer would have been plastered all over the place for days, perhaps even weeks, as the story grew into one of the most unreal, unbelievable and, frankly, uncomfortable stories in recent memory.
But rather than capitalize on the chance to jump back into the limelight for a while, Weis passed. At least publicly.
I've talked to more than one person with knowledge of the fact that Te'o has reached out to Weis for advice multiple times during the past couple of weeks.
To Weis' credit, he has taken and returned Te'o's calls and done everything he can to help the young man navigate his way through a tough situation. Even more to his credit, Weis hasn't called a press conference to tell the whole world about it.
Weis handled things the same way during the 2012 season when Notre Dame, and a roster that included several players Weis recruited, raced to an undefeated season and a berth in the national championship game. Weis did release a statement saying how happy he was for those players and the school, but did not take it further than that, despite the fact that he received dozens of requests for interviews on a weekly basis throughout various parts of the season.
I can only imagine who has asked and how many times they've called to get Weis' take on the Te'o fiasco.
After the initial flurry, I asked KU officials if Weis would be making any comments on the situation and was told that he would not because he wanted to be respectful of the fact that this is about Te'o and not about him.
It's refreshing to see a coach who is willing to lie low in today's world where coaches so often — too often? — jump at the chance to put a microphone in front of their face to gain visibility for their program and feed their own egos.
It would've been easy for Weis to do that, especially right now during this crucial time in recruiting. But he didn't. And I don't expect he ever will.
During the past couple of weeks, I've been approached by dozens of people who have asked me why I haven't written much lately about conference realignment, or at least what's left of this latest round.
The reason is simple: Nothing's happening.
Now when I say nothing, I mean nothing of any substance. Sure Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 officials are constantly keeping one eye glued to the realignment landscape and, as any wise person knows, all of these groups (and more) are developing ever-evolving contingency plans, you know, just in case.
The Big 12 Conference is no different, which makes perfect sense considering the conference's stance is no different today than it was two weeks ago or two weeks before that or two months before that.
The league is happy with 10. It likes the round-robin scheduling set-up and enjoys watching the cash register ring and ding a little longer and louder when it's time to dish out money to its members.
Could this change? You bet. Could it change sometime soon? Sure. Has it changed at any level or in any way yet? Nope.
As anyone reading this update probably already knows, the one thing standing in the way of national conference stability and another mudslide is the Big Ten and it's intentions regarding the ACC. If the Big Ten moves to poach a couple more teams from the ACC — say, in this case, North Carolina and Georgia Tech — that almost certainly will trigger a response from the SEC and the Big 12. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know there, but it is worth noting because I feel strongly that it's the only way (at least right now) that more movement occurs.
Remember, at one point, when the Big 12 looked vulnerable and appeared to be falling apart, even those teams in the league that were on the outside looking in were working their butts off to line up a soft landing. I've been told that if the ball starts rolling, several ACC schools in that same position would do the same thing, perhaps even more aggressively. If that were to become the case and movement did happen, you could probably kiss the ACC goodbye. No hail mary. No last-minute save by league commissioner John Swofford. Just a bunch of new divisions and new rivalries and odd travel.
So if we all know that already, what's the point of this specific post? I guess it's to remind you — or perhaps caution you — that just because someone (even a very powerful someone) comes out and says something regarding realignment that does not mean anything's actually new.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby's statements last week in Dallas about the league were interesting and certainly served as good conversation starters, but they weren't really anything new.
Here’s the complete recap from CBSsports.com's Dennis Dodd, who does a good job of looking at this thing from all sides. But for those of you not interested in sifting through the whole story, here's a quick look at the key quotes.
1.“We could be proactive, I think,” Bowlsby said.
2.“We continue to watch the landscape,” Bowlsby said. “Until we're persuaded that larger is better we feel pretty good about right where we are.”
3.“That's exactly one of the questions we'll be asking ourselves,” Bowlsby said.
What do all of those quotes have in common? Easy. They all continue to speak of a conference that's happy with its current set-up but wise enough (this time around) to not get caught off guard if something were to happen.
In the past few weeks, rumors have run wild about the Big 12 being in line to add four ACC schools and it just being a matter of which ones the league wants. There also has been more talk about KU and the Big Ten — I can tell you that no conversations have taken place on that front — and, of course, there continues to be discussion about the Big 12 being vulnerable and the Grant of Rights agreement not being as strong as many conference officials suggest.
The rumors will always be there. And a few of them will even be fun to read. Who doesn't like the idea of traveling to Miami or Tallahassee, Fl., in the middle of the Kansas winter?
The Big 12 athletic directors are scheduled to meet Jan. 28-29 in Dallas and what is to take place at those meetings varies depending upon whom you're talking to. Some in the league say realignment will be the top item on the agenda and that they believe it's time for the league to get serious about a plan to expand. Others, including multiple league sources whom I spoke with this week, say realignment will likely be kicked around — as it always is — but that issues such as scheduling, future championships and other financial matters will garner just as much attention.
Without being in the meetings and without those meetings taking place yet, it's hard to know exactly what will or even should happen. Perhaps we'll know more when they're behind us. Or perhaps it will be more of the same, with the Big 12 sitting pretty at 10 and the rest of the world around it debating whether the league should expand to 12, 14 or 16.
Either way, it looks as if the Big 12 has options. And, in this game, that's a good thing.
I'll leave you with a new installment of the sacred percentage wheel, which, based on my conversations with people around the league, gauges (at this point) how likely the Big 12 is to move to expand in the next several months:
- Big 12 stays at 10 - 64%
- Big 12 adds 2 - 18%
- Big 12 adds 4 - 14%
- Big 12 adds 6 - 3%
- Others poach Big 12 - 1%
Here's a look at a few other articles that might be of interest, at least to those of you who, like me, find all of this equal parts fascinating, maddening and twisted. Enjoy!
This report from The Washington Post brings us up to speed on the legal activity involving Maryland and the ACC: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/terrapins-insider/wp/2013/01/18/maryland-attorney-general-moves-to-dismiss-accs-lawsuit-against-maryland/
This update, from Orangebloods.com's Chip Brown, paints a picture of some more serious discussions at the AD's meetings next week: http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1463673
Here's another post on Bowlsby's comments from Dave Miller of the National Football Post, who says the Big 12 is on the clock: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/big-12-clock-conference-realignment-103000567--nfl.html
This report, from Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, explores the possibility that the Big Ten might not stop expanding until it reaches 18 teams: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-05/sports/ct-spt-0106-northwestern-football--20130106_1_brian-arnfelt-big-ten-nu-fans
Finally, here's a nice way to keep track of all of realignment's moving pieces, put together by collegesportsinfo.com. Take a look when you've found a comfortable setting and have got your mind right: http://collegesportsinfo.com/conference-realignment-grid/
The other day I came across a blog from ESPN.com's Big 12 football blogger, David Ubben, that was titled, ”The Big 12's most improved players of 2012.”
Naturally, my first thought was something along the lines of, “Huh, I wonder if any Jayhawks made the list.”
Now usually when that happens the answer is no and, when I read through whatever blog or article it is, I always find myself shaking my head as if to tell myself, of course not.
With this particular instance, the only guy who came to mind that I thought could be on the list was KU running back James Sims. After all, Sims, who had been solid during his first two seasons in town, took a major step forward in 2012 and became one of the best backs in the Big 12. In addition, I remembered that Ubben had put Sims on his first-team all-Big 12 squad so I knew there was a chance that the junior from Irving, Texas, would be on the list.
It turns out there was a Jayhawk on the list but it was not Sims. Evidently, Ubben had enough respect for Sims' game heading into the season that he did not see the need to include him on his list of most improved players.
So who made it? Another KU running back. Sophomore Tony Pierson, who made a big-time jump from serviceable player to serious weapon during his second season in Lawrence.
Here's what Ubben had to say about Pierson:
Tony Pierson, RB, Kansas: Pierson was a great complement to power back James Sims, and ranked 10th in the league with 760 yards on just 117 carries. While Sims was suspended to begin the season, he had a pair of 120-yard games and topped 200 yards against Texas Tech, but his yards per carry (6.5) gets him on this list. Among the 25 Big 12 backs with at least 75 carries this year, only Seastrunk had a higher yards-per-carry average.
Because of their poor record and a couple of lopsided losses, the Jayhawks don't always get respect from the national pundits, but I've always found Ubben to be a guy who looks beyond the obvious and really tries to identify the best of the best in the league he covers.
I think he nailed it here.
Here's a quick look at a couple other recent Ubben blogs, one that mentions KU and one that doesn't but is still interesting.
The first outlined his top Big 12 storylines of the offseason. A Kansas angle came in at No. 5 on the list.
5.Charlie Weis' juco revolution. Weis has made it clear that he wants quick fixes and to win now at KU. Will his juco recruiting haul do it? Defensive lineman Marquel Combs was the nation's No. 1 juco recruit, and Weis has done a heck of a job selling immediate playing time to these guys. The current recruiting class has 17 juco transfers among 25 commits. Will it pay off, and how will these guys look once they get on campus? Are wins just around the corner?
The second is a quick and interesting look at the number and type of reviews by Big 12 officials during the 2012 season.
Granted, there weren't very many replays — if any — that made much of an impact on KU games this year, but this is still interesting nonetheless. It gives you a real feel for how the conference's referees performed on the field.
With the second national signing day of the Charlie Weis era at Kansas University now just two weeks away, it seems like a good time to quickly go over some of the main things we've learned about Weis' recruiting strategy.
We all know that the second-year coach can walk in to any recruit's house, flash his Super Bowl rings and immediately wow everyone in the room. You might be surprised to learn, however, that he doesn't do that very often.
Weis' recruiting strategy is simple and it falls right in line with the way he runs his football program: Hit them with substance and style.
Based upon my conversations with several KU recruits and a few words from Weis himself, it sounds as if the KU coach is as brutally honest on the recruiting trail as he is with his Jayhawk players and he does not make empty promises just to entice prospects to sign with Kansas. During in-home visits he shows up in his best suits and allows the players and their families to ask him anything and everything they can think of.
It's not a strategy that works for everybody and it does not appeal to every player Weis targets. But, as we can see from a recruiting class that's ranked 37th nationally by Rivals.com and the continued and rising interest in the program, it seems to be working for KU.
Of course, there are several other factors at play here, though. And they are, in no particular order:
• The presence of Dave Campo as his defensive coordinator. During the chase for players in the Class of 2013 alone KU picked up some big-time prospects who passed on some pretty big schools, including a couple who call the SEC home. Campo was a big reason for that. And as long as he's in town, KU will continue to draw serious interest from some of the top defensive prospects they target.
• Forget about a hotbed for recruiting. Weis has proven that he and his coaching staff will go anywhere to get their guy. That's obvious from the multiple trips many of them took to Hawaii during the past couple of months. It may not have landed them the big kahuna they were looking for — offensive lineman Reeve Koehler, who chose Arkansas last weekend — but they were able to pick up a pretty nice, under-the-radar linebacker in Colton Goeas and also made some nice connections that can only help in the future.
• Speaking of the staff, most of the guys on Weis' crew have what it takes to bring in talent, but few of them have been as impressive early on as tight ends coach Jeff Blasko. Blasko (one of the guys who traveled to Hawaii) played a huge role in landing some big-time juco guys this offseason, including top-rated overall juco prospect Marquel Combs as well as offensive lineman Ngalu Fusimalohi, linebackers Marcus Jenkins-Moore, Samson Faifili and Colton Goeas and defensive back Cassius Sendish. All of those guys could — and probably should — be in KU's two-deep depth chart to open the 2013 season. Blasko's presence on the staff (along with Weis' quick decision to move Clint Bowen to linebackers coach) helped keep things calm when news broke that DeMontie Cross was leaving for TCU.
• Weis is not afraid to work. And travel. And miss out on sleep. And use whatever means available to recruit including modern-era tools such as Facebook and Twitter. With the recent rule changes (look for a story on that soon) opening up the door for unlimited contact between coaches and recruits, it bodes extremely well for KU's future classes that Weis is already comfortable going full speed ahead. Some coaches will have a tougher time with the adjustment.
• When all is said and done and the Jayhawks will have nearly 20 junior-college players in the 2013 class. That's a lot for any class and certainly as many as KU has had in a single haul, but it's not necessarily a sign of things to come. Although Weis has said that he would be more than willing to take junior-college transfers every year, he also said his ideal classes would include a blend of high school and juco talent, with the number of juco transfers tapering off each year as the program begins to develop younger talent more and more each year.
• While most of the aforementioned facts represent good news for KU, there remains one question surrounding Weis' recruiting that figures to take some time to answer but also is one that could go a long way toward determining how successful he will be at Kansas — How long until Weis and company are bringing in more four- and five-star players? Such players have never flocked to KU with much regularity, but with Weis and Campo being big-time draws, the number of big-time recruits could be on the rise if KU can return to its winning ways. This year's class features two four-star prospects (juco transfers Marquel Combs and Chris Martin), 20 three-star players and three two-star guys.
• Finally, Weis was asked toward the end of the 2012 season if he was concerned about the team's record hurting recruiting. As we all know by now, KU's current class is ranked in the Top 40 nationally and Weis' answer to the question illustrates why. “The best year I ever had recruiting in the past was after the worst season,” he said. “Because more guys see an opportunity to play earlier. They all want to play. Yeah, they all want to play.” A closer look at the rest of the Top 40, however, reveals that nearly all of the programs in that group are what many would consider traditional powers and certainly programs that have been mainstays in the Top 25 during the past several seasons. There are only a few programs in the Top 40 — KU (37th), Illinois (33rd), Rutgers (40th) and maybe one or two others — that many would consider to be “outsiders” on that list. KU's presence certainly speaks to the impact of Weis and Campo and the name recognition that both coaches bring to KU's recruiting efforts.
1:02 p.m. Update:
KU coach Charlie Weis moved fast in replacing TCU-bound linebackers DeMontie Cross, announcing Friday afternoon that current assistant coach Clint Bowen would slide into the role vacated by Cross.
Here's the official statement from KU:
---Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis announced Friday that special teams coordinator Clint Bowen will now coach the Jayhawk linebackers. Bowen, who had previously been working with the KU secondary where he coached safety Bradley McDougald to All-Big 12 honors, takes over the linebackers as DeMontie Cross left Kansas to pursue other opportunities.---
No time table has been given for filling the final spot on KU's staff, but it seems logical to assume that Weis will take his time and make sure that he gets the right fit. In many ways, with Bowen now giving stability to the linebacker position, the final spot on Weis' staff could be used as a wild card of sorts.
Say another top-notch receivers coach expresses interest or an elite recruiter wants to join the staff, KU could then get creative with its titles and make the new coach an assistant receivers coach or a cornerbacks coach. Basically, they can give whatever coach they want any title just to get him on board.
Such an option is made possible by the fact that defensive coordinator Dave Campo is so well versed at coaching the entire secondary.
Expect the final spot to be filled well before spring ball begins on March 5, but most likely not until after signing day — Feb. 6 — which typically marks the final wave of coaching movement during the college football year.
10:58 a.m. Update:
Kansas University linebackers coach DeMontie Cross is leaving the program to take a similar job at TCU, sources told the Journal-World on Friday morning.
Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.
During his one season with the Jayhawks, Cross oversaw a linebacking corps that featured two of the top players on the KU defense in sophomores Ben Heeney and Jake Love. Heeney led the Jayhawks — and finished third in the Big 12 rankings — in tackles, with 112, and Love finished eighth on the team, with 36 stops, despite starting just four games. Junior linebacker Huldon Tharp also finished in KU's top five with 55 tackles.
No word or timeline has been given about a possible replacement for Cross, but one likely candidate is current KU assistant coach and special teams coordinator Clint Bowen. Bowen, a former KU defensive coordinator who coached KU's safeties last season, has experience coaching linebackers and already knows the roster and the rest of the coaching staff.
Replacing Bowen in the secondary would be an easier task considering the presence of defensive coordinator Dave Campo, who coached the KU cornerbacks in 2012 and was a longtime secondary coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
Original post, 10:23 a.m.:
Well, it looks like last week's blog about it being a relatively quiet offseason for the KU football program may have been a little premature.
Reports out of Fort Worth, Texas, are indicating that KU linebackers coach DeMontie Cross may be hired by TCU for the same position.
Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Sam Houston State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.
Still trying to nail down confirmation on this, one way or the other, so stay tuned.
If the report, which cites two unnamed sources, is true, it will be interesting to see where Weis looks for a replacement.
There are a couple of options inside the program that would make sense — most notably current special teams coordinator Clint Bowen, who has experience working with linebackers and would provide KU immediate stability at the position. In addition, with KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo in place, he could handle coaching the entire secondary as he did for years with the Dallas Cowboys and throughout last season.
Notre Dame alum Maurice Crum and former KU and NFL player Rod Jones also could be considered. Both have solid football knowledge and also have the luxury of knowing the roster and the rest of the coaching staff already.
As we've seen, Weis also is capable of going anywhere to pull in coaches and he could consider someone from another school or perhaps even the NFL ranks.
It definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out. I always was very impressed by Cross, both in terms of his ability to coach kids up and his dedication to what Weis was trying to accomplish here.
Turnover rarely is a good thing for a coaching staff, but losing Cross, though disappointing, would not be the end of the world for the KU defense.
We'll see what happens.
During the 13 months that I’ve covered him, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has proven himself to be 100 percent honest. It’s one of his most solid characteristics and one of the things on which he prides himself.
Another is his ability to read people, build relationships and have an impact on the lives of hundreds of young men throughout the past few decades.
That’s what makes today’s Deadspin story about the tale of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s girlfriend being a hoax seem like such an unbelievable thing.
Although Weis has talked very little about Notre Dame since taking over at Kansas in December of 2011, he has answered questions when asked and talked, both publicly and privately, about how much he values his relationship with Te’o and his family.
Weis certainly had nothing to do with any of this, but I can only imagine how much hearing this news hurts him emotionally, given the strong bond he has with the Te'o family, and how much it will really hurt him if it turns out to be true.
No one knows what to think right now but this much we do know: Deadspin’s report was wonderfully done and, if accurate, brings shame to the entire Te’o family.
Here's the official statement from Notre Dame released just moments ago:
Notre Dame Statement: Manti Te’o
On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.
Dennis Brown University Spokesman | Assistant Vice President
Statement from Manti Te'o:
"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.
"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.
"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.
"I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.
"In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.
"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."
In 2009, fans of Kansas University football watched the unfolding of a witch hunt that quickly turned into the departure of one coach and the search for another.
A year later, a good chunk of the offseason was spent trying to explain what happened under first-year coach Turner Gill while assessing where the program was headed at the same time. That also marked the beginning of the Brock Berglund fiasco, which garnered more ink and lasted way longer than a player who never suited up for a single game ever should have received.
And then there the 2011 season, when KU said goodbye to another head coach and began yet another coaching search.
So what’s the point of rehashing the obvious and somewhat painful past? It’s been a while since the offseason was this quiet around the KU football program. Kind of nice, isn’t it?
Sure, we’ve seen a wild and crazy run of recruiting, and, with the current state of KU football that’s pretty loud news, but it pales in comparison to the kind of noise that’s been made in the past few offseasons around here.
Such stability is imperative to building anything of substance and, with second-year coach Charlie Weis and company determined to make KU a winner again, it’s nice to see that the coaching staff and the administration are dedicated to the cause.
That’s not the case everywhere. Just this week we learned about Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young leaving the Cowboys’ program. If you remember the name, it’s because Young was KU’s D-Coordinator from 2002-07. And he’s a good one. He won’t be out of work for long, but the mere fact that he’s no longer wanted by OSU comes as a little bit of a surprise.
Wait, it gets better. Or is it bigger?
Midway during the week, news broke that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had engaged in talks with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who have a head coaching opening and are looking at all levels to fill it. If the man who just led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season and a trip to the national championship game (however ugly it was) is looking around, KU should be awfully thankful that its program and those associated with it have both feet firmly planted on the ground.
The news about Young and Kelly is just the latest example of program unrest in college football, something that’s becoming almost as interesting and certainly as relevant as the bowl games themselves each offseason.
Prior to that, coaching vacancies — a few big ones even — popped up everywhere you looked and that led to a reshuffling of coaching staffs and athletic departments throughout the country. Some programs are built to handle it and barely notice when offseason turmoil arrives. Others can be derailed entirely and spend years trying to recover.
For those who respond better to charts, standings and numbers, here’s a quick ranking of the top KU football stories this offseason:
- Class of 2013 recruiting
- Seniors preparing for April draft
- Memorial Stadium renovation
- Former players shine in NFL
- Conference realignment
There has not been so much as a peep about coaching turnover or major program changes. That bodes well for the Jayhawks.