With the early signing period approaching on Dec. 19, new Kansas head football coach Les Miles has little time to waste in getting his 2019 recruiting class in shape.
The NCAA allows a maximum of 25 recruits per signing class, but Miles said during his introductory press conference that he hopes to add 15 guys in this upcoming class.
Miles also hasn’t yet announced his staff, so unless he has his assistants and coordinators in place (unofficially) and they don’t currently work for another college team (to avoid NCAA violations), then he must do the heavy lifting himself for the time being.
Or does he…
Jayden Russell – a 3-star safety (according to 247 Sports) out of nearby St. Thomas Aquinas – posted this picture on Wednesday of current Kansas RB coach Tony Hull stopping by for an in-home visit before his official visit to Kansas that’s scheduled for this weekend.
I had a great in home visit with @coachtonyhull today! Thank you for coming down! I’m excited for my official this weekend! 🔴🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/pmyg3DGUPX
— Jayden Russell 🏳 (@jayzaykc) November 29, 2018
It’s very unlikely that Hull would be out recruiting if he wasn’t going to be a part of Les Miles’ staff, so this is a great sign for the Jayhawks. Hull helped land star RB Pooka Williams Jr., S Mike Lee, and CB Corione Harris – all former big-time recruits out of Louisiana.
Having Hull could also be a big help in recruiting local Kansas kids – which Miles needs to prioritize. Miles has to find a way to keep some of the top talent in state, which David Beaty wasn’t able to do.
There are Kansas kids all over the 2018 All-Big 12 awards.
KS HS players named All Big 12 today
1st Tm: J.Dineen-KU (Free St), B.Powers-OU (Kapaun)
2nd Tm: A.Barnes-KSU (Pittsburg)
Hon Men: B.Torneden-KU (Free State), K.Ball-KSU (SME), B. Abbott -OSU (Liberal), A.Bledsoe-OU (Lawrence), M.Spears – ISU (O.North), T.Jenkins-OSU (Topeka)
— Sports in Kansas (@sportsinkansas) November 28, 2018
Russell is one of the top uncommitted prospects in the state and holds offers from KU, KSU, Boston College, Duke, and others. Hopes are high for Jayhawk fans that he will commit after his official visit this weekend.
Another top uncommitted prospect in the state happens to be the little brother of Kansas LBs Jay Dineen and Joe Dineen Jr. Jax Dineen plays right here in Lawrence at Lawrence Free State High School and is listed as 3-star FB who holds offers from KU, KSU, Army, Air Force, and a few other non-Power 5 conference schools.
The selling point for Jax should be easy: come play for your hometown team, for a proven head coach, and play alongside your older brother Jay for three years before he graduates.
This is also a chance for Miles to get introduced to players who may already be committed to other schools and try to change their minds before the early signing date.
Now it’s no guarantee that recruits will flip their commitments but what does KU have to lose? No recruits have signed yet and Kansas has only ONE commitment thus far. Les Miles’ name holds a lot of weight in recruiting circles and with his pedigree, recruits are at least going to hear him out.
For example, Clay Cundiff is a 3-star TE out of Wichita, KS and the 9th ranked player in Kansas who is committed to Wisconsin but was once committed to KU. Perhaps Les Miles could change his mind?
There’s also Easton Dean, a 3-star dual-threat QB who is committed to Iowa State.
Miles said in his opening press conference that he wants a QB who can run. So with Peyton “The Statue” Bender graduating – and Carter Stanley and Miles Kendrick’s spots on the depth chart unknown – Les Miles could pitch to Dean and other recruits that the starting QB spot is up for grabs.
Keenan Garber is a 3-star ATH who also plays with Jax Dineen at Lawrence Free State. He committed to K-State back in June, but with Miles on board maybe that will grab his attention enough to switch. Same goes for Cooper Beebe, a 3-star DT out of Kansas City, KS also committed to the wildcats.
Speaking of K-State, now is a good time to mention that things are wild right now in wildcat country. No one knows what Bill Snyder is going to do – if he’s staying, if he’s leaving, coaching until he dies, etc. This is an advantage for Miles in his recruiting to pitch to K-State commits.
Miles is guaranteed to be here for the next 4-5 years at a minimum. The same can’t be said for Bill Snyder. So with the uncertainty surrounding Snyder’s status, and Miles’ more accomplished coaching record, Kansas certainly has opportunity to gain some momentum on the local recruiting front.
Additionally, according to 247 Sports, 31 of the top 50 junior college players in Kansas are still up for grabs.
It would NOT be wise to load up on JUCO players like his predecessors, but if Miles can identify a couple that could help this team then he should go for it. Kansas has been a hotbed for JUCO football for years. One school was even the featured college in the popular Netflix series, “Last Chance U.”
It’s exciting times for Jayhawk fans with a new coach, new staff, and hopefully new recruits coming on board. But as important as it is to bring in good recruits, don’t forget that 8 out of these 11 All-Big 12 honorees should be back in uniform for Kansas next year.
The future is bright! Rock Chalk!