The University of Kansas football program does not exactly light the world on fire when attracting elite recruits nationwide to the college town know primarily for its historic basketball program. You will never see them at the top of Rivals’ Big 12 recruiting rankings, and rarely will they grab a spot in the nation’s Top 25. But despite little to offer and fellow Big 12 recruiting behemoths down south, Mark Mangino and the Jayhawks were able to construct a BCS bowl winning team in 2007-08.
The stars of that Orange Bowl squad were little known prep players such as Todd Reesing, Marcus Henry, Brandon McAnderson, and Aqib Talib, all of whom received no more than 3-star ratings from Rivals. Due to that group and their teammates’ respective cohesive units, upper tier recruits across Big 12 country began taking notice, and many were successfully inked by the KU coaching staff.
With a new influx of talent arriving in Lawrence this summer to begin what appears to be a long but optimistic rebuilding process, a group of relatively unknown Jayhawks must lay the groundwork for Coach Charlie Weis in order to return as a household name in high schools across the country. While Turner Gill saw no on-field success in his short-lived stint in Lawrence, he did show impressive recruiting promise as he garnered commitments from a handful of excellent prospects. Due to their second coaching change in less than three years, the long-term commitments from prep players did not appear imminent during the most recent recruiting period.
Charlie Weis might attract a few elite players solely because of name recognition, and immediate success with veteran transfers and upperclassmen might be enough to remain on the radar of youngsters. But the following little known players must compliment those veterans and prove the Jayhawks can produce sustainable success. Please note: Definition of immediate success is 1-2 conference wins and less than a half dozen 40-point blowouts.