Unfortunately for first-year Kansas head coach Charlie Weis, he has not been blessed with elite high school programs to visit in the state of Kansas. However, impressive junior college prospects that have made rival coach Bill Snyder a popular man are readily available for Weis and his coaching staff.
Jayhawk fans were spoiled with the unexpected success in 2007 and 2008 under Mark Mangino and lost any patience they developed during the post-Glen Mason era in Lawrence. Mangino rarely made trips west to lure the elite JUCO players and instead recruited the state of Texas harder than any KU coach in history.
Weis has made it clear his team will recruit anywhere and everywhere in an attempt to bring sustained success at KU, including attracting in-state JUCO players.
Numerous upperclassmen litter the Jayhawks' roster and their most heralded 2012 recruit was transfer QB Dayne Crist, who boasts a whopping one year of remaining eligibility.
Junior college players might present the risk of losing the attention of prep players looking for immediate playing time, but with a thin group of local prep stars to recruit, Weis may have no other choice.
It is no secret the Big 12 produces elite quarterbacks each year and impending 2013 inexperience in the Kansas secondary will require a better pass rush to avoid monster 2011-like efforts from opposing QBs.
Dodge City strong-side DE Marcus Hardison might be playing in Kansas but he has shown little interest in the Jayhawks, while commenting primarily on two schools down south: Texas and Texas A&M (Insider access required).
The Kansas prep ranks rarely produce elite defensive linemen and a quick fix in the way of the 6'4", 290-pound Hardison would immediately improve an inconsistent pass rush. He remains a long shot and any hope may land on developmental success in 2012 that Hardison observes with the current KU defensive line.
It is no secret Hardison has NFL potential if landing with the right program and coaching staff.
Seniors Tanner Hawkinson and Duane Zlatnik have been the only constants on the Kansas offense over the last three years, but both will be graduating in May. A few promising youngsters sit behind them on the depth chart in Pat Lewandowski and Damon Martin, but they are a far cry from the powerful blockers Weis needs to help his talented running backs find holes.
Kansas JUCOs have produced elite offensive linemen in years past, but an under-the-radar behemoth offensive tackle might bring immediate help to the left side of the line.
Chris Mayer, listed at 6'8" and 345 pounds, has not garnered big-time college offers and only occasionally shows flashes of dominance in the run game, but Weis may still offer the offensive tackle a chance to protect his QBs of the future in Jake Heaps and Jordan Darling.
Kansas fans are excited about BYU transfer and QB-in-waiting Jake Heaps, but who will he be targeting downfield in 2013?
The Jayhawks lose their top three wide receivers to graduation in May: Kale Pick, Daymond Patterson and D.J. Beshears. Another high-profile transfer, former Bishop Miege product Justin McCay will most likely become Heap's No. 1 WR next season, but there remains a host of inexperienced pass-catchers on the sideline.
Jared Dangerfield, also of Fort Scott C.C, chose the JUCO route at the last minute a couple seasons ago and still is not receiving the elite program offers that many expected for the Florida native. His interest in the Jayhawks remains low, a mutual feeling it appears, therefore another late-period commitment appears likely, assuming he does not jump on the recently received Baylor offer.
Depending upon the production of Chris Omigie, JaCorey Shepherd and true freshman Tre Parmelee in 2012, Charlie Weis may court Dangerfield to Lawrence with the temptation of immediate playing time.
Highly-touted defensive tackle Toby Johnson receives most of the recruiting visits to Hutchinson, but a lineman on the offensive side is quietly turning heads as well. Devonte Danzey, a prototypical guard who has impressed with his consistency and much-improved pass-blocking abilities, might find himself blocking for Tony Pierson and Co. in the near future.
Danzey was made an immediate priority by Weis and offensive line coach Tim Grunhard and it appears to be paying off, as Danzey has shown high interest (account required for full article) in the Jayhawks. He has announced an official visit will come this fall and may give KU an early-period commitment.
Toby Johnson is a highly-coveted defensive tackle at Hutchinson Community College with an array of offers from Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 teams.
With an abundance of uncertainty along the defensive line and no commits thus far in the 2013 class, JUCO or high school, Johnson's priority with the Jayhawks' coaching staff has become extremely clear. While there is hope for freshman Tyler Holmes and the upperclassman trio of Keba Agostinho, Jordan Tavai and John Williams, there has not been enough evidence to predict future firepower from the front seven.
Charlie Weis and defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt do not boast an impressive track record in developing defensive tackles like much of the SEC staffs do, but once again, immediate playing time is a tremendous selling point for the Jayhawks.