On Wednesday Kansas football recruits put pen to paper and Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks were able to announce their 2012 recruiting class. At the end of the day the Kansas class didn’t draw a lot of attention on paper. Perhaps the biggest splash came in the form of several high profile transfers that don’t really count toward the class when pundits are ranking the group. But when we look back and evaluate what Weis and his staff have done to improve this team in their first offeason, we might tell a different story down the line.
Kansas leaned heavily on the junior college circuit bringing in eight different players that Weis anticipates will compete for time immediately. The Jayhawks addressed glaring holes on the defensive line and completely revamped the quarterback position in the process. It was a strategy that Weis took with the goal of trying to win games now. Kansas isn’t talking two years, three years or five years and while Weis can’t put an exact number on it, his goal is pretty simple.
I think you have an ethical responsibility. Dayne (Crist) didn’t come in here and say, ‘Hey, let’s go 2-10 again.’ That’s not why he came here. I don’t know how many games we’re going to win. I’m not going to make that mistake of making projections, but I do know without a doubt you have an ethical responsibility to your older guys first and (you have to) do all you can to win as many games as you can.
That philosophy is a refreshing glance at how Weis has further taken a page from the Bill Snyder book and tried to apply it to Kansas. Snyder has long been known for effectively using the junior college circuit to infuse his program with talent and take teams to a level beyond expectations. While some might not want this to be the long term template, it’s certainly a good place to start.
What’s more interesting is that it might be just that, a start. During his press conference Weis talked about the individuals in this class. He pointed to certain glaring holes that were addresses, but also mentioned that some were not. The good news for Kansas fans is that he indicated a few extra players will still join the program.
“In the not too distant future, we have some additional reinforcements that we already have agreements with that they will be coming. Really, I cannot give their names at this point because they are still at colleges and at other institutions and will be graduating in May. There are multiple guys that fall into that category as well, so as you are trying to do the math, you have to understand that several of those holes have already been filled, just with names of guys that I can’t give you at this time.”
Long story short, Weis has more players like Dayne Crist who are planning to take advantage of the transfer rule that allows players who have graduated to go and complete their eligibility at another institution without sitting out a year as per the normal transfer guidelines. This is a low risk, high reward approach that brings in upperclassman who are looking for an opportunity and if things don’t work out it doesn’t effect recruiting numbers beyond that one year.
The approach is something that Weis says he will always be open to, but it’s probably a unique situation this year in terms of the number that we might see. Overall you can grade a class, evaluate it and break it down, but it’s sometimes hard to measure the impact until you see the product on the field. Weis is making some major culture type changes in the Kansas program and that probably makes his class and the Kansas situation even more difficult to judge. At the end of the day, the one good thing you can say RIGHT NOW is that people are talking Kansas football in February and that hasn’t always been the case.