If you remember the Nebraska Cornhuskers teams during the Tom Osborne era, you remember a team built around a strong running game that started with the offensive line.
Fast forward to today and a former Husker turned Jayhawk, Turner Gill appears headed down the same path. Early returns on the Gill era were mixed, recruiting seemed steady but lacked the type of excitement some expected. That excitement has nearly boiled over in the last week.
Starting last Friday Gill and the Jayhawks landed two commitments on the offensive line including a mountain of a prospect from California in Bryan Peters. Peters chose Kansas over Florida State and was joined on the same day by a junior college prospect Nick Johnson.
The next domino would fall on Monday when the Jayhawks snagged another commitment, this time from Arlington, Texas, offensive lineman Damon Martin. With three prospects in four days, why stop? Kansas secured it's fifth offensive line commitment and their fourth in five days when Luke Luhrsen of Wheaton, Ill., selected the Jayhawks over Louisville.
The addition of the four, to an already committed Travis Bodenstein out of Springdale, Ark., gives Gill and his staff the early makings of a solid foundation up front. The group averages 6-foot-4 1/2 and 286 pounds. They represent four states in Illinois, Texas, California and Arkansas showing a further commitment by Gill and his staff to expand the Kansas recruiting footprint.
On the subject of the staff, a team approach to recruiting appears to be paying dividends. Aaron Stamn, Chuck Long and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes all played a role to different degrees in selling these players on Kansas along with Gill. Grimes often stepped in being the future position coach and he has quickly made a name for himself due to the early impact on the Kansas class.
Building from the inside out. It's a philosophy some coaches take and a belief that the Kansas coaches seem to have subscribed to early on. It's no secret that the offensive line was a priority headed into the 2011 class for Gill, before the calendar hits the month of July Gill appears very close to wrapping things up.
Speculation is that there is room for one more. Phil Ford, a local Kansas City recruit out of Bishop Miege will be on campus for a visit Thursday. Ford's stock is rising and he holds offers from Minnesota and Kansas early. Ford might have the opportunity to cap off an incredible week for Kansas in terms of recruiting and be the final piece of the offensive line in Gill's first recruiting class. There could also be another prospect who sees the window closing and jumps at a chance to be a part of this group as well.
Either way, the momentum on the recruiting front has definitely taken a swing toward the positive at Kansas. Eleven total players in a class that will likely wrap up in the 22-24 range. Last year at this time, Kansas had just two commitments. When Gill was introduced at Kansas he stated that he would set out to recruit, that early talk is turning into proof through action.