When Charlie Weis was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, the hire drew mixed reaction. Kansas fans almost have to be cautiously optimistic with as poorly as the last two years have gone, but elsewhere the hire drew some fairly negative reviews. Is Charlie Weis at Kansas for the right reasons? Can Weis win at the collegiate level? Why could he not succeed with all of Notre Dame's resources?
While there are still more questions than answers at this point, one thing does seem to be different in the early going at Kansas and that's recruiting. It all related a bit back to when Weis first addressed the media and Kansas fans he talked about the Jayhawks 2-10 record and compared it to the 10-2 record at Kansas State. Weis stated that his job would be to figure out why.
One thing that Bill Snyder has done exceptionally well at Kansas State is his ability to recruit and capitalize on junior college talent. That philosophy has long been a part of the Kansas State formula and year in and year out they find players to fill holes, address needs and in Snyder's most recent run it has allowed Kansas State to improve in a hurry.
That appears to be exactly what Charlie Weis has done in the early going. Between attrition, transfers and junior college talent, Weis looks like a coach who wants to take some chances and make a move to get better in a hurry. This stands in stark contrast with previous head coach Turner Gill's high school only approach. Weis has tapped every avenue possible in assembling a team that might look significantly different from the one the Jayhawks fielded a year ago.
Overall Kansas now holds commitments from three JuCo defensive tackles, one JuCo wideout, a JuCo tight end and a JuCo running back. Kansas has also hosted two recent visitors on the offensive line, two additional defensive lineman and have recently gotten involved in a quarterback all from the junior college level. Add that to 5th year transfer Dayne Crist, BYU transfer Jake Heaps and Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay and you have quite a shift in the Kansas roster.
It's a philosophy that Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger is familiar with from his time at Kansas State and a philosophy that Weis was unable to employ at Notre Dame due to their lofty academic requirements. What Weis is attempting to do at Kansas is take the pieces that they do have, like a Toben Opurum or a Duane Zlatnik and infuse some ready made talent to go alongside what is currently in the program to move things toward a successful end at a faster pace.
Now obviously nothing is guaranteed and Weis has plenty of detractors. But in the last month and a half Kansas has become known as a potential place for second chance opportunities, new beginnings if you will. Weis and the Jayhawks will have to prove it on the field before anyone starts declaring this shift a major breakthrough, but at least for the time being Kansas has a direction that seems focused on improving quickly and not settling.