Kansas Head Football Coach Charlie Weis Holds Signing Day Press Conference

Feb. 1, 2012

Below is a transcript of Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis’ press conference for Signing Day on Wednesday:

Opening Statement:
“Thank you all for coming, obviously Signing Day has become bigger and bigger and it is amazing how this recruiting has evolved over the years. I can remember when I was in high school no one was recruited junior year, sophomore or freshman year. Once you got to your senior year, schools were interested and when your football season was over, you went and visited up to five schools, picked one and that was it. Now, recruiting has become a much more complex puzzle than it has been previously. Obviously when I came here I thought it was necessary to take a totally different tact than how I have done this in the past. As you come and analyze your own team to start off with, you see where the holes are rather gaping. Then, what you have to decide in a rather short time-frame is how you can best fill those holes, so that you are not waiting two, three, four years down the road. Therefore the mixture we will be talking about is of high school and junior college guys and transfers. I think that once you identify what your problems are, then you have to decide how we are going to go about solving them. It is never perfect and you never get everything that you want, but I think we filled several of our declared needs. Obviously you are always looking for more and more players, but I think right now you also have to factor in the No. 85, which is the total number of guys that you can have on scholarship on your roster. In addition, you have to factor in the greatest number of guys that you can have on your roster at any one time.”

“Because of last year’s class, we can actually count a couple of guys backwards, meaning we can count them on last year’s class. Three guys we brought in mid-year, it did not make any difference which two, we could count two of them backwards. Then leaning forwards, the maximum number you would have been able to sign would be in this year’s class would have been a total of 27. That is only if you had enough roster spots to equal only 85, so with the number 20 we are at today on paper, we are well on our way to being very tight with our numbers, knowing that 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.”

On the breakdown of his new players:
“So I think it is best at this point to kind of give you an overview of where we are with the young men that we have going on board. Since I have gotten here, we have through the end of today added 20 new players. Nine of them are in high school, eight of them are junior college guys and another three are transfer students. We are bringing six guys out of Texas and three guys out of California as well as a couple from Kansas and a couple more from Missouri. We have two out of Washington, one from Florida and another from Georgia as well as one out of Georgia, one out of Maryland and another from South Carolina. That is the layout from across the country where the players are coming from.”

“We are bringing in eleven players on offense and nine on defense. A further breakdown is that we are bringing in three quarterbacks, one running back, two offensive linemen, three wide receivers and two tight ends. In addition on defense, we are bringing in four defensive lineman, two linebackers and three defensive backs. Now there are a couple young men who will not sign today, who we are actively involved in as their final two as they are going back-and-forth about which way they want to go, so there are a still some people that would fill a couple of these voids unrelated to those fifth-year guys that I have mentioned previously.”

“In addition to what states these guys are from, we also try to identify the metropolitan areas they come from as well. For example, I am going to talk about Nasir Moore a little bit later, who is really from Atlanta as well as Courtney Arnick, Tyler Holmes and Ty McKinney who are all from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I am going to talk about Greg Allen and Ty’ree Williams, who are both from the Houston area and I am going to talk about Justin McKay, Tre Parmalee and Brian Beckman who are all from the Kansas City area. Dayne Crist and Jordan Tavai are from the L.A. area, and Turner Baty is from the San Francisco area. Taylor Cox and Jake Heaps are from the Seattle area and Charles Brooks is out of St. Louis. Schyler Miles is from Tampa and Josh Ford is out of D.C. So you can see that we are pretty spread into a number of different areas. I obviously believe that you have to have a foundation in recruiting, where people live within a drivable distance to your campus. I truly believe that is where recruiting really starts because your family has to be able to get up in the morning on a game day and get in the car and get to the game. That is where it all starts because everyone wants their families to be able to come and see them play. When you get a junior college kid, all bets are off on that situation because now their whole mentality changes. They have already gone through those first couple years and now when they are picking a place, they are doing so because of totally different reasons than some kid who is still matriculating from high school.”

On quarterback Dayne Crist:
“Dayne is out of Notre Dame High School (in Canoga Park, Calif.), he played for Coach Kevin Rooney. It has been well documented that he played four years at Notre Dame and transferred here, he is one of those fifth-year players. He graduated in December, and that is why he is able to be here right now. He is involved in our program right now, and I’m happy to have him here.”

On quarterback Jake Heaps:
“Jake is someone who transferred from BYU, he went to Skyline High School in the Seattle area, he played for Matt Taylor. I remember watching him in high school the night before we played the University of Washington (when I coached at Notre Dame). He is going to have to sit for a year and then he will have two years of eligibility left. I think he will be an invaluable resource for us; he will get a lot of work in the springtime, but when the regular season comes around, his reps will turn more mental than physical.”

On wide receiver Justin McCay:
“Justin is a local guy from Bishop Miege High School; he obviously played for coach (Tim Grunhard) in high school. He just transferred back from Oklahoma; everyone knows about his transfer situation. As of right now, he would have to sit for a year, and have two years of eligibility. Because he redshirted for a year, and if he were to win his letter of compliance with the NCAA, that would allow him to have three years of eligibility. That is the only status that I can give at this time.”

On defensive back Greg Allen:
“We were really happy to be able to get Greg; he played at Taylor High School with Coach J.D. Jordan. He is a nice, physical corner with a lot of athleticism, he has a track and field background and I have seen him run. As we got the tape, I was able to get (Defensive Coordinator Dave) Campo and he was very impressed with Greg Allen. We got him on a visit to campus, and I believe when we get someone to come to campus, we have as good of a shot to sign him as anyone else in the country.”

On linebacker Courtney Arnick:
“When we watched him out of Carter High School, a lot of people were concerned with his size. We play in the Big 12, and in this conference, the game is going to be played in space. You need to get athletes out there who can make plays: I’m not one of the coaches who wants this guy to weigh 250. I want to recruit speed, I want some guys who can run, and this is one of those guys. This guy has played aggressively, he made tackles all over the field and we really see a huge upside with him. He was ranked seventh in his class, so this is a smart guy on top of everything else.”

On quarterback Turner Baty:
“As you have seen the developments from our past quarterbacks, everyone can see that there was still a glaring hole at that position. The glaring hole was based on the fact that Jake (Heaps) has to sit for a year; that’s no disrespect to (sophomore quarterback Michael) Cummings or anyone else, that is just saying that you better have someone else in the program who can take a snap at quarterback. We found one of the more unique opportunities with Turner Baty since he went to junior college and he actually has four years of eligibility left.”

On offensive lineman Brian Beckmann:
“This is one of our local products out of Blue Valley West High School. Brian Beckman probably would have been one of the most recruited players in the country coming into this year, but he got hurt and wasn’t able to play this year. He missed his entire senior year, and he is doing great now with the injury. He was rated as one of the top prospects in the state going into his senior year. He kind of fell into our laps by the fact that he was injured. He was a close guy with KU blood in him, and that made things a little easier for us to be able to recruit him.”

On tight end Charles Brooks:
“I like to throw the ball and involve the tight ends in our offense, and I’m glad to have a guy who can attack all three levels of coverage. When I watched Charles Brooks, it didn’t take me too long to figure out that this was one of the guys who can do exactly that. He played at (Scottsdale Community College) and he is from St. Louis, Mo., who didn’t start playing football until his senior year of high school. His best football is way ahead of him and I always look for parallels, like guys who have played basketball who also play tight end. I’m fired up about Charles, and I’m glad to have him here.”

On offensive lineman Sean Connolly:
“Sean Connolly is another late addition to our program and (Quarterbacks Coach Ron Powlus) was very familiar with Sean from his days at Akron University. I like big bodies to work with; I like to be able to develop them and I believe his best football is ahead of him. He bodes well for our future, especially at that position.”

On running back Taylor Cox:
“Taylor is a stud of a running back and I like everything about him. He is 5-11 and about 210 pounds, he is very tough, he can run inside and outside, he can pick up the blitz. He is everything you look for in a running back. Watching tape for 10 minutes, it is pretty easy to see why we recruited him.”

On wide receiver Josh Ford:
“Another guy that excited me a lot was Josh Ford. He is out at Arizona Western even though he is from the DC area. He is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guy that probably weighs even more than that now; a tall guy that runs fast and makes a ton of catches and has a lot of production. Just watching (Arizona Western’s) championship game, he had six catches for about 117 yards and a touchdown. He was also a member of one of the fastest 4×200 meter relay teams and he is obviously one who can run really well for a guy his height. He is a big target, the quarterbacks were really excited when they saw him on his visit and they weren’t alone.”

On defensive lineman Tyler Holmes:
“He is every bit of 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds and very muscular. I was able to spend some time with him and his high school coach, Coach Behrens, in Garland, Texas, and it was a nice experience for me. Tyler Holmes is very fit and a polished young man that carries himself well and everyone in the school loved him. When you watch him on tape you see that he plays very aggressive and he is definitely big enough at his position.”

On defensive lineman Ty McKinney:
“Ty McKinney is another guy I got to see while in Texas and one guy that we have been interested in for a while. McKinney was once a lot bigger than the 310 pounds he is at now and he had put himself on a strict diet in order to get himself in really good shape. He is a big body type that you can sometimes be missing. You can just put him in there and you don’t worry about him getting knocked off the ball because that is not going to happen. This guy is 310 pounds and he cut weight in order to be at that weight. I was really impressed and enjoyed my visit down to see McKinney.”

On linebacker Schyler Miles:
“Florida wanted him as a running back and I recruited him as a linebacker. He is a linebacker that in every game you watch, you put on the tape and he makes 20 tackles. I really like the kid and I like his family and his coach. I am really glad to get him out of Florida and have him join us.”

On defensive back Nasir Moore:
“He was tougher to evaluate because he was a receiver earlier in the year ended up flipping to defensive back because of his teams needs on defense. He changed positions without any substantial time to adjust and he ended up playing very well at defensive back. Nasir is a big guy that runs really well. On tape he was making play after play which very much intrigued me.”

On wide receiver Tre Parmalee:
“Tre Parmalee I have known since he was a kid; I coached his dad briefly when I was with the New York Jets. I hired his dad as my tight ends coach when I went to Notre Dame and he was on the staff when I coached for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was the Otis Taylor Award winner as the best wide receiver in the Kansas City area. Other people were talking to him about playing defense because of his size (5-foot-10 and 170 pounds); however his dad, Bernie Parmalee, played in the NFL for 11 years and was the same size as Tre in high school.”

On tight end Jordan Smith:
“You watch Jordan and you notice that he runs around good and then your surprised to see that he weighs 240 pounds. He is a very athletic tight end that makes a bunch of plays and the sky is the limit for him because he is already 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. I am really excited about having him and I think he will fit in nicely with our mix at tight end.”

On defensive lineman Keon Stowers:
“He is from Rock Hill, S.C., and he is one of the first guys that I got an opportunity to see. He is one of the players that we have been able to get to really help us out on the defensive line. We were able to go out and get guys like Keon with some size at 280 pounds. I was really happy to get Keon on board.”

On defensive lineman Jordan Tavai:
“There was a lot of competition that was trying to get Jordan Tavai even up until late last night. He is 6-foot-3 and closer to 290 pounds. He felt that Kansas was the best fit for him after he came on the visit. A perfect example of what I was talking about, once we can get recruits on campus they realize just how impressive Kansas is. A lot of people wanted Jordan and we were glad that he stayed true to us.”

On defensive back Ty’ree Williams:
“When I watched Ty’ree Williams, I liked watching him on tape, because I like watching really physical corners. He is a typical, physical corner; he is a guy who can play the Cover Two defense, a guy who can jam you at the line of scrimmage, he is a guy who has the versatility to play inside and out. It is critical to find guys who are physical enough who are able to hang in at this level.”

On if he felt rushed to get a class together:
“I think you always feel rushed. The one thing you lose out on, any time there’s a coaching change, you lose some players because you don’t have a pre-existing relationship. I’ve been a pretty solid recruiter for a bunch of years and a lot of these guys I’ve talked to forever. Schyler (Miles), for example, I’ve talked to him all year long, so Schyler is here. If I wouldn’t have talked to him all year long he would probably be at Florida, West Virginia or Notre Dame. I was a regular to talk to him all year long. Believe it or not, one of the determining factors when you go to places and everything kind of evens out; it really comes down to who you feel most comfortable with. So, when any new staff comes in you can’t play off existing relationships. That’s why you have to go after guys who are willing to go even though they haven’t known you for a long time.”

On how he would compare this first class to his first class at Notre Dame:
“Well, I wasn’t allowed to take junior college kids to start off with. So, we’re talking night and day. Remember, with me, I was in Super Bowl XXXIX, so it was tough. Let’s talk about the second class, which was a little more realistic, but I had a whole year to do that one. When my first class came around, I had two jobs and fortunately the one job didn’t finish ’til February 5.”

On if there are more immediate impact players in this class than a normal one:
“Yes, I think that is a very fair question. Earlier today I was talking with one of our administrators about junior college kids and I definitely think junior college kids are a positive means to an end. You’d like to think you have enough guys in your program that you are developing, so they had been in your program a few years and they are set and ready to go, but when you have drastic holes that need to be filled now, going after a junior college kid provides a very unique opportunity that I didn’t have at my disposal in the past.”

On when he found out Schyler Miles was coming to KU:
“I knew last Friday. I think that is a very good testament to both our place and to Schyler (Miles) that it never came out. When everyone else was worrying about where Schyler was going, we knew where Schyler was going and we knew that would be a positive one because of the competition you were going against to get him. I’m just happy to get him because I think the kid can play.”

On if that makes a statement by beating out schools like Florida and West Virginia:
“It tells you that if you have relationships with kids in any part of the country, regardless of who you are recruiting against, you can get him. That’s what it tells you.”

On where he stands on the multi-year scholarships compared to renewable scholarships:
“I think the fairest way to do this is put a kid coming in new on the long program with the condition that if you don’t do things the right way, you are gone like everybody else. Whether it’s a one-year scholarship or a four-year scholarship really isn’t the point, as long as you hold them to the same moral, ethical things that you would expect a kid to do. Usually that is null and void anyway because you never get rid of kids because they aren’t good enough. If you make a recruiting mistake, you make a recruiting mistake. It’s not their fault.”

On if he anticipated having as many transfers in the class as he did:
“(It) depends on which transfers you are talking about. If you are talking about the fifth-year transfers, I’m going to be open to that every year and I’m going to tell you why. You have very little risk. They are only one-year counters, so like right now if I told you my number for next year it would be in the mid-teens, at this point where we stand. If no one was off the team and everything just stayed in place and you’re in the mid-teens, well you would say, ‘You’re going to be in a bind next year.’ But, that’s not the way it’s going to hold out. For every one of these fifth-years I bring in, they’re also going out. So, they don’t cost me a potential recruit because you have a guy who has some experience coming to play without affecting your numbers in recruiting at all.”

On if he is expecting to win this year:
“Don’t you think you have an ethical responsibility to the older players to shoot for that as a goal? 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. I mean, you do to the administration, the chancellor, the fans and to everyone. We have three senior offensive linemen going into this year. Why would we say, ‘Hey fellas, we’re going to throw in the towel for this year.’ You have to put them in a position to have a good experience walking out the door.”

On the glaring holes he felt needed to be filled:
“For example, when you bring in multiple defensive linemen, obviously you think there is a hole at the position. When you bring in three quarterbacks in one year, you obviously believe there is a major problem at that position. The first thing you have to do is identify what they are. You can’t fill everything. There are other holes that we haven’t filled yet. Some of them we might be able to fill down the road here, but some of them we might not be able to fill ’til next year. You can’t fill all of them, but you better identify the ones you need the most because if not, you have no chance. I feel confident that this was a very good start. There are plenty of holes yet to be filled, but we made a good start.”