10 Takeaways from Kansas Football’s Signing Class
Wednesday marked the new era of Kansas football, as head coach Lance Leipold and the Kansas Jayhawks welcomed eight new members of the KU family. The signing class was the first under Leipold at KU.
“This is an exciting day for young men and a chance for them to fulfill their dreams. Something they have worked extremely hard for. Obviously not a large signing class here, but we’re confident they will fit well into our program,” Lance Leipold said.
Take a look as we breakdown some of the top takeaways from the 2022 Kansas football signing class.
1. Quarterbacks are in Good Hands
When building the 2022 recruiting one, thing became clear for Leipold and his staff – the Jayhawks didn’t need a transfer at quarterback. With Jalon Daniels and Jason Bean already on the roster, Leipold and the Jayhawks recruited and signed high school signal-caller Ethan Vasko, who will develop under the leadership of quarterback coach Jim Zebrowski and Daniels and Bean.
“We’re pleased with the older quarterbacks that are here,” Leipold said. “The play by Jalon Daniels late in the season was very inspiring and we saw flashes of what Jason Bean can do as well. Again, we’re highly encouraged and inspired by our play late in the year and what we can do with those guys and that’s where we want to be.”
2. Seven Incoming Freshmen
The Jayhawks had 68 first or second-year players on their roster in 2021 making them the youngest Power 5 team in the nation. With that as the case, Leipold and his staff have an eye on the transfer portal this recruiting class and have added just seven high schoolers so far this class. Leipold and the Jayhawks will add more to the class in January and February.
“This is a different way to college football than when I stood of front of you on May 3,” Leipold said to the media, referring to the day of his introductory press conference. “It has vastly changed. We have to adapt in many different ways with it.”
3. Class Makeup
Leipold pointed out during his press conference Wednesday that some of the scholarships designated for the 2022 recruiting class actually went to members of the 2021 class, who have already made an impact on the field, including transfers Mike Novitsky, Rich Miller, Michael Ford, Bean and others.
“Part of this class are some guys you saw this fall because of some of the numbers we had to use. Mike Novitsky is a pretty good member of this class. Rich Miller is a good addition to this class. Trevor Wilson, Michael Ford. This class has already paid some dividends to the program with Jason Bean, Ron McGee and Eddie Wilson and others.”
4. Focus Set on the Future
One thing that served as a positive for Leipold and the Jayhawks during this recent recruiting window was the program’s late-season success. Kansas won at Texas in overtime, before two close losses to TCU and West Virginia. With that momentum, the Jayhawks are solely focused on the future and continuing to build the program.
“Our main focus has to be that we make our football team better,” Leipold said. “Better for the short term. Better for the long term. What I mean by that is we have to create more situations of internal competition each and every day to get everyone to their highest potential. We want to get ourselves in the best position moving forward, and we believe we are well on our way to doing that.
5. Coaches and Fans are Excited
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s Signing Day is the excitement regarding the future of the program and the future Jayhawks joining the team.
The assistant coaches were in touch with the signees on Wednesday as the excitement was flowing inside the hallways of Anderson Family Football Complex.
6. Six Different States
Of Kansas’ eight announced additions on Wednesday, the Jayhawks hail from six different states, including Kansas (Mason Ellis, Kael Farkes, Grant Glasgow), Texas (Joey Baker), James Livingston (Michigan), Tevita Noa (Utah), Missouri (Kaleb Purdy) and Virginia (Ethan Vasko).
Compared to last year’s roster, Kansas welcomes its first representatives from Utah (Noa) and Virginia (Vasko), while Texas was the most represented state on the Jayhawks’ roster a season ago.
7. Eager to Get to Work
After signing their NLI’s, several of the newest Jayhawks recorded video messages to share with the fanbase. The common theme amongst them was their eagerness to get to Lawrence and get to work in the Crimson & Blue.
“What’s up Jayhawk Nation! It’s official. I’m excited to represent that Crimson & Blue! Rock Chalk!” – Tevita Noa
8. Sold on Substance
In Wednesday’s signing day press conference, Leipold was asked about the impact of the final three games of the season – where Kansas earned a 57-56 win at Texas, as well as hard fought losses to TCU and West Virginia – and whether it helped in recruiting.
Leipold reflected on the way his staff built relationships through “substance,” particularly genuineness, thoroughness and integrity, which helped in recruiting prospects who were looking to help build the culture at KU.
Leipold also talked about his recent recruiting visits to Texas, mentioning how many coaches had watched the games and praised how hard Kansas fought in those games. Leipold connected both situations to “substance” and how KU can help get players to be their best in college and beyond.
9. Bringing in Proven Winners
It’s easy to look at Kansas’ newest signees and understand what made them attractive recruits. They are proven winners.
Among the signees, they bring countless state championships, conference championships, winning seasons, school records and more. In fact, of the high school signees, they represent a combined 65-20 overall record during their senior seasons.
10. What’s Next
Following the Holiday break, the Jayhawks will return to Lawrence in mid-January for offseason conditioning, followed by the start of practices in the spring. The Jayhawks will have the opportunity to practice 15 times in the spring, preparing them for the 2022 season.
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