Beaty Pleased with 2016 Jayhawk Recruiting Class
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head football coach David Beaty and his staff added 20 new faces to their 2016 recruiting class including 17 high school seniors.
Transcript of today’s press conference:
HEAD COACH DAVID BEATY: Listen, thanks for coming today. Really appreciate everybody being here. Obviously an exciting day for people all over the country and for us as well.
We’re delighted to announce the addition of several new players to our roster today. It’s been a long time coming with regard to all the work that’s been put in by a number of different folks.
Before we get started with that, I want to take a second to wish good luck to several Jayhawks that are going to be taking part in Super Bowl 50 this weekend. We have two players that happen to be on the back of that wall, Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. I’m kind of partial to the Broncos right now, Coach (Klint) Kubiak, his dad (Gary Kubiak) is the coach there. I want to wish them luck as well. I’m excited for our Jayhawks, they represented us well.
Listen, like I said, there’s 20 new additions. We’re really excited about this class. Before we get into that, I just want to say thanks to a number of different people that are responsible for the work that went into making this happen.
Number one, our coaches. They worked their tails off from the time we got here last year, doing what they’ve done, developing relationships with these guys and their parents and families. I’ve kept them away from their families a lot. They have really done a nice job. I’m really proud of those guys. They really worked hard. They do not get enough credit for this type of stuff.
Tyler Olker, Catherine Carmichael, former volleyball great here, those two have been great for our program. They’ve really done wonders for what we’ve asked them to do.
Also a lot of travel people have been phenomenal. The pilots that man our plane, they have drug me from one end of the country to the other. They have just dealt with me, me changing my plans every second on the fly and they’ve been phenomenal keeping us safe even though we were doing some sideways slide-ins every now and then down there in California. It was fun.
All the different people in administration that have helped and supported us along the way because this thing is a team effort and it certainly cannot happen with just coaches. It has to do with the commitment of our administration. Thank you for that.
I want to just say how excited I am about this class. We continue to go and build this team the same way that we said we were going to build it when we got here last year. We said there’s a lot of things we had to address. We had to address our talent level. The better you get talent-wise, the better you get as a team. We control that by going out and finding the right guys.
A couple things we’re doing, we’re trying to improve that overall team profile where we actually match the league in terms of the way we look, in terms of the way we present ourselves from a height and weight standpoint and strength standpoint. In order to do that, you got to go out and recruit guys that fit that mold. We need to add length and speed. We talked about that last year. We started that with the class of 24 last year. We’ve certainly done the same thing here. There’s been an emphasis on strength and speed because this league is built on that.
We were looking for tough, athletic guys, guys that fit the Kansas way. We said that last year at this time. We echo the same thing. Things have not changed. The plan will remain the same. The goal is still in place. We’re excited about the future moving forward.
This is a great day for a lot of these kids and kids throughout the country. We’ve had some relationships with guys we’ve had for two or three years, even when we were at other places. Some of them today were parting ways. We will be their fans every week but one and we’ll see them after the game. That happens week-to-week. That’s why they call it recruiting, not signing. You got to go out there and finish the job. We were fortunate. We were able to close the deal relationship-wise with just about everybody we felt like fit the mold of what we were looking for. So that’s good.
Your signing day information sheet gives you a little bit more background on these guys. But today gives me a chance to give you a little bit more of a visual look at these guys for the first time.
We had a lot of needs coming into this class. We continue to address those needs even when we have some challenging issues with the numbers that we have presented with us. You can do one of the two things about challenges: you can accept the way things are or work to change them. We’ve been working hard to do that.
I have to take my hat off. It’s not just our coaches, it’s our administration, our compliance staff, everybody has been doing a great job to make sure we stay on the beaten path. We’re going to continue to do that, to keep building it like we need to.
I’m going to step around here as we introduce our class and signees and additions to this class. I like watching it, too. I can talk better as I’m watching it.
Lots of different areas that we were addressing in this class. You’re going to see quite a few O-linemen. We need to continue to get better up front offensively and defensively. One of the things we talked about, this league, if you look at the teams that are winning it, across the country, they dominate up front. We have to continue to upgrade our talent level in that area. That’s been a focus.
You’re going to see O-linemen and D-linemen on here, linebackers. Really we need everything. Those were really areas of focus mainly because that’s where the numbers said we were this year.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of our guys in this class.
Shola Ayinde, he was part of our class last year. He moved forward in a gray shirt, injured his shoulder, sat out the first semester, he’s already here. Been here since January. He looks great. Gained about 15 pounds, 185, 190 pounds. Was a great player at George Ranch High School. Has that profile we’re looking for. Long arm guy. Can really, really run. Guy had lots of accolades last year in his class. His high school last year advanced pretty far in the playoffs. They actually won the 6-A small school this year in the state of Texas.
He comes from a winning program, which is important for us. We wanted to add kids to this team that understand and know winning.
This shows Shola and some of the things he can do for us. He’s a long guy, has the ability to press, play press coverage, which you have to have the ability to do. It shows him transitioning in and out of back pedal. Does a good job of ball skills in the air. We’re excited about him because he’s already here and we get to start utilizing him in this next class.
Really good player. Comes from a really good program. Knows how to win, has been around winning, knows how to make plays for us. We talked about him a little bit last year. Unfortunately he hurt his shoulder. It’s a win-win for him. He didn’t lose a year. His clock is starting now. He gets to start in this class.
This next kid (Isaiah Bean) is a defensive end out of Summer Creek High School in Houston, Texas. We’ve been on this kid for a long time. One of the things I really like about this guy is he plays the end, he’s 6’5″, 210, 215 pounds. Great frame. A lot of upside about this guy. This guy played offense for the longest. As a junior he played quarterback.
What we’ve done is we’ve been able to take a guy, they played him his whole senior year at defensive end. I love the guy’s wingspan. You can see him take off and make these tackles. One of the things that always sticks out to me is the length this guy has on him.
We had a real need for a pass-rush. We lost Ben Goodman, who was a big pass-rush guy for us. We’re looking for more dynamic than that. We need long and fast. He played on the offensive side of the ball. I’m not going to rule out the fact that we might hand him or throw him the ball because he can do it on both sides. Coach Ford does a great job down there at Summer Creek.
Keegan Brewer is a receiver out of Lake Dallas, Texas. He looks little. He’s a 5’11” guy. This guy reminds me of that Cole Beasley type guy. This kid helped his team go to the state semifinals this year. The most productive receiver in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year. He’s a talented guy. Quick, great instincts, moves around well, really quick, does a great job with ball skills. One of the most decorated guys that we have. 5-A All-State second team, All-District MVP. This guy was up for the LaDainian Tomlinson Award down in Dallas. When you see this guy, you’re not going to think of him and think he’s a Division I football player.
When he puts the pads on, he turns into something special. Loves football, really talented player. Plays in one of the toughest districts in Texas, North Texas area. Every week he lines up, he’s playing against some of the best guys in Texas. He understands how to run routes, knows how to make contested plays, which you don’t see a lot of. He can do things at the line of scrimmage breaking people down with release skills that I just don’t see a lot at the high school level until they develop at the college level. I like this kid a lot.
Really, really good kid. Knew about him, but really didn’t know as much about him until I met his buddy, Dagan Haehn, down there. It was a really good deal that we got this kid here. He’s here and working out. Excited about him.
Next kid (Julian Chandler). Another long, good-looking, out of Hightower High School in Houston, Texas, a place that continues to produce talent year in and year out. He was an All-District guy down there in a very tough district. Some places that could be All-State because of how much talent there is down there.
This guy is a long-man coverage guy that can do a lot of different things for us. He’s played on the offensive side before, but he can be a dynamic return guy for us in the punt return game. Those guys are not as easy to find as kickoff return guys. Some of those guys, they got to work their way into it. This guy is kind of natural at that.
Does a good job transitioning out of his back pedal. Has a nose for the ball and instincts. One of the top PBU guys in the state of Texas. It’s something I really look for. INTs can be deceiving at times. How many times you break up passes is big for me, particularly in high school.
Another guy, on campus as well, Deelsaac Davis. He comes to us from Highland Community College. He’s right down from the street from us in Wichita, Kansas. He’s 6’3″, 290 pounds, very generous for this guy. He’s about 350, 320. He’s a big dude. He’s quick off the ball. He can be disruptive in the middle. We really do need that.
I like the long arms on this guy. I like the big lowers about him. This guy has some strength in his lower half. He does a nice job. You’ll see a play here in just a second where he engages a guard and we’ll shed him, gets off and makes a tackle. You don’t see that happen very much. He can use quickness to get to the ball or use strength. This is a good look at it right here. Engages a guy, throws him off, makes a play right there.
I really like this guy. Very instinctual, very intelligent. Kansas guy. Like him a lot. Glad to have him back home.
Cam Durley is another big dude that was originally kind of in our last class last year. We were able to gray shirt him and move him forward. If you look at him now, he looks nothing like that picture. This six months did him good. He’s about 295 pounds right now, doesn’t have much fat on him. He is a good-looking dude. Big-time basketball player in high school. Played one year of high school football, okay? He lettered two years, but only really got to play one his senior year. Didn’t know much about it.
Those guys down in Houston Christian High School did a heck of a job with him. Max Bowman coached in the NFL a long time, Kenny Perry turned us onto this guy. He’s going to turn out to be a really good find for us. He’s on campus now. Saw him working out yesterday. Can get under weight and push it.
Comes from a very athletic family. His brother played basketball at TCU. He played basketball up north with one of our guys, I can’t remember which it is. He’s played high-level basketball before. He’s a very athletic guy.
If you’re talking about tackles and a guy that can play basketball as an O-lineman, those guys usually work out. They have good feet. You can see him run in these pictures. Shows how fast he is and how agile he is. I really like this Cam Durley kid. He doesn’t know what he knows yet. Once Zach Yenser gets a hold of him and teaches him more about what the position entails, I look for this guy’s upside to be great.
Evan Fairs. He’s a receiver out of Houston, Texas, another guy that comes from right down there on the border of Katy Fulshear out of Foster High School. His dad was an NFL linebacker, played for the Atlanta Falcons, beside our receiver coach Jason Phillips. So he comes from good stock.
His sister is a pro volleyball player in Sweden. His mom was a great athlete in high school and college. This guy comes from great genes. 6’3″, probably 195 pounds right now. Good-looking, big, long guy, who can separate and run. Gives us some profile out there on the edge. Goes along with that Booker guy that we signed last year. Runs better than Book. He has speed.
The thing I like about this guy, he goes up and gets the ball. Extends his arms, catches the ball away from his body. Really good ball skills. He’s decorated, two-star status by rivals. I will say this, he’s a good player. 2015 24 5-A Offensive MVP, which is hard to do in that district. That’s almost impossible to do from a receiver standpoint. Great player. All-District dude.
Guy’s made some plays for these guys down there. They have another guy that was highly recruited there. I think we may have gotten just as good a guy, if not better. You see him make plays, extend his hands away from his body, reminds me of a guy we had here named Briscoe in terms of length, ability to get away from people.
You don’t see a lot of those tall guys be able to turnover and get out like he got out on that play right there. Most of the time they get caught underneath themselves and their stiffness prevents them from doing things like that. Strong guy, long levers, comes from great genes. His mom, great folks. Had them here last year. Really glad this guy is a Jayhawk. He can really help us.
Antione Frazier, Anthony, he goes by about 19 names. We go by Antione, if you ask him. Great kid now. Mom calls him Anton. His mom also calls him Anthony and his middle name when he gets in trouble. Great mother from Houston, Texas. We almost recruited her. Bigger arms than most of our players. Good-looking family. 6’5″, 250 pound kid.
Give you perspective, last year we had a kid come in here and play right tackle for us, Larry Hughes, 6’6″, he’s 300 pounds now. We like guys that are athletic like this, that can put 30, 40 pounds on like that. Highly recruited guy out of there. This guy comes out of Chase Harrell’s high school. Committed to us a year ago. Had a lot of people coming in on him. He stayed with us. Just like a lot of these people in this class, they stayed with us even though at the very end, Baylor, a bunch of other teams around the state were coming after this guys. Anton, Antione, Anthony, whatever you want to call him, he was one of the leaders of that deal.
Kind of a raw guy. We really have high hopes. He’s a basketball player again. One of those guys that’s very athletic. Doesn’t know how strong he is. Really doesn’t know what he doesn’t know yet. Coach Mac does a great job down there at Huffman Hargrave.
We’ll keep trying to get as many guys out of that area as we can. Those guys work their tails off, they do what we ask them to do. He’s going to be a great addition for us. I think this guy has a tremendous upside along with the rest of the guys in our class.
You don’t see many offensive tackles dunking in the basketball game. We have footage of this guy. He’s chasing down a so-called smaller guy to save a touchdown. Shows you how athletic the guy is for an offensive tackle. Those 250 guys turn into 300 guys in a year and a half, especially after Coach Jackson gets ahold of them.
Dagan Haehn. This is the quarterback for Keegan Brewer out of Lake Dallas High School. We’ve had our eye on him for a long time. This kid unfortunately got hurt in the state semifinal game. They were down 28-0. He brought them all the way back. Him and Keegan were both parts of that. He tore his ACL with a quarter left to go in that game. He played the rest of the way and they lost by 7 in overtime. It was an unbelievable game.
This guy is a battling warrior. I’ve had my eye on him since we got here last year. Actually looked at him before we got here when I was at Texas A&M because he can run. He’s already here, on campus, already rehabbing, working, trying to get himself back in the fold. Probably one of our more decorated guys that we have. First-team quarterback.
This guy was a big deal when it comes to breaking records up there. Did a great job at a great school that’s had pretty good success. I would argue he may be one of the most successful guys to come out of there in the recent past. Excited about him being here.
The guy can throw it and he can run it. A really good leader. As our guys have gotten to go see him develop over the last few years in the spring, then getting to watch him play down there in Jerry’s world in that game where he brought them back, it was really, really cool to watch this guy lead that team back.
He just got a little poise to him that you don’t see a lot of guys have. Has a nice touch. Guy threw for gobs and gobs of yards. I don’t know how many. I know it was a bunch. But he can throw. He threw for 2318 passing yards, 29 touchdowns. MVP of the district. This guy, he’s got some stuff to him.
Hunter Harris, he got him a haircut in this picture. When we started recruiting him, he had the greatest mullet you’ve ever seen in your life. This thing was long. He is the definition of country boy. Got him a big old pickup truck, great family. Really, really good kid. Really a good player for us. Plays for Aledo High School, one of the more successful teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was an All-District guy. Earned Academic All-State, second team.
Unfortunately his season was cut short at the end, he tore his ACL. He’s already on the mend. He’ll be back. One of the hardest working guys I’ve seen around so far. Great kid, comes from a great program. Tim Buchanan is the AD there. Long-time head coach. Those guys know what they’re doing, man. They will come off the ball and hit you in the mouth, no doubt about that.
You’ll see him playing a lot of tackle here. He’ll probably play some guard and center for us. He is athletic enough to set the edge if we need him to play tackle. Not the 6’5″ guy, but he will roll his hips if he gets into you. He’s not a waist bender. You can see him kind of uncoil as he gets into people. He has a nasty streak in him that you like to see with O-linemen.
Khalil Herbert is a guy that we really have had our eye on for a while. He’s at a high school that, man, everybody’s recruiting. American Heritage down there in Florida, Reggie Mitchell working his magic with his ties down there. This kid is a really good talent, really good talent. For us to be able to go and make some inroads at American Heritage, that was big. Reggie and Kenny Perry did a tremendous job, both those guys down there with some contacts that we have down in that region were very, very helpful for us with regards to landing this kid.
Very talented guy. Had a lot of offers. Came up on a visit. We love him and his family. They are wonderful folks. We’re excited about him joining our program. Rated pretty highly. Probably underrated.
The guy is a really good player. For you to be first team All-Broward County, that’s not easy to do. That’s like All-State in a lot of places. One of the top players in Miami’s area. This guy can play, there’s no doubt about it. He can run. He’s got power. His first plays shows how strong this guy is on the lower body. You’re going to have to tackle this guy.
I mean, that’s one of the things we wanted. We wanted a short-yardage guy that had big-yardage speed. This guy can do that. He has a burst to him. He’s got good vision. When he chooses to take off, he can do it. He can make cuts on dimes, which is good. We want to be able to see a guy that can turn pretty quickly with a minimal amount of steps.
He plays at the highest level down there in Florida. When he’s snapping the ball, he’s doing it against real guys. That’s important for us when we’re looking at certain positions, particularly running back. He has a nice, good, smooth flow when he takes the handoff. He has good patience, good vision, really understands when to explode.
Isi Holani is a guy originally from Hilo, Hawaii. He’s out of Riverside City College. He’s a transfer. Really excited about this guy being here. 6’3″, 300, he’s probably closer to 330 right now. He is a big guy. But he is one of those A-gap guys we’ve been looking for. A nose that can handle A-gaps for us in our four-down stuff. He can do that with the type of weight and strength he has.
Fun watching him workout the last couple weeks, him and Deelsaac have been fun to watch. You don’t usually see guys come in in shape enough to do what they’ve done. I’ve been impressed with these guys. He was a pretty highly recruited guy out of Riverside City College. Wasn’t an easy get. We had to work our tails off to get him.
Once he came here, the KU folks took over and he fell in love with it. It was definitely a group effort to get that done.
Really, really talented guy. This guy has some real strength to him. Drawing on some of our old KU ties with Chris Maumalanga out there in California helping us identify some guys. He knows defensive linemen. He can help us with that. He’s the one that turned us on to Isi.
You like to see guys do things like this, to get off blocks, create negative yardage plays down there by the goal line. You like the energy he carries. He can’t be a guy that doesn’t have a motor. He does have that motor, which is something you look for in a guy that carries 330 pounds. I don’t know how much of a motor I’d have at 330 pounds. But he’s got some.
Chris Hughes. This is another guy that’s from Central Texas. Harker Heights down there in Killeen. This kid comes from a long line of football players. His older brother is about 6’8″, 325, originally signed and played at Texas, now at Texas A&M Commerce, I believe. His second oldest brother is the defensive end at Texas who we had to line up against this year who is a talented guy, really talented guy.
He’s the third of four babies that this family has. This mom, I mean, they have a separate refrigerator for just milk for all these kids. It was unbelievable. She cooked up something that was unbelievable, that dinner we had.
I told her, Let me help you with that grocery bill a little bit. These cats are humongous men. Dad is a big dude. Super people. Super people. Great kid. Very academic-oriented family. Very, very good football player.
Unfortunately he didn’t get to play at all this year. He tore his knee up at the Longhorn camp. Here we come sliding in. This kid is a really, really good player. 6’5″, 275, 280 pounds right now. He’s going to be a guy that should grow into a really good player for us, just like those other guys. We like them at the 260, 250 range so we can put the weight on them the way we want to.
Talented guy. Most of this stuff is going to come from his junior year. But you can see how well this guy moves, how well he bends for a guy that’s that big. When you have to wrestle for food, I think that helps your game. I think he has to wrestle at the house to get food because, man, those cats are huge. Big old boys. Large, athletic family.
I offered his dad a scholarship, but he said he’s out of eligibility. Great-looking family, just great people.
Lucas Jacobs is a guy out of West Virginia. His dad is actually a Division I volleyball coach. Very competitive family. We had this guy in not too long ago. He came up just to check the place out. Very good-looking guy. We think this guy is another guy that with some time and development can be a guy that can really help us.
He is a guy that can do really a little bit of everything. He can play at center, guard, tackle. He can do a lot of different things. Gives us some versatility there. I think he can get to be a really strong guy.
He’s got some upside to him. We’re excited about Lucas being here. It’s going to be a good deal for him and us.
Maciah Long is out of North Shore High School, same high school that Dorance Armstrong came from. This guy was the 6-5 A Division I state champion, but he was the MVP of that game. He plays quarterback for us. He’s coming to us as a linebacker. He’s 6’2″, 230. I don’t know how much he weighs to be honest with you. He’s already a good-looking, put-together guy. He was an MVP at the highest level in the state of Texas. I know I’m dramatic about that because I’m from Texas football, but that is hard to do. To be the MVP in that game is not easy.
For him to do what he did, to lead that team to the state championship in the highest classification, there’s something about that dude, especially when they go and beat Austin Westlake, a storied program. Nobody gave them a chance. They won that game. A lot of it was due to him and his leadership.
Probably underrated. Had a lot of offers, tons and tons of offers. Chose us, stayed with us, helped this class from the beginning to the end. So impressed with this guy. This guy could be one of the great leaders developing our program from this point moving forward.
We’re going to use him at linebacker. Don’t be surprised if we don’t put him back there and see him do some of the stuff you’re going to see him do on tape here. Built-in short yardage scheme there with a guy that weighs 230 to 250 pounds. I won’t give him up. I think he’s somewhere between 230, 250, good-looking kid and can run for a kid that size.
His dad, Jesse, great guy, comes from a great family. All that kind of stuff has been important for us as we begin to recruit this class moving forward.
This guy does a lot of things for his team. I think the one thing that stood out to me was his leadership as you watch him down there on the sidelines.
Another guy (Kyle Mayberry), one of the guys that really — this guy could have went a lot of different places. People did not give up till the very end. He stuck with us because he sees the vision. Love this kid. Love his mentality, his personality. He’ll be one of the leaders in this group, no doubt.
Really athletic guy out of Booker T. (Washington). This guy is a first team All-State guy, 6-A All Honors, Oklahoma Coaches Association. State of Oklahoma has been very good to us. I know he knows Chris Harris pretty well. Somehow those guys are from the same state. This kid is going to be a really good one for us.
We’re excited about having Kyle Mayberry on our team. Great family. Love to go up and see his mom and dad. His mom cooked up some great food. Had a great time there hanging out with that family as well.
This kid can do a lot of things for you, not just play DB. He’s a return guy, a punt return specialist, a guy that can do some things for you there. The one thing I like him for, he can lock you down in coverage. Allows you to do some things in man coverage and get some pressure on some teams by getting after the quarterback.
He’s got good instincts, has a great understanding of the game. His football intelligence is something that really stuck out to me. After you get to know his family, you know why.
Hunter Harris’ family, Hank and Mary, we have so many families we became great friends with that really make this class special to us.
He can run.
Ian Peterson, he was here this week with his family. D.J. and Stacy, unbelievable folks, came up here this weekend. Really got to know them well. Man, very special talent. Central Texas down there. Cedar Ridge High School, Todd Ford was the coach, just left to take the Lovejoy job up in Dallas. Really talented guy. This guy has been committed to us for a long, long time.
I know there was a bunch of Big 12 teams that were calling him as he was on his way up here to our visit last week. He held strong with us. Another guy in this class that I’m very proud of.
All these guys had lots of opportunities to go to other places. That’s how we know we’re on the right guys. It’s not just guys that this is the place they had. They all had opportunities to go to other places. They see the vision. They want to be a part of it together.
He can do a lot of things for us as well. The guy can really run. He returns kicks for them. He has some instincts about him. When he gets out, he can take off.
All these guys have something in common in that skill position: they can all run. Try to improve that overall team speed. Very important for us.
Documented track times for these guys was important for us. The fact that they’ll play other sports and compete was important for us. The fact they love football was extremely important for us. Put a lot of time in making sure we knew what we needed to know about these guys.
Stephan Robinson is a junior college guy who is a qualifier, out of high school, played one year at Northeastern Oklahoma. He’s kind of like a guy that’s coming in with a redshirt. You know what I’m saying? He has some experience. Not a true high school guy, but gives you more than two years. Long, good-looking, quick, athletic, change-of-direction guy. Another guy with a great set of parents.
Great time with those guys as we were going through the recruiting process. He plays receiver and he plays DB. He’s going to play DB for us and corner. But he’s already here. Coach Jackson is already giving me some great returns on this guy, how competitive and tough he is. Those are things we like to see.
This play he doesn’t even get the ball, but you like to see this right there. I was thinking he was on defense when I first saw that tape. It took me a second to realize he was on offense. He just has some instinct to him.
He can do some things for us returning the ball as well, just like these other guys can. We think he has the top-end speed we’re looking for. He’s long, can cover a lot of ground. I like watching him in coverage. He’s got some ability to make up at times. Goes up and catches the ball in his hands on the offensive side, which means at the defensive side he’s going to attack the ball at the highest point.
All right. Tyriek Starks. Love this kid. His mom, his whole family down there. We went into his house. Probably 20 people in there. We had a blast. Good old family reunion down there in New Orleans. Good buddy of mine Tony Hull, called me about this guy. Great looking kid.
I know I’m long-winded today, but I like these guys.
One of the most impressive things I loved about this guy, we go into his bedroom, he has a cardboard Coke box he has torn off, on his wall in his bedroom is his team goals. Nothing about him, but his team. Impressive kid. Really impressive kid. Every time we communicated, it was always something about the team, never about him. Love that guy’s mentality. This guy is extremely talented.
He was Mr. Football in Louisiana, played there for three years at Warren Easton. This kid could have left. Could have started for anybody in the New Orleans area. He didn’t. He stayed. He played a little receiver. He stayed. All that kid did was pass for 4400 yards this year, 44 touchdowns, ran for 11 touchdowns. The only touchdown to beat Edna Karr, who is a very decorated program down there. Got beat in the state semifinals by Neville who won the state championship that year.
This kid is talented, very talented. He didn’t play except for his senior year, which is how a guy like this kind of sometimes goes under the radar. I am so fired up about Tyriek Starks. This is a really, really good player. We weren’t necessarily looking for a QB, but he’s one that we really think can help us. It’s going to improve our room. We’re going to be a lot more competitive in that room with Tyriek stepping in that room. Going to help us moving forward.
This guy has speed, quickness and intelligence. He can do some things with the ball in his hands that a lot of people can’t do because he’s got great speed. He’s a good 6’2″-ish. Eating at the training table, I can see him being 200, 215 pounds and hard to keep him there because he can get a lot bigger than that.
He can flick this thing with very little technique, 55 yards in the air. He’s very accurate. You don’t throw for 4400 yards and not be an accurate guy. Very talented guy. I really like this kid for more than just what you see on tape. It’s what you see when you get to meet him and talk to him that really impresses you.
Next guy. Local guy. Really excited about having this guy onboard. Bryce Torneden. Been watching this guy play for a couple, three years now actually. He’s a talented dude as you all know. You all have been around him, you’ve seen him. Man, it’s exciting to have a local talent like this guy join the Jayhawks. One of the more decorated guys that we have on our board. Very talented. Can do a lot of different things for us.
We’re going to start him out on the defensive side, let him do some things defensively for us because he’s a very talented safety. He’s big enough to make tackles. He’s fast enough and quick enough to cover people in space. So he’s a guy to me that sticks out as a weak-safety type guy that can make a lot of tackles for you. He’s big enough to hold up in the Big 12.
If you look at that tape, that tape, it’s a little bit backwards. Normally you see guys and you think they’re bigger, then you get them in person and they’re not that big. Bryce, he’s bigger than this. He’s put together. He’s got some weight on him. Weighs 180, 195 pounds. All of 5’10”. Good-looking guys. He doesn’t look like that on tape. He is a good-looking, tall, fast guy who I think already possesses the weight to be able to tackle guys in the Big 12. Those guys got to make tackles.
He’s got a big enough body to be able to survive the season doing that. Bryce has that type of body. Fish has one more year with us, then after that we have to have another guy that can fit that mold. Bryce is a great one that we feel like can really fit that mold.
That’s all of our new additions. With that being said, we have time for a couple questions.
Q. Only two true junior college signees in this class, how important was it to get high school players?
COACH BEATY: I think it was huge because it’s about development. It’s hard to develop guys when you only have them for a year or two. You know what that takes, honestly that takes commitment from your administration and from your university.
When we got here, we talked to him about what it was going to take to get it done, what it’s going to take to get it done is time. You don’t get stuff for free, you don’t get stuff overnight. It takes time. Developing guys takes time.
We talked about it a long time ago, we’re not going to cut corners. Cutting corners is trying to get rich quick. We’re not trying to do that. We will get there in the right amount of time when we get it the right way. We’ve got to be able to develop people and that’s how you do it. You do it by getting four-year players.
David Bailiff used to say you win with senior classes that you’ve had for four years. If you look what they did there, after he had his class for four years, they won 10 games. I think there’s something to that. You had them in your possession for four years.
We’re going into our second year, which I’m excited about. I think that’s huge to break that cycle.
Q. Dagan Haehn, is this his second injury?
COACH BEATY: Second injury. He had another knee injury in the previous year. Came back and did all he did. That poor kid, he made it all the way through the entire year and literally the last quarter of his season this year tore his ACL again. Like I said, just kept playing. Somehow he made it through that game. They almost won the thing.
Q. Same knee or different knee?
COACH BEATY: Different knee, other side. Keaton Perry type deal. Keaton did his right, his left, then his right again.
Q. What are the challenges when you go out there with your scholarship numbers?
COACH BEATY: I think we’ve talked about it a bunch. In terms of where we were at roster-wise, scholarship-wise, the challenge is making up those numbers the right way as fast as you can. You just got to be creative in the way that you do it. You got to work closely with your administration and closely with the compliance, making sure that you do things properly, but try to do the best you can to make sure you’re getting true Division I talent in there to help you play games.
My hat is off to that whole group. Had we not had some of those things come to fruition last year, man, it could have been a lot tougher really to be honest with you.
Q. What does it say about your staff or even your class when some of these schools come on late and you’re able to hold onto them? Does that give you an extra dose of confidence that you got the right guys?
COACH BEATY: I definitely think it does. We want to be recruiting, not signing. We talk about that all the time. There’s a difference in those two. That requires everybody to check their ego at the door. We don’t keep numbers. We recruited this class.
Every single guy on our staff recruited Isi Holani. Every guy on our staff recruited Khalil Hebert. There’s not one guy that will get credit for that because that’s not how it works. Somebody may have saw him first, but we all do it together.
To get this thing done, it’s not about bolstering somebody’s numbers in recruiting. But that’s not true, it’s a holistic approach. For us to be able to get things done, I think one of the things we heard most from parents was how they got to know our entire staff. At every turn, they got to meet Zach Yenser, Kenny Perry, Todd Bradford, Jason Phillips, Reggie Mitchell. They knew every one of us when they left. We talked about it being a family. I think we lived it while they were here.
Our coaches do the same thing while they’re here on campus.
Q. Now that you’re getting these types of guys, does it change at all for you? Look at last year’s class, you talked a lot about we don’t know what we’re going to do, not set a certain number that will redshirt. When you look at development, do you do different things when you move forward? Does this class have more targets on developing guys because it’s a deeper roster? Do you even think like that?
COACH BEATY: The answer is yes and no. It just depends. We tell our kids there, we’re going to try to go out there and try to find somebody better than you, try to get your room competitive. We tell them all the time that should never happen because you have an advantage. You’re here. You already know everything. You have an advantage. If you get beat out, that’s your fault. It’s not going to be talent, it’s just the fact you didn’t do enough.
With that being said, I play favorites. My favorites are the best players, period. That’s it. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether I like their high school coach or where they come from. It has everything to do with who works the hardest that can help us win and we trust the most.
In terms of redshirting, anymore, guys are leaving, they’re leaving after three years. People all over the place say, That only happens at Florida State. No, it doesn’t. That happens everywhere. You need to make sure that you’re utilizing these guys whenever they can help you. 85 sounds like a lot. We’re not even at 85. You have to use every single one of them. It’s a very, very physical sport. Even when you’re at 85, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. Too physical.
Q. Two quarterbacks, then (Ryan) Willis and (Carter) Stanley, two young guys. Do you anticipate (Montell) Cozart moving to another position? How many years does he have left?
COACH BEATY: He’s got a couple years left I think. Some of that is still yet to be filed. We’ll figure out that. I’m anticipating he has two years left. I don’t know that for sure. I’m pretty sure that’s going to work out that way.
But, no, I mean, I don’t have any plans on moving anybody right now. We are going to be in a continual evaluation phase here. The good news is, I mean, those guys, most of those guys, are athletic to do anything they can. If they’re good enough players to help us, they’re not going to be standing by me.
Q. Comments on in-state recruiting this year.
COACH BEATY: It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Once again, when we came here last year, we talked about earning it, earning it one fan at a time. We put our foot forward and we continue to do that.
One high school coach at a time. We continue to do that. Our Kansas blast was well-documented. We continue to do that. We built relationships with guys in our own community all throughout the state of Kansas, and we’ve had great feedback from that. That only continues to build when you feed into it and you continue to make them true relationships. We’ll continue to do that.
However, the last piece was one player at a time, one recruit at a time. Listen, we’re trying to win the Big 12. You can’t do that with just signing guys that are from a certain place. You got to go sign Big 12 football players. We are working diligently to get that done here in our own state.
It will be really interesting to go back and look today when you’re done and see how many guys in the state of Kansas signed Division I scholarships and where they went, see where they went. I think the deal is, we’ve got to earn their services to want to stay here.
We worked our tails off at it with a bunch of guys in state. You know what, didn’t work out. I’ll tell you this, we were in it with a lot of guys. I think we made guys take pause and think that probably normally wouldn’t have.
That’s a step forward. Particularly given the challenges that we had last year. I’m proud of our staff because we were right there with some guys that I’m not sure many people thought we would be right there with given our situation last year record-wise.
I think people see it was more than that. With that being said, I mean, the cycle starts over. We start earning it again one recruit at a time right here in the state of Kansas. That will be our priority. Every single one of those guys you saw go to other places, and then some, we were talking to, we were recruiting. I can’t speak about them specifically, but we were on them. We just got to prove to them that it’s worth staying at your university because this is their university.
There will be a time where they’re going to want to do that. Hopefully that’s really soon.
Q. You were able to tap into Louisiana to get Tyriek Starks, is that an area you want to get more kids from?
COACH BEATY: I left my TV a while ago. I don’t know if it’s still that way. I think I saw LSU had the number one ranked signing class in the country. A lot of those guys were right out of that state right there. That state produces per capita some of the highest numbers of Division I athletes, in terms of per capita. That is a really fertile place. It really is.
We’ve got some ties down there from recruiting time at other schools. Jason at SMU, Jason at Houston, Kenny Perry at TCU, myself at A&M. Did a lot of work down in the New Orleans area. Calling on those relationships is something we’ll continue to do. We’ll do it all over the country.
I love, love, love what Brandon Snyder said at his press conference last year: We’re going to recruit the planet, we’ll have a Kansas identity, to go find the right ones to hoist those trophies and see that confetti drop on us. That’s the goal and we will get there.
Q. Is there anything about today that kind of represents all the challenges of last year, today officially starts the next season, a fresh start for everything?
COACH BEATY: I appreciate that. That’s a great perspective because I think I said it just a few minutes ago, we’re excited. March 7th we’re about to start spring ball. We’re about to be able to get back working with our guys. That’s exciting. That’s exciting. We never want it to be that long again that we went from being able to work with them to not being able to work with them. That means you’re playing in bowl games.
That was a big lesson for us. This has been too long apart. The next thing is we got our spring game on April the 9th, I believe. That’s going to be a big day for us to have a bunch of these guys that just joined our program to be around us, for people to get to see them.
Yeah, I think it’s been a year now since I stood in front of you talking about that last class. A lot of this class right here has already played football for the Kansas Jayhawks. They have already gotten playing time behind them. They have already established themselves in the future of Kansas football. That is probably the most exciting thing.
If you look at just this, you’ll miss it. But you guys are smart. Don’t look at just this. Look at them other ones that have already played a bunch of snaps for us.
I’m excited about this class, not only because of these guys, but some of them other guys that are a part of this class, they got a lot of football under their belt. Last year we had three dudes that had played college football when we stepped on the field. We’re excited to work with those guys. It’s going to be fun.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
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