2017 Kansas Football Signing Day
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football head coach David Beaty and the KU staff welcomed 27 additional players during the Jayhawks’ 2017 Signing Day Wednesday.
Beaty and the coaching staff, along with select players, were featured on the Jayhawk Television Network for a two-hour signing day special, beginning at 11 a.m. (CT) – that is archived on ESPN3. Following the live show, Beaty met with the media to break down the 2017 incoming class during his press conference featured on Facebook Live (below).
Loyalty pricing for the 2017 season is available now through February 1, 2017. For information regarding season tickets contact the Kansas Sales Team by calling 800-34-HAWKS or in-person at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket office. Tickets can also be purchased via KUTickets.com.
Beaty Press Conference Transcript
Hakeem Adeniji, Denzell Evans, Malik Clark, Dru Prox, Daylon Charlot, Charles Baldwin, those guys have been here a year. They’re in this class, which is great. And, man, it’s a reason why we’re excited, because there is something to that having them here for a year and us already knowing them, them knowing us, and they’re still here. You want them to still be here if they’re in the class, so that’s a good deal. Excited about those guys moving forward.
Just one more time, I want to take my hat off to Kenny Perry. This guy does a terrific job. Lot of you guys know this guy. Man, I don’t know how long we’re going to be able to keep him, but I’ll tell you this, he’s stinking good at what he does. He deserves a lot of credit along with the rest of those coaches because they bust their tails. They do a good job.
Just one last thing, with all of our fans tuned in right now, man, I can’t thank you enough. What a great fan base. Our season ticket sales are taking off. Just a reminder that today’s the last day of loyalty pricing. Let’s take advantage of it. And see if we can go close out another 10,000 today, that would be good. Because y’all are the secret to making sure we continue to build great teams here. Just wanted to remind you of that.
There’s a lot of guys here, so I’m going to take off. I want to make sure that I do them justice, but there are a lot of them. Some of them will be quick, and we’ll answer questions after we’re done here. Jeff Love, who is our video editor, does a terrific job for us. He’s going to help me with that, and we’ll get it going. Jeff — can I speak if I walk around? I’ll just talk loud. Can you all hear me? I’m sure you can. I’m used to yelling in here anyway.
Let’s talk about this class really quick. We addressed a lot of different needs here, obviously. You’ve got to address needs when you lose guys, obviously, so you’re going to look at that, and then you’ve got to look at where you’ve got to be dynamic. Where are you not good enough? So those are all things that go into it. When we’re looking at how we’re going to build that class, there are a lot of things that go into it, not the least of which is the men who they are. That’s going to be important to us. So with that being said, let’s take off.
All right. First guy in the class, we’re going to go alphabetically. This kid’s name is Earl Bostick, all right. Earl, obviously, is not from right in this locality. He’s from South Carolina, Barnwell High School. Coach Garrick out there turned us on to this. This dude’s a gigantic dude now. Sitting right here in the middle. Does a lot of things on tape. He was the MVP of the All-Star game, of the game he played there in that state. Kid can run. He’s long, he’s big. We feel like this guy can do a lot of things from playing on the defensive line for us and possibly being a guy that could be a major offensive tackle down the road and might be one of those guys that could possibly be playing on that Sunday.
Really excited about this kid. His mom, a terrific lady. Miss Evelyn, we spent some time with them this weekend. Just a great family. Really enjoyed having these guys here this last weekend. Terrific player, the guy can really run. When you watch this tape right here, this kid’s 270 pounds and outrunning these DBs and getting into the end zone, which is pretty impressive. He’s already 270 pounds. So those are some things that we look for, obviously. We’re looking for lengthy guys that we can put weight on that can move their feet already.
Next guy, a local guy, right here out of Lawrence High School, played for Coach Wedd, right around the corner, named Cole Brungardt. Seen this kid around a lot. He’s friends with my daughter, so I know who he is. Terrific leg. The kid’s got a really, really strong leg. Kid right down the street from us, got to see him play a couple times over the last couple years. Very strong leg. The guy can knock it out of the end zone. He’s really a weapon because of what he can do from a touchback standpoint. Once again, local guy, and really excited about adding one of Coach Wedd’s guys to our team. We’ve been working on trying to continue to do that, and we think those guys are quality guys. Another local guy that we think can really help us in the future here.
The other thing I love about these kids from Lawrence High is they’re going to be tough. That’s some of our minimum expectations.
Next kid, we’ve got a D-lineman named Sam Burt. Sam Burt comes to us from Abilene High School in Kansas, Coach Simpson out there, he turned us on to him. This kid can do a lot of things. He wears No. 75 playing on the D-line, but that tells you he can flip over and play O-line, too, when he’s playing in that small school area. The guy does a terrific job of creating production. He does a nice job of trying to find a football, getting guys down.
We think he can do things on both sides of the ball. We think his body gives him some ability to do a lot of different things which gives us some flexibility with him. We’ve had a few guys in the past that he reminds us of. We’ve played with guys like this before and won a bunch of games. So really excited about him. We know what kind of work ethic he has, and excited about adding him.
This next kid, man, you’re going to love getting to know this guy because he’s a character. Antonio Cole out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Antonio went to Highland Junior College, he bounced around a little bit. But terrific kid, terrific kid. One of the things that really stuck out to me when I was watching this tape is this kid’s ball skills from a defensive back standpoint. He’s always around the ball. He’s got a good nose for it. He’s got great burst after he catches it. He’s got natural ball skills and natural skills with running with the ball after he catches it.
But he does a terrific job in covering. He can open his hips really well. That right there is an extremely good example of the guy who is flexible enough to open those hips and make a terrific play when it’s needed. He does a terrific job of understanding what they’re doing defensively. If you talk to their coaches, visit with those guys just a little bit about what he knows, Coach Berger, Coach Arnold up there. Those guys just rave about this guy’s football IQ, which is something that we look forward to. Guy makes a lot of plays. This is against the national champions there in Garden City. You can see him close, and that closing speed is very valuable in this league. Because you’ve got to be able to do that. Guys are not going to stay open, and we need to find guys that won’t let him stay open. All right.
This next guy, I think the picture speaks for itself right here. Some of you guys know this. Jay Dineen, I watched him play basketball last night. My daughter was cheering. I think they upset Olathe Northwest who was number one in the state last night. Terrific game, double-overtime game, and this kid played his rear end off. It was great to see him last night. But my daughter cheers there, so it was fine for me to be there, just on the record, so you know that.
This kid obviously is a legacy. His brother plays for us. But this kid right here, there are a long line of Dineens, and a lot of you guys know. He’s just the next in the process. Joe and Jodi are terrific parents, man, and I’m going to urge them to continue having children, because they keep producing KU football players for us, and this one is no different. I love this kid, man. What a great, great energy guy and a dude that can really play now. He will knock you out.
Now, the problem with this is that’s not him. We’re going to have to get these fixed. Because I can’t speak about that kid. Y’all might know who that is, but that’s not him. I’m going to have to show you some different highlights. Oh, that’s 33. We’ll show you. Okay, here he is right here. All right, playing some linebacker. That dude is physical now. He will knock you out. That’s one thing he’ll do. He’ll knock himself out every now and then. But, man, physical guy, a lot faster than he looks. Go look at him on the basketball court, and I’m not sure you’d think you’d be getting the production he gets out of himself on that court.
But I love this kid. What a great energy he brings, great teammate, just a lot of people in this town that know this kid, and we’re excited to be adding that Free State guy. Coach Lisher, a terrific friend of our program. Added one last year, we’re going to continue to add guys from that school. They do a terrific job over there. Those guys I think went to the semifinals, if I’m not mistaken, before getting beat by Derby.
Okay. Next one. Joey Gilbertson out of Wichita Northwest. Coach Martin leading the charge with the Coaches Association. Bringing it back.
This is a big dude now. Big wrestling guy, very strong. As you watch him on the tip and watch him strike low to high, I think one of the things that stands out to me is his wrestling prowess. He does a nice job of really striking on the rise and rolling his hips when he. He’s kind of a nasty guy. He’ll get his hands moving a little bit. And that’s one thing we like to see with our offensive linemen. Do they have a nasty streak and will they finish plays with their hands? A good look at Joey right there. He’s a nice, big kid. More of a guard type. But I think the kid’s athletic enough to be played inside at center. He can snap for us. He with do a lot of different things. He’s very, very strong. I love his wrestling background.
Next guy, this kid’s name is Quan Hampton. Quan comes to us out of Texarkana High School. Barry Norton is his coach, good friend of mine for a long, long time. One of the most explosive guys we’ve seen down there. We found out about Quan from all of the opposing coaches around the area. That’s how you know you found a dude is when everywhere you go, guys tell you, have you seen that Quan Hampton kid at Texarkana? And I’m talking about every place we go. Sulfur Springs, Longview, every one of those places we go to, they’re saying, man, what is going on? Just watch the quickness and suddenness of this guy off the ball. Nice quickness.
Coach Meacham is extremely excited. They got the Turpin at TCU. We think this guy reminds us of him, but we think this guy has more weight on him than that kid does. And he can flat run. His dad goes by Toto. He’s definitely a legend in our city now. Man, love his family. They are great, Coach Norton, and I know those guys are going to be tough, man.
All right, this next kid, this kid, Liam Jones, man, I’m really excited about having Liam here. He’s been committed to us for a long time. One of the things that’s really gratifying for me is I started my college career at Rice with his head coach. Todd Dilbeck is a dear friend of mine, and it’s always gratifying when you can add a player from one of your buddy’s places. He’s a head coach here at Choctaw. This guy is a very, very pivotal guy in this class for us. Losing the kicker that we lost, being able to fill those shoes with the guy that we think can do it right away. We always say kickers, deep snappers should be the best value for a scholarship, because they should be four-year starters. If not, you’ve got the wrong guy. So I guess time will tell, but this guy, as you can tell, the leg speed this guy generates is ridiculous. He can hit it now. And I love his accuracy. He’s won a number of competitions. Liam Jones is a stud, and I’m excited about him being here. I love the way that he gets his leg extended. There are not a lot of kickers doing that anymore. I really like this kid. Really happy to have Coach Dilbeck’s guy here.
All right, next kid. This kid is out of Pratt, Pratt High School. Another Kansas boy. Very talented guy, Hunter Kaufman. When you turned on this tape, I’m not sure I was prepared for what I was going to see, the production I saw. I want to say the first 20 plays he was house calling it. He does a terrific job using his vision and being able to get his speed going very quickly. He gets that speed up high and fast, and he’s hard to catch. We think he’s got good speed. We think he’s got really good ball skills. He’s a little sneaky, bigger than what you think he is. And his lateral ability to move is something that I’m really impressed with. Making that cut right there is not very easy. For him to get his shoulders back square, get vertical and find the end zone is something that we really like. We think we can put the weight on this kid, but he’s got some knack to him now. He’s a good route runner. We’re really excited about Hunter joining our class.
All right. This next dude is a late addition today, okay, Octavius Matthews. I don’t know a lot of people knew about this guy until today. And that’s because we had to battle all the way until today to get him. I would consider this one of the biggest victories that we’ve had in this class because we had to battle some big time places to get him all the way to the end.
Very good-looking dude now. All right. Played with Peyton Bender at Itawamba Community College. And terrific mama, Miss Kristy. We talked to her today. She’s in the hospital. She needs a heart transplant. She’s a sweet, sweet lady, but she is tough, boy, and she’ll put a knot on his head if he doesn’t listen. She’s just a sweetheart. I wanted to give her a shout out. She’s in the hospital right now awaiting a heart transplant. But, man, you talk about a terrific kid. Man, a guy that obviously the schools we were competing against, we weren’t the only ones that thought that. But we took him because of what we thought, not what they thought.
We like what he can do. You’re going to see him lined up in the back field a lot. But he’s more of a utility guy. This guy can lineup in the slot. He can lineup in the two-back set and motion out of the slot. This guy has terrific ball skills. He catches the ball well out of the back field or lined up at receiver. We can do a lot of things with this guy that’s not easy to do with a lot of dudes. He’ll get lined up in the back field a lot here, but he also lines up a lot out wide. He’s got that top end speed that you’re looking for. He’s got that playmaking ability, and he has familiarity with the guy that played quarterback with him this year that might be able to pay dividends for him. He’s a long guy, so he’s a great target.
One of the things that we really liked about this guy is we could line him up in the back field, but we could also be in the two-back set and be in four wides to the defense, because he’s a guy that can line up out there in the wideout spot on more than just some occasions. We think he can do a lot for us. He’s got good lateral cut vision. He’s got great vision, and he’s got some speed to burn, which is something I really like about this kid. Terrific guy. Not only is he a good player, but a terrific kid. Very well-spoken guy. Comes from Alabama. Just a terrific family we met down there. His sister, we almost recruited her because she looks just like him, and she is jacked. She is a good-looking athlete.
When we pulled into the driveway, she was standing there like this, and I wasn’t sure if me and Coach Perry were going to get in there or not. We had to pass here. But, man, just a terrific family, and want to give a shout out to Miss Christie, because she’s a stud in that family, no doubt about it.
Next one, right down the street, local boy, Gene Weir, got to give him credit on this, one of his old coaches working down there at Lansing High School. Terrific player. This guy, another strong H-back move guy. We needed to be able to find some depth there. He can carry the football, had a lot of production down there at Lansing this year. But a long, good-looking, hard-nosed, hard-nosed dude. We really like this guy. He’s been here a number of different times. We like his demeanor. He’s pretty tough. He will run over you, he’ll run through you, he’ll run around you. I’m pretty much — and pretty sure he will stick his face in a fan if you ask him to. I love this guy. He’s the type of guy that you want to come play for you. I’m really excited about this guy becoming a Jayhawk. He does a lot of things on tape that we think are going to help make us a lot better. Special teams-wise, my eyes light up with a guy like that. All right?
All right, next guy out of Wichita. Another Kansas guy, goes along with that Kansas identity. Cooper Root. Cooper Root was the MVP of the rivals Midwestern Region competition here last year. All right? This guy’s another long, good-looking guy. Could play tight end, H-back. But also is a really, really dynamic linebacker that we like. This kid comes from Collegiate High School, Coach Gehrer, a dear friend of ours, has been good to this program for a number of years. This guy has done a really nice job for them over the last three years playing for them. He’s big enough to play the Mike, but he’s also fast enough to lineup out there at the Sam and match up with tight ends and things like that as well. He’ll hit you. He’ll come downhill and do the things that you need him to do, and he’s got plenty of size to do it.
He starts on the basketball team that I think is undefeated. I’m not sure what they did last night, but terrific player, terrific player. Got a great mom and dad. I think the mom told me that’s where all the athletic ability came from was Miss Root, if I’m not mistaken. I think she was a big-time track star. But great family, really, really good family.
Next guy, Sam Schroeder out of Trinity Academy in Kansas. Coach McDaniel, man. Been great for us. This is another one of those guys that’s that H-back move dude. Reminds us a little bit of McQuillan, but does a lot of that hard-nosed dirty stuff that you’re going to need, not only on the offensive side of the ball, but also in special teams.
We had to help ourselves in that hidden third of the game. Joe ran out of people last year. We were using basically starters on a lot of things at the end of the year because we didn’t have a have enough dudes. So being able to find guys like this is extremely important. This guy’s a talented guy now. We’re very, very fortunate to have him here. He’s tough, he’s mean. He reminds me of the Huldon Tharp kid, but he’s bigger. He does remind me a lot of Huldon Tharp who we had here before, who I thought was a really good player for us. Banks, Banks (indiscernible) some of those guys, that’s who that guy reminds me of, and we’ve got a lot of production out of these guys.
This guy, freeze it for a second. This dude right here for us, we think this is a pillar in our program, because we said we had to get one before we could get two. And this kid is the highest ranked kid we’ve gotten to stay at home in Kansas since we’ve been here. I’ve got to take my hat off to him. His mom, Deb, who is absolutely one of the sweetest ladies ever. She might have the best hair in Kansas. I think she won that award. Now you know where he got his good hair at. Just a sweet, sweet family. But this is a big monster. This guy’s going to be a big dude. I can see this guy getting to be 230 pounds. He reminds me of Mike Evans’ build when I had him at Texas A&M. He looks a lot like Mike. This guy’s more polished than Mike was at this age.
Brandon Clark, these guys won two straight state championships. This guy, Brandon Clark has done a terrific job. We’re going to take as many of those Derby kids as we can. If anybody wants him, they’re going to want to get (indiscernible) good football coach. And they’ve done a hell of a job. Brandon just helped us so much with this kid. He did a great job with this. Like I said, he’s a terrific player. Most of the credit goes to Deb, though, because she’s the athlete in the family.
But this kid, really terrific student, great player. And the thing that you love about guys like this is when you ask everybody in the building, including SRO officers on the sideline, everyone has something great to say about this kid. Reminds me a lot of Montell Cozart, to be honest with you, and that’s high praise. Great plays by this guy, very dynamic. Caught enough balls to sink a battleship this year. So we’re going to throw him the ball a bunch. I promise you. That’s another one of my mom’s sayings. She gets credit today.
Robert Topps. When we met Robert, Robert weighed about 172 pounds. He came in the other day at 196. He’s about 6’2″, 196. Plays safety. Dad’s a coach, mom is the matriarch, awesome family. Lives in the Windy City, in Chicago. Really cool house. Made great food when we went up there. Terrific kid. Great student. Signed alongside one of his teammates today who is going to Kansas State. So kind of great to see two Chicago guys going to Kansas and Kansas State.
This guy’s a long guy that can play corner, can play safety. He always has a nose for the ball when you watch him on tape. The thing you can’t do is you can’t make him longer. And he’s long. We needed some length in that back end, and we think he can do that. We think he’s going to be a guy that can cover, so we can use him at corner. We think he might be a guy that can be an All-League safety. That’s what I like to see. I like to see you turn on a tape and see a guy make a special teams play. The thing that helps you do that is his length. That’s one of the things you need to do is get the profile of our team longer. He does a nice job of triggering, making plays. Really like this guy, Robert Topps, a lot. He stayed with us for a long time, been committed forever, terrific kid.
All right, the next one, Dom, big Dom. Most of you guys know him. Dom has been committed to us for over a year and a half, 16 months. Man, there’s so many great kids in this class. This kid is the one that I’ve got to take my hat off to more than any because of what he’s done to build this class. To really draw attention to the Jayhawk Nation and really what we’re trying to do here. He stuck with this when people came knocking every day. Every day there was somebody big coming to knock on his door. But he believed in it, he saw the vision, and he knows what’s going on here. Not only that, he’s dang good. This dude can roll, now, and he can run. He’s got terrific ball skills and a true back that can do a lot of things. One of the most productive guys in a very difficult league. You see him playing almost all of their games there. This guys side-to-side movement and acceleration is exceptional. Not only that, his ability to break tackles. He can do it in any and all ways.
I love his vision. I love the way that he finds a way to get to the end zone. He reminds me a little bit of the Cowboys guy because of his ability to accelerate and get to the edge fast. Like when he sees a hole, he can get there and that thing doesn’t close on him. Another thing he does is makes effortless cuts like here that makes a huge difference to the end of that run. Not everybody can do that. This guy will be a guy we will circle for a long time as one of the stars in his class. I really feel like if he’ll continue to be the kid he is, which I know he will, because I know his mom and his dad, Damian, one of the funniest dudes we’ve ever had come around here, but also a legend now in Lawrence after he came for his visit. That family has been terrific for us. We’re just so happy that they are finally Jayhawks, and he’s going to be lining up in the back field, and we’re going to be handing him the ball a lot. Fired up about that dude a lot.
All right, next dude. Another guy out of Argyle, Texas. Todd Rodgers, a long-time, old-time buddy of mine. We coached against each other for a long time. He won a state championship at Marcus and I was at Naaman Forest way back in the day. He’s done a terrific job with this program. They’ve won a lot of games, been to a lot of state championships. This kid is a center that we’ve really been needing some depth. And this guy is a guy that can provide it for us. He’s a long guy, he is very strong. If you know anything about Texas off-season, those guys are going to go through the off-season every day, it’s going to be a grind and they’re going to be strong. Those linemen are going to go through power lifting, and they’re going to be in the weight room.
So this guy is strong. He played on one of the more productive leagues in that level of play there in 4A in Texas. But this guy does a lot of great things. Some of the great things that we really like about him is his ability to get out on screens and still be able to control his body to log people. Understands pass protection. A really talented player and excited about having Jack.
All right, next dude. Tony Hull strikes again. Another dude from Louisiana. Spent a lot of time down in the boot this year with those guys. Man, Tony’s just where it starts. There are some terrific coaches down there, and loved our time down there this year. I know you’re getting bored of me talking about it, but you’re going to have to put up with it because they’re great. I love these guys down there, met a lot of great coaches. This player right here is one of the finer ones in that entire area that’s full of great football players. A very, very explosive guy. A guy that’s a play maker. Often really said by most of the coaches down there that this might have been the best receiver in that area this year, which is high praise with as many high-ranked guys as there are down there.
This kid does a lot of things on special teams for you that makes you excited. He can take it. He’s got that top-end gear, he can take it to the house. He does things for you in special teams that you don’t see a lot of guys do that you get excited about. His acceleration is terrific. Very good sized guy, very good sized guy. Coach Jones is a coach there. He’s a stud. These guys do a heck of a lot with not a lot. These guys are amazing to go talk to because they don’t require a lot. They just want to work. This guy does a great job of making play after play after play.
Like I said, everywhere we go down there, everybody’s talking about Takulve. We call him TK. This dude made so many plays this year in one of the most difficult leagues in the country. I’m not talking about in that city, but in the country. There are some ballers out there. All right? So that’s kind of the guys that we basically added to our program today, and we’re excited about all those guys.
Now, I’m going to let Jeff run this, and I’m going to recap a couple things that we did in December, just some guys that we added. You guys probably remember Peyton Bender, who is a quarterback that came to us from Itawamba. He was a teammate of Octavius. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Coach Coleman down there who has been a great help to us, Coach DuBuc down in Cardinal Gibbons in Florida who has been a great help to us. Peyton’s mom and dad were a great help to us. Terrific folks, man. Mike Bender, Kelly Bender are among some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Excited to have them as part of our family.
Hasan Defense. You’ll be seeing him here in just a second. I always mess around with our coaches and I ask them — we do a little deal where we say who is your dark horse in the class? And it’s amazing how many people said this guy right here. Hasan’s a talented dude now out of Kilgore, but out of Florida, Jacksonville, got to meet his mom and dad. His dad is an official for one of the college leagues out there.
But this guy’s a talented dude. We hope that great things are in store for him, and I know he’s going to compete like crazy. J.J. Eckert, long-time friend of mine, a head coach down there at Kilgore was really helpful for us in that.
This next dude that you’re going to see, man, don’t be fooled by that hair now. I mean, he’s a fancy guy. Actually, J.J. Holmes is one that all of our coaches are excited about. Very talented guy. Rion Rhoades, you know, down there at Hutch did a terrific job of helping us with this kid. He’s one of the better D-linemen that was out in the junior college ranks this year. He’s a terrific player. The thing that’s even better about him is his mom and dad, John and Pamela. They live down in the (indiscernible) area and mom and dad run a tree-cutting business where they deliver firewood and things like that. The thing I love about this is every time that kid goes home, he’s working with the rest of those kids. They don’t like going home just a whole lot because they’re going to work harder at home than they are here. And that’s one thing that makes us have a great player there, because of his work ethic.
Another guy that’s new to us, a kid named Kerr Johnson out of California, a guy that we kind of got on a little bit late, kind of hit him a little bit, but, man, I’m glad this guy’s here. Very quick, explosive, great catch radius. Has already picked up our entire offense, can play any of the spots already. Finishes runs in the end zone.
Kerr’s a lot bigger than I thought he was. That’s what you hope, when you get to see him that he’s going to be bigger than he looks on tape. The things I like about him is this type of stuff right here. Most guys get tackled right there and he pulls away. And he does it time after time. There are several plays on his tape that you see a guy that he does a great job after the catch. When we find guys like that, we want to put them on our team because there are a lot of guys that can get tackled, there’s not many that can catch it and go do something with it after they do. That ol’ boy right there had a tough day against him. I like this kid. He won’t say boo. He doesn’t talk. I’m pretty sure he’s mute. But he can play, and I like this ol’ boy. He’s a tough dude. So looking forward to that in him.
Another dude, Kyron Johnson. Coach, you can keep letting them run, that way I don’t stay up here. This dude can run. He’s a legit 4.3 guy. There are very few 4.4s out there, and few 4.5s, this guy can flat fly, and he will knock you out. We’ve discovered him in a practice, and he’s already bigger. He’s 6’2″, closer to 265 pounds now. This guy is the type of guy that you want. TCU had a guy a number of years back named James Washington that played in Irving High School. Took him, and he played in the NFL for a long time. And he looks a lot like that guy. He looks a lot like him. He had a lot of the same attributes. So like that guy.
Shakial Taylor is next. Shak started for South Dakota State in our first game here. Excited about having this guy here. Long guy. His brother plays in the NFL for the Houston Texans. His grandma, just great. Great people, man. She came on the visit, and this guy does a great job, man. We went back and watched that tape against us, and for a guy that was a true freshman, he played really well in that game, did a good job. We’re excited about him being here.
Who was that next? Was that Willie? Willie. Okay, just saw Willie. I think he did an interview. How did he do? Is anybody in there? He’s pretty good. Good, good, I’m not surprised. Well-spoken guy. This guy’s a talented dude now. A guy that gives us that pass-rush that we needed. We certainly needed to be able to find some people to help replace Damani Mosby. I think him and KeyShaun (Simmons) are both guys that we have high hopes for and they’re already here.
KeyShaun Simmons, another D-linemen out of Jackson, Mississippi. Both of these two guys Micah Davis found us. He’s one of our graduate assistants. His dad’s a head coach down there in the junior college ranks in Mississippi. Helped us find Peyton, helped us find Octavius. If you’re a graduate assistant, that’s how you make your name. He found four really great players, and I take my hat off to him.
But this guy, KeyShaun, a lot bigger than what we thought he was. We think he can move down into a three technique if we needed him too. But he runs well enough to play on that outside.
I know that was a lot. I appreciate you putting up with me for that while. But I wanted to answer a lot of the questions up front because we’re not going to take a ton. We’ve been here too long, and you guys are probably like, I’m ready to be done.
So I’m excited about the class, man. Let’s take some questions.
Q. Dom Williams and Octavius Smith, could you see them on the field at the same time? Should Dom not be worried about Octavius?
DAVID BEATY: Oh, Dom’s not worried about anything. Dom’s not worried about competing with anybody, which is what I love about him. To answer your question, absolutely, they’ll be on the field together. They may not be in the same position at the same time, but it’s going to be nice to have the luxury of being able to line Dom up in the back field and line Octavius up in the back field and motion Octavius out to four and four wides to three wides, and whatever it is we need to do, and be able to stay in the same personnel routine. Because that’s where people start changing personnel groupings is when you sub people. We think this guy gives us a big leg up that way because we keep him on the field and can do a lot with him. We’ll hand him the ball some. He’s a really good running back.
The thing that’s going to be great for him is how many different ways we get him the ball. That’s what we’re most excited about with this guy. If he’s better running the football, we’ll hand it to him. If he’s better catching it, we’ll throw it to him. If he’s better at both, we’ll do both.
We’re going to have to wait and see. Let me say this, I’m excited about these guys, but they’ve got to go earn it. I mean, they’re not like anyone else, we don’t know. We won’t know for a couple years. That’s yet to be seen. And that’s the great thing about sitting where we sit right now. It’s not about what anybody says, it’s about what they do.
Q. Who in this class would you consider a sleeper?
DAVID BEATY: I like Jay Dineen a lot. I think his demeanor is one that just — I don’t think he’s a sleeper, but I like him a lot. I love Dom Williams. I think he’s a terrific player. If I were going to say a sleeper, I’d say it would have to be Quan Hampton. I mean, I think that dude can do a lot. I love his demeanor. He’s tough, he’s a no-nonsense guy, strong. I love that kid. I think he’s going to be a terrific player.
Liam Jones is another guy that sticks out to me. He’s a guy, boy, it ain’t a big deal until it’s a big deal. It ain’t a big deal, until it’s a big deal. I just feel like he’s a guy, I’m sleeping a little better at night right now knowing that he’s a Jayhawk.
Q. Your in-state progress, how much of it was progress with your staff and how much was it just being a good year in Kansas? It seems like a lot of D-1 recruits from the state and FCS recruits?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, I think there’s a lot bit of both there. I think that the consistent work by our staff is starting to pay off a little bit. Because there is a trust factor there whether we want to admit it or not. You’ve got to prove it to people, and that’s done over time. It’s not done overnight. There are a lot of good players in the state. That was not the only ones we targeted. We didn’t get them all, but we got quite a few of them.
When you look at the tape, they’re all pretty good players. And we’ll see what they do here. I’m excited that we’ve added that number of Kansans and now we’re closing the gap on that Kansas identity. We’re never going to be a 100 percent Kansas team, but nobody’s going to be there 100 percent I don’t think. But we’ll work towards getting that Kansas identity back.
Q. The chance that Dom will grow quick kind of a big recruiting pitch for a lot of these guys, especially those skilled players that you talked about?
DAVID BEATY: Well, I think if you know anything at all about ball, I mean, there’s people that lie about that, it’s going to come down to what you do. I’m not going to tell anybody they’re going to play. You’re going to have to earn it. And that’s what we — we mark people off the list when they prove to us that they don’t want to compete, because we’re not going to be able to do what we need to do here if you’re not going to be a competitor. And we don’t have time for you to learn how to become one. You either or are you’re not. Some people have that luxury. We don’t.
Q. You have a strong number of JUCO players. Talk about their value as you see it moving forward?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, obviously a lot of people in our profession will fill their needs. We’re not going to just go get JUCO players. We’re going to try to target qualifiers first. We did that in this class with a number of these people. Peyton Bender was a qualifier. You’re talking about Shakial was a qualifier, Kerr was a qualifier, Kyron Johnson was a qualifier. We want to make sure that we’re filling our team with academic, successful type people, and then we take some risks, but we have enough people around them to where it can help foster the growth of those individuals and not the other way around.
But what we feel like we did here was we addressed some needs where we couldn’t afford to wait on young guys to get ready and to play themselves ready. And I think that was the thing that we did here particularly on the D-line. Being able to give Dorance some help on the other side, I think, was critical. Not just the pass-rush side, obviously, because we’ve got other guys that are going to be terrific players that are already here. But we needed some six technique type bodies that can help us, and we needed some down linemen inside. I’m fired up about J.J. I just hope he can continue to produce like he’s been producing to this point. Because everything’s pointing up on him right now.
Q. Coach, how much did you talk to Joe about Jay, and maybe how you describe what it was like recruiting a younger brother?
DAVID BEATY: I talked to him quite a bit, but we live in Lawrence, so my daughter goes to school with him. I know the family really, really well, because it’s Joe’s mom and dad. So, unfortunately for Jay and all the other ones, I probably know more than they want me to know, to be honest with you. Which is good. But they’re a terrific family. If you haven’t met Joe and Jodi, I mean, it’s a treat. They’re great people. I just haven’t heard many people in this city say anything but just glowing things about them.
Q. Was this class more satisfying, with the level of talent that you’re bringing in?
DAVID BEATY: I think each class has its own unique feel. And, hey, man, I learn just like our players do. I’m getting experience on the job here too. One of the things that I have learned as a head coach, and I knew it as an assistant, but I guess you have to learn it over as a head coach, it’s going to take a couple years. You just don’t know until they learn how to do laundry and they learn how to change their own oil and do stuff like that. There are just a lot of things with young guys.
But the level of player in this class I think is pretty high. But we’ll see, we’ll see. Hopefully they can continue to do that at this college level. I’m excited about them. They give us some dynamic players, which is one of those three things we talked about having a year from today, yesterday — a year from today, when we talked about our goals, we felt like we wanted to meet those things. We kept trying to make sure that we were doing that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports