By Nick Ratliff
Welcome to the second edition of the Recruiting Trail blog. There is a TON of information to get into this week, so let’s get right into it:
First off, the only real information to give on the football recruiting front is that three in-state players who have already committed to the Jayhawks for the 2013 class attended the season opening win against South Dakota State last Saturday. Quarterbacks Jordan Darling from Shawnee Mission East in Prairie Village (my alma mater, Go Lancers!) and Montell Cozart from Bishop Miege in Roeland Park, KS and tight end Ben Johnson from Basehor-Linwood High School in Basehor, KS were all present at the game, representing the future of Kansas football. All three players went into the locker room and spoke with some of the current players after the win.
Also in football recruiting, 3-star junior college offensive tackle prospect Devonte Danzey from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College recently named Kansas his leader in his recruitment. Now, as you will find out through the course of this blog, a recruit saying something in the media about a school leading does not mean much until he puts a pen to a National Letter of Intent. However, Charlie Weis and staff should feel good about their chances landing the 6’3”, 285 pound tackle.
Moving on to basketball, it’s safe to say that the next few weeks will be some of the busiest of this recruiting year for Kansas coach Bill Self and his staff. With a number of on-campus and in-home visits with some of the nation’s top players, this is a very crucial time for Self and company. First of all, as I talked at length about in last week’s blog, Anthony, “Cat” Barber, one of the top point guards in the nation, visited Kansas’ campus on Saturday for the first football game of the season. Barber is keeping very quiet in the media regarding his recruitment, but has told many different sources that his visit to Lawrence could not have gone any better.
Speaking of official visits to Lawrence, two more players have scheduled visits this past week. Four star small forward Tyler Roberson from Roselle, New Jersey and four star big man Karviar Shepard from Dallas, Texas have both scheduled their official visits to KU’s campus on October 12th, which is when Late Night in the Phog will take place. When a player takes an “official” visit, it means that the school is paying for airfare and other expenses for the player to come. There are certain periods that the NCAA permits recruits to take official visits to campuses.
Now finally we move to the slew of in-home visits that Bill Self and his staff will conduct with players in the next three weeks. On September 10th, some of Self’s staff will travel to Mishawaka, Indiana and visit four star point guard Demetrious Jackson. The 6’1” 185 pound guard is widely looked at as a backup plan if Anthony Barber decides to go elsewhere. However, the Kansas coaching staff is still recruiting Jackson hard.
The day after they visit Jackson, Bill Self and assistant Joe Dooley will go to Hampton, Virginia and continue their courtship of Anthony “Cat” Barber. Just a little more than a week after he visits the campus of KU, Self and staff will continue to try to convince Barber that Kansas is the right place for him.
The next day on September 12th, part of the Kansas staff will travel down to Plano, Texas and conduct a visit with the new #1 player in the country, power forward Julius Randle. Randle went on a tear this past summer in AAU play, and it’s safe to say that any program in the nation would love to have Randle on their team next season. Randle is a former high school teammate of freshman Kansas big man Zach Peters.
After Randle’s visit, Self and his staff get a few days off before they travel to California for a couple of very important in-home visits. Self and staff will first visit four star forward Marcus Lee in Antioch, California. Lee is an elite shot blocker and defensive specialist that possesses very good athleticism. Next up on September 25th, the Kansas staff will visit five star power forward Aaron Gordon in San Diego. Gordon, the #5 player according to Rivals and #6 nationally according to ESPN, with his superior athletic ability and violent dunks, is frequently compared to NBA superstar Blake Griffin. Kansas is battling a bevy of west coast schools for Gordon’s services.
Well, that was a ton of information to throw at you, and I hope you kept up with it all. See you next week.
Listen to Nick Ratliff with host Nick Schwerdt, Co-host Joe Fuentes and producer Chris Schaeder on the Friday Night Sports Express, Fridays from 6-7 PM on 90.7 KJHK.