When Kansas’ 2012 football season was drawing to a close, head coach Charlie Weis was anxious to hit the road recruiting, anxious to erase the memories of a 1-11 first campaign by turning the program around in 2013.
"I can't recruit fast enough. If I could recruit that Saturday night, I'd be out there," Weis said prior to the season finale at West Virginia.
On Wednesday, the hard work of Weis and his coaching staff paid dividend, as the Jayhawks landed nine National Letter of Intents from a wide variety of talent athletes who will arrive in Lawrence ready to compete and make a lasting impact on the program’s turnaround.
The highlight of the class is arguably the nation’s top junior college recruit in Pierce College (California) defensive lineman Marquel Combs.
At 6-3 310 pounds, Combs will bring a nastiness and ability to make plays every time he lines up. Combs has also gained notoriety of late, being in essence, the lead recruiter of many Kansas recruits. Combs created the concept of “Dream Team 2013” in reference to Kansas football this coming year. He often sent out tweets with it as a hashtag and fellow recruits caught on. Combs even went so far as to design a logo depicting it.
Combs is one of four highly touted JUCO defensive line recruits joining the program.
City College of San Francisco defensive lineman Chris Martin (6-4 260) was a former Army All-American and five star prospect, coming out of high school. One look at his film and it’s no surprise many school wanted him to choose them.
Hinds Community College’s Tedarian Johnson bring similar size at 6-3 260 pounds and like Martin, can get to the ball fast.
Trinity Valley Community College defensive tackle Ty McKinney has size similar to Combs at 6-3 310 pounds.
Martin’s CC of San Francisco teammate Ngalu Fusimalohi (6-3 300) adds needed depth on the offensive line, as will Iowa Western CC lineman Mike Smithburg (6-3 300). With graduation decimating the offensive line, these two will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact.
In the secondary, the Jayhawks scored a couple of dynamic playmakers in Butler Community College defensive back Dexter McDonald (6-1 205) and Arizona Western cornerback Cassius Sendish (6-2 185) will bring needed help to a secondary that will have mostly new faces next fall.
Rounding out the Wednesday signings was De Anza College punter/kicker Trevor Pardula, who will bring needed help to a position that may have been the team’s biggest weakness in 2012.
In the end, the success of the Kansas coaches in luring such talent to Lawrence came back to a simple recruiting philosophy that assured Weis he would have success even after a 1-11 season.
“Do you want to play three years from now?” Weis said in November. “Or do you want to compete next year.”
Weis will reflect and take question from the media on Wednesday signings at his season ending press conference, Thursday morning.