Jayhawks solid early with JUCO defender

With the season now over for the Kansas Jayhawks, the focus has once again turned hot and heavy to filling out the 2011 recruiting class.

Recently, Head Coach Turner Gill and his staff have begun to broaden their search parameters when scouring the country for talent to bring to Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., and this includes a closer examination of the junior college ranks.

One such JUCO gem is Tunde Bakare, a hybrid linebacker/safety from Highland (KS) Community College.

At 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, Bakare – whose full first name is actually Akintunde – has earned a reputation for packing a great deal of speed and power into a relatively small package, and it has a number of Division One college programs sitting up and taking notice.

Scholarship offers have arrived from Eastern Carolina, Kansas and, most recently, Minnesota, with additional interest coming in from the likes of Boise State, Arkansas and Michigan.

Though he's still in the learning stages of his recruitment, Bakare expects things to coalesce quickly and hopes to sign with a school on National Signing Day, Feb. 2.

Thus far, the Jayhawks have made a positive impression on the talented defender, due mostly to the coaching staff. Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt visited Highland approximately two weeks ago to formally extend the scholarship offer, and Bakare has also spoken with defensive coordinator Carl Torbush.

"I looked on the Internet and watched 'The Gridiron,'" he said, of the online documentary series produced by the Kansas athletics department. "I'm really interested in KU. I like their head coach; he's about to turn the program around, definitely."

Bakare has an official visit scheduled to East Carolina on the weekend of Jan. 14, and then will visit Kansas the following weekend.

"I like what I'm seeing so far," he said, of the Jayhawks. "I just want to see how the other players are on the team, and the fans – are they supportive of KU football? – and how the environment is down there."

This season at Highland, Bakare recorded 66 tackles in 8 games, including 6.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.

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