As a junior in 2011, Kellen Ash had 19 quarterback sacks.
Think about the enormity of that stat for a moment. In nine games, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker from Manchester (MO) Parkway South averaged better than two sacks per game, to go along with 87 total tackles and an interception.
The Jayhawks extended the speedy outside linebacker a scholarship offer in mid-March, and since then have kept up the pressure – a charge led by linebackers coach DeMontie Cross. He visited the campus late last month, and left impressed.
"I visited and everything and I really liked it," Ash said. "I loved the coaching staff and how family-oriented they were. They should they could progress and how I would impact that. I could see myself playing there and doing really well."
So much so, in fact, that Sunday he decided to put an end to his recruitment by giving a verbal commitment to Kansas during a phone call with Cross, who was understandably excited. Both he and Weis emphasized the importance of honoring his commitment to Ash, who agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment.
"I'm not looking at any other school," he said. "I'm just focusing on the Jayhawks."
At the moment, Ash is focused on the track season, during which he participates in the 100-meter dash, the 4 x 100 relay and the long jump. Already this season he has recorded a personal best of 11.25 seconds in the 100 meter, and believes he's getting stronger as the season enters the home stretch.
Once the off-season hits, it will be all about football and the weight room, as he tries to add a few more pounds and reach the 210-pound mark before his senior campaign begins. The Kansas staff has informed him they don't want him getting too heavy, he said, as they want him to keep the speed and quickness that has made him such a terror at the high school level.
"Two-twenty, 225 (pounds), something where I could keep my speed but help me still impact (the game)," he said, when asked at what weight he would play collegiately.
And putting the recruiting process behind him has already proven to be a big relief. Now, he can shift his focus exclusively to the future.
"It feels really good," Ash said, of making his decision early. "I don't have anything to worry about next year in recruiting. I got it over this year and I can just focus on me and football."
Ash hopes to attend the Kansas spring game April 28.