The Kansas Jayhawks can celebrate stability and a solid class in 2013. With coach Charlie Weis heading into his second year, he had made true on his promise to significantly upgrade the talent in which his staff has to work with. They will bring in a class of 25 (10 have already signed), which mixes a heavy blend of junior college transfers along with high school talent that could have Kansas poised to challenge for bowl contention in 2013.
The class is especially loaded on the defensive side of the ball, with the defensive line getting a complete overhaul. In addition, the line will add Ty McKinney, who was ineligible in 2012.
Overall, Jayhawk fans should be very pleased with the job Weis and his staff have done, coming off a 1-11 season. The thinking is simple, you can come to Kansas and play immediately and have a great impact on the program.
In November, Weis said his best recruiting classes have come after years like 2012 and the class will reflect it.
Let's take a look more in depth at the class.
DT Marquel Combs (6-3 310): Combs is a big time player and has in essence led the late charge for many players to join him at Kansas. Shortly before committing, Combs came up with the concept "Dream Team 2013" when talking about Kansas football. It became a theme, with a hashtag on his personal twitter page.
After playing JUCO ball at Pierce Community College in California, he will bring size, quickness and brut strength to the defensive tackle position and could wreak havoc in 2013. He's a versatile in that he can be used in different ways along the line. He has NFL caliber size and could be one of the biggest steals of class.
OLB Marcus Jenkins-Moore (6-3 210): Combs' teammate at Pierce is a special talent who can fly and should not be overlooked. Jenkins-Moore can get out in coverage and is fast in pursuit in the run. He could prove to be a big playmaker in defensive coordinator Dave Campo's scheme.
DE Chris Martin (6-5 260): Martin was once the top rated recruit at his position and was coveted by major programs. Landing the City College of San Francisco defensive end was a huge victory for Weis and Kansas and the video tells you why.
In Campo's 4-3 scheme, think of Martin playing the role that Charles Haley played on the great Dallas Cowboys defenses, when they were winning Super Bowls in the 1990's.
Martin is lightning quick rushing off the edge and is very active with his hands in knocking passes down. In pursuit, he shows every bit of his speed. But, when it comes to rushing the quarterback, his skill set will be a welcome addition, as Kansas looks to improve their defense in the high powered Big 12.
TE Ben Johnson (6-5 230): The Baeshor, KS native could make a big impact in Charlie Weis' offense because, while listed as a tight end, Johnson has played primarily wide receiver at Baeshor-Linwood High School. Johnson excels at yards after contact and could make a big impact on an offense that will only get better with new quarterback Jake Heaps, receiver Justin McCay and Kansas' plethora of good running backs led by James Sims.
Weis has the reputation for incorporating tight ends into his offense and putting them in positions to make plays. Johnson could very become the latest tight end to benefit from learning under Weis.
WR Ishmael Hyman (6-1 170): Though listed at 6-1, reports are that Hyman may be closer to 6-3. The way he goes about doing his job could eventually draw comparison to former Kansas receiver Dezmon Briscoe, who was a big time player for some of KU's best teams, including the 2007 12-1 Orange Bowl champion team.
Hyman could be the "X" receiver that Kansas has coveted. With 4.4 speed, Hyman is a tremendous route runner who was told by Weis to come in and expect to play immediately as a freshman. Hyman cited his relationship with Weis and his candid honesty as a primary factor why he is heading to Lawrence from his hometown of Holmdel, NJ.
One Who Got Away:
You could argue that this is tossup between CB Taylor Lewis (6-0 183) and OL Reeve Koehler (6-3 330). Lewis had verbally committed to Kansas, last summer before de-committing during the fall and committing to Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks made a great push on Lewis, including having Campo watching him play in person. Lewis would have added to already impressive class in the backfield.
Koehler is the most recent to slip through. Heading into Army All-American Game, Kansas seemed to be the frontrunner, with Arkansas a co-finalist. In the end, the impressive offensive lineman from Hawaii chose the Razorbacks, despite the best efforts of Weis and Offensive Line coach Tim Grunhard.
Position Of Need Filled:
The position Kansas needed filled was at defensive end and the staff hit home runs with Martin and Andrew Bolton (6-3 280), who will play strong side defensive end.
The Jayhawks defense will be much improved in 2013, returning everyone at tackle and adding talent at the ends and elsewhere.
Under Campo's scheme, the plan is simple: get talent players, keep it simple and put them in position to make plays. With the players the staff has assembled, look for big things next season.
Position Of Need Unmet:
If there's a position that was unmet, it's likely not adding a JUCO offensive tackle.
The class does consists of some good linemen in JUCO lineman Mike Smithburg (6-3 300) and the very impressive Joey Bloomfield, who as a senior in high school has great size at 6-6 300 and he promises to get bigger and better at Kansas.
But, the staff was hoping to add a tackle from the JUCO ranks and it didn't happen.
Biggest Need For 2014:
With the departure of James Sims and Taylor Cox and with Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon heading into their senior season, the staff will be sure to target running backs to add depth and replace the departing Sims and Cox.
The need sets things up perfectly to pursue Gardner-Edgerton running back Trevon Wrench, who is one of, if not the best prospect in the state of Kansas.