In the past Kansas was known for recruiting linemen that were a little bit smaller in size, in hopes that they could mold them into Big 12 caliber linemen and the results were often mixed.
Under head coach Charlie Weis and offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, the philosophy is to get big, tough and nasty guys that could start immediately if need be. They look for guys that are high character and humble off the field, but on the field, they are downright nasty and could be described as road graters.
They are also going about it by utilizing junior college transfers and blending them with a nice mix of superb high school talent that posses great size, strength and quickness.
They are doing a great job of doing just that, as they embark on year two at Kansas. In 2013, they added four offensive linemen. Three of them came from the JUCO ranks, while one came from high school.
The lone high school recruit, Joey Bloomfield, is a special player that ranks high among the Jayhawks coaches. Weis singled him out on National Signing Day, complimenting him on his skills and his character off of the field. On the field, he could become a phenomenal talent. Already at 6-6, 300, he will be sure to grow into a devastating lineman.
Meanwhile, the three junior college linemen, Ngalu Fusimalohi (6-3, 295), Zach Fondal (6-5, 290) and Mike Smithburg (6-3, 305) could all make big impacts in 2013, while shoring up the line, as Kansas replaces several starters from last season. They will also blend in with the linemen currently on the team. The goal is to have a very physical offensive line that will control the line of scrimmage and impose its will on opponents.
Looking ahead to 2014, the Jayhawks continued this offensive line strategy and made a big splash, landing a commitment from Nacogdoches (TX.) center Jacob Bragg. At 6-3, 300 pounds, the kid is as mean and nasty as it gets. He is one of the top rated offensive linemen in the country and what stands out about him most after all that being said, is his speed. He has been clocked at a 5.2 40-yard dash. That's incredible for a kid of his size.
His commitment was a big victory for Weis, Grunhard and lead recruiter Rob Ianello.
It also shows that Kansas will be a player in the recruiting game and the victories won't be as limited as some may think.
Looking into the future, it's very realistic to see Kansas have one of the best, smartest and most physical offensive lines in the Big 12, allowing them to do many different things on offense, which will make them a multi threat offense. From there, the seeds of the program that are being laid today will sprout up and pay big down the road.