We wrap up our two-part Q&A with Scout Director of Recruiting Brandon Huffman on the challenges facing Kansas as they look to build on their impressive start to the 2018 class.
Part one here.
On the Tony Hull influence in landing the Louisiana recruits
Huffman: "I think the Hull hire paid off just a couple weeks ago when he got all those guys to get on board. Per capita, Louisiana and Mississippi have the most Division 1 talent in state. With Beaty's ties to Texas, that was probably going to be the lifeline of recruiting and who they are going to target. But now you have another variable where you can get those kids from Louisiana because of connections with someone who coached in Louisiana. They are really trying to make major in-roads in the state. There's enough talent in Louisiana and LSU is going to recruit nationally — not everybody is going to get the attention they want from LSU. Having been a high school coach in New Orleans, that was huge. It brings another fertile recruiting area. Just getting these Louisiana kids to commit and tweet their commitments is big. Holding on to them will be even a bigger story, but they've got more recruiting buzz than ever before. Now other kids in Louisiana are wanting to know, 'what's going on at Kansas?' That's getting more kids curious, and is also going to get guys from Arkansas and Oklahoma to start giving them a look as well. It's all because of the Hull hire."
On the importance of showing demonstrative improvement on the field in 2017
Huffman: "You want to see the sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You would love to see them get to 6-6 and make a bowl game, but right now it's just baby steps. KU fans are going to be happy if they go 3-9 or 4-8 and then get to that 6-6 the next year, then eventually those seven and eight-win seasons. I think for recruiting, they want to see some sort of corner being turned. They want to see that it's not some 0-12 team that they're going to. This is a team that beat Texas. This is the team that essentially got Charlie Strong fired. They were close against Iowa State, they hung with Kansas State longer than people expected. There were signs during the season where you could see progress was being made. The more improvement you show, the easy it is to sell the talent that they are the one missing piece. 'If you come here, we're going to play you and you can get us back to a bowl game.' Just seeing that progress will make a big difference. That will give them a chance to start some of that talent as freshmen and sophomores. When they're juniors and seniors, all the sudden they have 36 starts under their belt, and they turn the corner completely. Then it become even easier, because recruits see tangible evidence that the program is being turned around."
On where Kansas will target geographically moving forward.
Huffman: "You always get worried when a coach is hired that he might live and die with recruiting results from a certain region. Him hiring Hull last year, shows that it would be great to just recruit in Texas, because that's his history. He's going to make Texas a priority, but instead of just living and dying there, he decided to hire Hull and get into Louisiana. That was a forward-thinking hire that allowed them to expand their recruiting net. Who would have though Louisiana would be sending kids to Kansas? But he makes that hire, and it pays off. That right there is what gets programs turned around quickly. When coaches get out of their comfort zone and hire coaches they don't have a lot of familiarity with, but they see the big picture is in terms of getting key players out of key states. That was a big deal."