Excitement is in the air in Lawrence, Kansas with the continued improvement Coach Mark Mangino and staff continue to display on the field and in the recruiting circles. The future of the Jayhawk program could take another step forward this weekend, as the Jayhawks will be hosting several of the Midlands and Southwest's premier prospect.
The one bit of discouraging news this weekend is that junior college linebacker Steve Octavien has canceled his official visit to Kansas, and will make his way out to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Jayhawks badly want to sign one or two junior college linebackers in this class, and Octavien was as good as they come. One of the fastest linebackers in the nation, Octavien was whom the Jayhawks had their eyes set on to this point.
Kansas will still be on the search for junior college linebackers, but may now be forced to sign a May graduate rather than a mid-year transfer.
Kansas will still be hosting one potential mid-year transfer in Coffeyville defensive tackle Wayne Wilder. Kansas is also badly in need of instant help along the defensive line, and landing Wilder would be an excellent addition. The Jayhawks will have a very good opportunity to push for a verbal commitment this weekend.
Texas has been a hot recruiting area for the Jayhawks ever since Coach Mangino's arrival, and this recruiting class is expected to reflect that even further. Kansas will bring in close friends Raimond Pendelton, Jacob Lacey, and Justin Edwards all from the Dallas area in hopes the three friends hope to play together in Lawrence. All three are very aware of red-shirt freshman wide receiver Dexton Fields, who graduated from Oak Cliff High School in Dallas, and when recruiting the Lone Star state, familiarity always pays large dividends.
Alongside Lacey at the cornerback position, Kansas will give its best attempt to sway Missouri Tiger commit Chad Washington over to Lawrence. Landing Lacey and Washington would give the Jayhawks two pure cover corners to build around in the future
Kansas is also hoping this weekend they will have two receivers to build their future around in Raimond Pendelton and James McDonald. Kansas is sitting well with both prospects, and the lure of early playing time has both of them excited. Kansas knows it is missing some more pieces at the skill position before it'll be able to take the next step in the Big 12, and landing these two would be tremendous catches.
The Jayhawks also should be in good position to land of the Midlands top sleepers this weekend in defensive end Russell Brorsen. Failed to be located on many program's radars, Brorsen has been coveted by the Jayhawks this entire fall. His toughness, physical style of play, and overall demeanor will make him a good fit in a Jayhawk uniform.
Now, looking locally, this weekend has the potential for the Jayhawks to make a huge statement. Kansas has the opportunity to really step up as a program to be reckoned in the MO/KAN region as they host Kerry Meier, James Stigall, and Justin Thornton.
The Jayhawks have not won many recruiting battles against Kansas State and Missouri since Coach Mangino's arrival, but that could change this recruiting season. Kansas only wants to sign one quarterback in this class, and the door has been completely opened for the Jayhawks to take the youngest Meier away from his older siblings in Manhattan. The biggest coup this weekend would be for Kansas to land a commitment from Kerry Meier.
Kansas almost scored big when Jaron Baston scheduled an official visit before deciding to stick with his commitment to Missouri. Still, they will be hosting his teammate, James Stigall, who has long been considered a lean to Missouri, and the lure of early playing time will once again be a big draw.
The Jayhawks have been considered a favorite for Justin Thornton, and could really solidify their position with a good visit this weekend. Missouri's status with the Kansas City Rockhurst program appears to be up in the air after wide receiver D.J. Hord canceled his official visit to Missouri in order to visit Kansas State, and the Jayhawks also could make a big push for Allan Smith later this month.
All and all, this is shaping up to the biggest recruiting weekend under Mark Mangino, yet. Once again, it could play a huge factor not only in how this recruiting class shapes out, but to the future of the Jayhawk program.