LAWRENCE — It was easy to see that the Kansas football program had plenty of needs after Charlie Weis first season as head coach.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
Defensive line. Secondary. Receiver. The list went on.
Weis, of course, was able to check off most of the boxes with a 2013 recruiting class that was heavy on junior college talent. But if there was a glaring hole, it was at offensive tackle, where the graduation of four-year starter Tanner Hawkinson left a sizeable void.
On Wednesday night, Weis landed a big body to fill that hole. Pearce Slater, a 6-foot-8, 340-pound offensive lineman, signed with the Jayhawks and will be eligible to play this fall.
Slater, who will be classified a redshirt sophomore, started last season at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. He took a visit to KU in June, and when it was discovered that Slater could be eligible this fall, the Kansas coaching staff put on the full-court press.
When I was on my visit, we talked about how I could possibly get out this summer and be ready in August, Slater told the recruiting website Rivals.com. We looked over everything and I talked with (head academic counselor) Paul Buskirk about it. When we found that out, the Kansas coaches said they really wanted me to be there.
Slater, a native of Hawthorne, Calif., is the 30th player to join the Jayhawks in the class of 2013. He probably would have been one of the top junior-college targets in the 2014 class. (Before signing with KU, he already had picked up offers from Texas Tech, Arizona State and Utah.) But instead, he will compete for time on the Jayhawks revamped offensive line.
The Jayhawks also added junior college offensive linemen Ngalu Fusimalohi, Zach Fondal and Mike Smithburg in the 2013 class.
I am very excited to get to Kansas and compete, Slater told Rivals.com. The coaches told me I could help right away, but I know I have to get in there and work. I have to see what it is like to adjust. Coming from junior college to Division I there will be an adjustment, but I am ready for it.