University of Kansas

KU football signing class shows more balance of high school, juco players

Updated: 2014-02-06T04:35:23Z

By RUSTIN DODD

The Kansas City Star

— There are a couple of old truths about college football’s national signing day: For a day, every recruit supposedly runs a blazing 40-yard dash, and every two-star recruit is an overlooked sleeper.

It’s a day for dreamers. And at a place like Kansas, where the future often holds more promise than the present, it’s a day for hope.

Entering his third year on the job, KU coach Charlie Weis will settle for filling holes. The Jayhawks’ 2014 class is — for the moment — officially at 25 players after 20 signed Wednesday. The class also includes three junior-college players who signed in December and two transfers: Former UCLA quarterback T.J. Millweard, who took part in practice as a walk-on in the fall, and former Florida tight end Kent Taylor, who arrived on campus in January.

“I’m very pleased with this recruiting class,” Weis said Wednesday, in a news release announcing the class. “Our staff had to show good patience, and through hard work we filled almost every pressing need.”

One year after Weis and his staff loaded up on junior-college reinforcements, Kansas struck a more delicate balance this time around, signing 15 high school players and eight from the juco ranks. As a whole, the class ranked ninth in the Big 12 and 55th nationally, according to Rivals.com. (The Jayhawks were sandwiched between TCU and Iowa State in the conference recruiting battle).

But for two seasons, Weis has preached a pretty familiar recruiting motto: He’s looking for junior-college players who provide immediate help — and high school players who want to grow and develop at Kansas. Weis appeared to accomplish both on Wednesday, while also landing a couple of rare blue-chippers.

Weis couldn’t gush about his latest batch of recruits; the winter storm that hit the area pushed back a signing-day news conference to Thursday.

But here are some of the highlights:

• Gardner Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench, the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Kansas, joins a stable of talented running backs after a prolific prep career. Rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals, Wrench rushed for 2,091 yards and 30 touchdowns in his senior season. He’s joined atop on the class by running back Corey Avery, a Dallas native ranked as a four-star recruit by ESPN.com. Avery, who had various degrees of interest (and offers) from Ohio State, Nebraska and Texas, committed earlier this week, a late coup for Weis. He could provide a immediate help on special teams — or even as a slot receiver.

• On the junior-college front, Weis added two talented players at defensive end: Anthony Olobia, a three-star recruit from Arizona Western Community College, and Damani Mosby of Mesa Community College. Olobia and Mosby were among six defensive linemen in the class, the most of any position group.

• Addressing a major need, Kansas signed four offensive linemen. The group included three-star recruit Jacob Bragg, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound prospect from Nacogdoches, Texas, and Apa Visinia of Grandview.

• In addition to Wrench and Visinia, the Jayhawks added a third local product by signing Lawrence Free State defensive back Joe Dineen, a three-star recruit. KU also recognized former Shawnee Mission West standout Andre Maloney, who committed last summer but died in October after suffering a stroke in a game.

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
Ronnie DavisDB6-1170Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
Keyon HaughtonOL6-2295Georgia Military (Milledgeville, Ga.)
T.J. MillweardQB6-3210UCLA
Anthony SmithsonDB6-0180Hartnell College (Salinas, Calif.)
Kent TaylorTE6-5238Florida

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
Corey AveryATH5-10170Carter HS (Dallas)
Matthew BoatengDB6-0180IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Jacob BraggOL6-4308Nacogdoches (Texas) HS
Darious CrawleyWR5-11191Cypress Ridge HS (Houston)
Joe DineenDB6-2197Lawrence Free State HS
Josh EhambeLB6-3230Prime Prep Academy (Arlington, Texas)
Kapil FletcherDE6-4255Hartnell College (Salinas, Calif.)
Bobby HartzogWR5-11182Westside HS (Houston)
LayTrion JonesDT6-3285Garland (Texas) HS
DeAndre MannRB5-10205Hartnell College (Salinas, Calif.)
Damani MosbyDE6-3235Mesa (Ariz.) Community College
Derrick NealWR5-10155Lincoln HS (Dallas)
Anthony OlobiaDE6-5230Arizona Western Community College
Tyler PatrickWR5-11171The Woodlands HS (The Woodlands, Texas)
Apa VisiniaOL6-5380Grandview HS
Kyron WatsonLB6-0226East St. Louis (Ill.) HS
D.J. WilliamsDT6-3270Lufkin HS (Lufkin, Texas)
Devon WilliamsOT6-5335Georgia Military (Milledgeville, Ga.)
Daniel WiseDE6-2242Hebron HS (Lewisville, Texas)
Traevohn WrenchRB6-0180Gardner Edgerton HS

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/rustindodd.

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