LAWRENCE — 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.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
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.
|Ronnie Davis||DB||6-1||170||Northeastern Oklahoma A&M|
|Keyon Haughton||OL||6-2||295||Georgia Military (Milledgeville, Ga.)|
|Anthony Smithson||DB||6-0||180||Hartnell College (Salinas, Calif.)|
|Corey Avery||ATH||5-10||170||Carter HS (Dallas)|
|Matthew Boateng||DB||6-0||180||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)|
|Jacob Bragg||OL||6-4||308||Nacogdoches (Texas) HS|
|Darious Crawley||WR||5-11||191||Cypress Ridge HS (Houston)|
|Joe Dineen||DB||6-2||197||Lawrence Free State HS|
|Josh Ehambe||LB||6-3||230||Prime Prep Academy (Arlington, Texas)|
|Kapil Fletcher||DE||6-4||255||Hartnell College (Salinas, Calif.)|
|Bobby Hartzog||WR||5-11||182||Westside HS (Houston)|
|LayTrion Jones||DT||6-3||285||Garland (Texas) HS|
|DeAndre Mann||RB||5-10||205||Hartnell College (Salinas, Calif.)|
|Damani Mosby||DE||6-3||235||Mesa (Ariz.) Community College|
|Derrick Neal||WR||5-10||155||Lincoln HS (Dallas)|
|Anthony Olobia||DE||6-5||230||Arizona Western Community College|
|Tyler Patrick||WR||5-11||171||The Woodlands HS (The Woodlands, Texas)|
|Apa Visinia||OL||6-5||380||Grandview HS|
|Kyron Watson||LB||6-0||226||East St. Louis (Ill.) HS|
|D.J. Williams||DT||6-3||270||Lufkin HS (Lufkin, Texas)|
|Devon Williams||OT||6-5||335||Georgia Military (Milledgeville, Ga.)|
|Daniel Wise||DE||6-2||242||Hebron HS (Lewisville, Texas)|
|Traevohn Wrench||RB||6-0||180||Gardner Edgerton HS|