National Signing Day for college football is Wednesday, Feb. 1. Here is a breakdown of the Kansas Jayhawks’ 2017 recruiting class that is expected to sign that day.
KU’s top five recruits
Name Pos. Rank* Ht. Wt. School
1. Dominic Williams RB 546-HS 5-8 185 Independence (Texas)
Williams comes to KU as the 10th all-time leading rusher in Texas high school football history of the state of Texas and improved after he added weight between his junior and senior year. “He’s always had good moves and vision,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jon Kirby said. “This year he ran with more power, which I think made him more of a complete back.”
2. Hasan Defense CB 79-JUCO 6-0 180 Kilgore (Texas) CC
KU coach David Beaty said Defense, who signed with KU in mid-December, should give KU size and speed on the outside. “I think that he’s a guy that’s going to help us fill that void that our two senior corners left,” Beaty said. “I think that he can come in and compete to win that job.”
3. Willie McCaleb DE 88-JUCO 6-2 255 Northwest Mississippi CC
In December, Beaty described McCaleb as a “dynamic” player who has the potential to take away attention from KU’s other defensive end, All-Big 12 first-teamer Dorance Armstrong. “Man, we’re going to like Willie McCaleb,” Beaty said. “He can run.”
4. Peyton Bender QB 117-JUCO 6-0 187 Itawamba (Miss.) CC
Beaty has already announced that Bender will compete in the spring with Carter Stanley for the starting quarterback position. Bender, who previously played under coach Mike Leach at Washington State for two years, has a quick release and also familiarity with the spread offense Beaty has installed at KU.
5. J.J. Holmes DT 119-JUCO 6-2 310 Hutchinson CC
In December, Beaty described Holmes as a big, strong, fast defensive lineman with an impressive first step. The staff’s hope is that he can become similar to teammate Daniel Wise, who earned Pro Football Focus All-Big 12 honors last season.
*Ranking according to 247Sports.
Ones who got away
Offensive lineman Grant Polley (Colorado), defensive end Troy James (Oklahoma) and Zack McKinney (Oklahoma) all originally committed to KU. This perhaps can be seen as a positive, as the Jayhawks’ coaches appear to be diagnosing talented guys early in the process.
Still fishing for
KU still could be searching for more depth at defensive end or safety after losing players such as Fish Smithson, Greg Allen, Damani Mosby and Cameron Rosser to graduation.
The Jayhawks needed to restock at cornerback after losing their three starting defensive backs (including the nickel), and they did a good job with four players in the class, including two juco transfers. One to watch is 6-foot-2 Robert Topps from Chicago, a Rivals three-star player who Kirby says “has long arms and is incredibly strong.”
Though KU has only two offensive line commitments, it appears to be counting on previous additions to fill in the gaps. The Jayhawks received a boost last year from freshman walk-on Hakeem Adeniji, who started at left tackle, and also picked up Alabama transfer Charles Baldwin, who will be eligible in 2017.
Itawamba (Miss.) CC
Kilgore (Texas) JC
Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC
Northwest Mississippi CC
Pearl River (Miss.) CC
Mesa (Ariz.) CC
Lawrence Free State
St. Augustine (La.)