Kansas safety Ricky Thomas tried to be sneaky.
The New Orleans native propped up his cell phone, quietly recording video of new coach Les Miles as he shared a few comments during his first team meeting Sunday.
The moment, for Thomas, was surreal.
“I felt like I was in a dream when I was hearing him talk,” Thomas said. “I was staring at him, like, ‘It’s crazy. This is Les Miles in the building, a legend.’”
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After posting his Miles video in an Instagram story, Thomas said the feedback was immediate.
“All my friends at LSU were hitting me up,” Thomas said. “They were like, ‘Y’all got a good one. You’re going to love him.’”
Two days after Miles was officially introduced as KU’s next football coach, current players were able to share their thoughts about the Jayhawks’ new leader.
That included junior safety Mike Lee — also from New Orleans — who’d already heard from Louisiana high school prospects on social media in recent days; previously, running back coach Tony Hull was KU’s staff member in charge of recruiting Louisiana.
“Now since Les Miles is here, he’s been through that stage already. He knows where the talent’s at,” Lee said. “That just puts more eyes on the Louisiana guys.”
Junior receiver Daylon Charlot, from Patterson, La., said he immediately heard from both his mother and aunt when the Miles news was official. After coming to KU as an Alabama transfer, Charlot will now have a chance to play for both Nick Saban and Miles.
“That’s something great I can tell my kids,” Charlot said.
Perhaps the most excited person on KU’s roster, though, was the sophomore Thomas, who said his childhood aspiration was to play for Miles at LSU. He even attended one of Miles’ football camps growing up.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Thomas said. “I’ve been watching him since I was younger. Just to see him in person and wearing Kansas gear is kind of weird. I’m only used to seeing him in LSU gear.”
Thomas, from talking to friend Justin Reid, said he already knows the type of man Miles is. Reid was recruited by LSU out of Prairieville, La., before he eventually deciding to commit to Stanford.
Now a safety for the Houston Texans, Reid has told Thomas that Miles still invites him over to his house when he’s town to offer dinner with him and his family.
“I’m excited. I’m ready for next year,” Thomas said. “I know he’s definitely going to change the culture around here.”
That future won’t start for a few days. KU will play host to No. 11 Texas at 11 a.m. Friday, which will be the last game for current coach David Beaty. After that, KU’s players will be scheduled for one-on-one meetings with Miles.
Thomas, after following KU’s coaching search through online media reports the last two weeks, is relieved the process is over.
And also pleased with the result.
“It’s just shocking: Les Miles at Kansas,” Thomas said with a smile. “I still can’t believe it.”