University of Kansas

KU football added seven pledges this weekend — and, right now, has a top-20 class

If this all sticks, it could be considered one of the most significant weekends for the Kansas football team in years.

Coach Les Miles pulled in seven verbal commitments in the last 48 hours for KU’s class of 2020, which includes five players with three-star rankings in Rivals’ database.

“In 21 years of covering Kansas recruiting, it may be the biggest weekend I’ve ever seen,” said Jon Kirby, publisher at JayhawkSlant, which is part of the Rivals network. “I’ve never seen anything like this, especially this early.”

College football pledges are non-binding, meaning KU’s coaches will have work to do to secure these pledges until the early signing period in December.

Still ... if it holds, this KU class has the potential to be unprecedented.

The weekend’s additions moved KU into a tie for 20th nationally in Rivals’ 2020 team recruiting rankings. In addition, KU held the No. 2 spot in the Big 12 — ahead of every team except for Oklahoma.

247Sports’ rankings tell a similar story; KU ranks 28th nationally there and also second in the conference.

Kirby said the Jayhawks’ big weekend partly came together because of a recent change in NCAA rules, as high school recruits are now allowed to take official visits in the summer.

Seven of those players who made it to Lawrence this weekend didn’t wait long to declare their intentions.

One of the top KU commitments came from cornerback JaCobee Bryant, a Rivals three-star out of Evergreen, Alabama. Bryant, at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, is ranked the 47th best defensive back in the nation by Rivals and also the 419th player overall by 247Sports.

KU also added three offensive linemen. Garrett Jones — 6-4, 275 out of Berrien Springs, Michigan — is the three-star in the group, while two-stars Tommy Brandt (St. Paul, Minnesota) and Nicholas Martinez (Anaheim, California) also gave early commitments.

The Jayhawks’ other pledges were three-star prospects: defensive end Caleb Taylor from Florissant, Missouri, athlete Malik Johnson from The Woodlands, Texas, and defensive tackle Kenean Caldwell from Oak Grove, Louisiana.

Kirby believed Miles’ celebrity was part of the reason for KU’s early recruiting success.

“When you talk to all these recruits, they all mention Les Miles by name and speaking with him, and they all know who he is,” Kirby said. “I think there’s a little bit of star power there that attracts them.”

KU being able to land early commitments is a stark change from last season; at one point in October, former KU coach David Beaty — with his job security in question — had just one verbal commitment.

As it stands now, KU has 19 commitments for the 2020 class.

“At the University of Kansas, you just don’t see a team sitting on 15-plus commits sitting in the month of June,” Kirby said. “I think it’s a combination of having the ability to bring kids in on official visits this early and having a staff that worked this hard to build relationships this early and get kids in on campus.”

Don't have a KC Star subscription? Help support our sports coverage

If you already subscribe to The Star, thanks for your support. If not, our digital sports-only subscription is just $30 per year. It's your ticket to everything sports in Kansas City ... and beyond, and supports our award-winning coverage.
Related stories from Kansas City Star

Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.
  Comments