University of Kansas

How Les Miles is landing prospects at KU: ‘We’ve put recruiting on fast forward’

Les Miles explains how he will evaluate success at KU

Les Miles explains how he will evaluate success at KU
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Les Miles explains how he will evaluate success at KU

This didn’t happen by accident.

Kansas football coach Les Miles says securing nine player commitments between June 21 and 25 — including seven in a 48-hour stretch — was the result of both preparation and tireless work by his assistants.

“We’ve put recruiting on fast forward,” Miles said Monday at Big 12 media days.

This area appears to have changed for the school from years past. Those around the program hint that one of Miles’ great strengths has been organization, especially a systematic approach to recruiting.

Miles explained some of his methods Monday. He said the staff started early by making up a list of players it needed to see on film; once the coaches studied them, they ranked each player at their position.

The actual recruiting comes next. Each assistant is designated his own geographical area, with position coaches also tagging along when targeting a specific player.

From there, Miles said a key was to remain in touch. He calls recruiting an “everyday undertaking,” and even revealed that he’d spoken to a prospect that morning before arriving at media days.

“We’re going to communicate by phone and we’re going to communicate by letter and text,” Miles said. “We’re going to communicate a bunch.”

It seems to have worked so far.

KU has 21 verbal commitments for the 2020 class, which includes 15 three-star players, according to Rivals. The Jayhawks also remain 25th in Rivals’ team rankings, though that number will drop some as other schools add to their classes.

The Jayhawks’ work isn’t done either. Football commitments are non-binding, meaning KU’s coaches will have hold off other programs if they hope to keep many of the players they’ve landed to this point.

It’s still a better position than the Jayhawks have been in recently. Just last season, former KU coach David Beaty — with his job security in question — had only one verbal commitment as late as October.

Miles didn’t hold back his excitement Monday when asked if he was pleased with the team’s early recruiting success.

“I think we did pretty good. What’d you think?” Miles said with a laugh. “I’m serious. I think we did pretty good. The opportunity to continue that ... we think we can recruit well.”

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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.
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