August 28: Recruiting, preseason roundup

Part of the appeal of hiring David Beaty was his ability to talk. The coach can talk for days and make friends with anyone. Will it translate to recruiting? It seems so, though the talent is still likely to be of the two-start variety. Beaty took over a shockingly-depleted roster. He used all of his tricks to find enough players to play this year. But it will mean cutting corners on the 2016 recruiting class.

Counting scholarships is fuzzy. Teams can award 25 scholarships in each recruiting year. But teams can only have 85 players on scholarship at once. That's rarely a problem. Teams plow through defections of all kinds and career-ending injuries in addition to graduations. Kansas has the opposite problem because in the past five years, it could not retain the players it brought in. The result is a lot of dead scholarships, slots that can't be used for a while. This is where the fuzzy math applies. Kansas can count a few current players forward to the next class, and it has to, if it wants enough players for this year. These are blue shirts. Gray shirts are players who were recruited this past year, but have delayed enrollment to spring. They will count in the next class.

By my count, the Jayhawks have 69 players on scholarship. That's it. K.U. will lose eleven players to graduation, and perhaps 12 if Michael Cummings is denied an additional season.

Blue shirts: 5
Joshua Stanford, WR
Marcquis Roberts, LB
LaQuivionte Gonzales, WR
Quincy Perdue, WR
Corey King, DT (will not play in 2016)
Stanford, Perdue and Roberts are eligible and playing this year, and they should be playing in 2016 too. Gonzales is a transfer not eligible in 2015 who will have a couple more years to play. King is a one-year rental for 2015, but his scholarship must count somewhere.
Gray shirts: 2
Shola Ayinde, CB
Cameron Durley, OT
Ayinde was in the 2015 class, but didn't show up for some reason. By all accounts, he is expected to enroll late and therefore would count in 2016. Cameron Durley would have had a scholarship in 2015 if we had enough of them. Therefore he is deferring as well.

At this point, we've already used seven scholarships, and one of those players won't be on the team in 2016. Then there's the case of Timmy Hamilton, a defensive end who left Arizona after a few days of fall practice and said he was coming to Kansas. He would have to sit out before having perhaps one year, maybe two to play. Does he get a scholarship too? Who knows. What about some of the walk-ons? But we're down to, at most, 18 scholarships to give.

Verbal committments: Junior College
Joe Malanga, OT
Manaia Perese, DE
Kurtis Taufa, LB
Kansas will always have to take some junior college players. All three come from Snow College in Utah, and all are expected to arrive in January.
Verbal committments: High School
Antione Frazier, OT
Hunter Harris, OG/C
Maciah Long, LB
Kyle Mayberry, CB
Ian Peterson, CB
Braylon Royal, WR
Marquis Smith, ATH
Between known junior college and high school committments, that gives us at most, eight remaining scholarships. We need everything too. I think Beaty will use two scholarships on defensive linemen, one on a safety, one on a running back, and one more offensive lineman. The rest may be going to players already on the team.

57 + 24 actual players would give us 81. If there are no defections K.U. stands to lose 22 seniors after the 2016 season. That would put us at 59, 17 of them being seniors for 2017. You can see how difficult it is to get close to 85, but nothing is easy. Players flame out, get in trouble, transfer, graduate early. That's why it will take David Beaty time to build depth to compete in the Big 12. Season zero is just that: the season where time stops, even if Beaty is determined to win. The Jayhawks will have a lot of seniors in 2016, but without good recruiting, especially at the high school level, we will be trapped in a perpetual cycle of tricks and counting forward and backward to make up the numbers.