KU football's 2018 class best since Beaty's arrival, but far from historic

Kansas head coach David Beaty watches a West Virginia score during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

When David Beaty said during his National Signing Day press conference Wednesday he doesn’t care about national team recruiting rankings the Kansas football coach wasn’t kidding.

“I know some of you guys follow that. I think it may be the highest rating we've had in the history of our university here,” Beaty said of KU’s 2018 signing class, “since they've been keeping rankings. If it's not, it's close.”

It isn’t.

Although the presence of four-star prep standouts Corione Harris and Pooka Williams, as well as the weight of 10 more three-star talents (four from the high school ranks and six via junior college) gave this KU class more legitimacy than some from the past several years — and it is definitely the best since Beaty took over the program — neither Rivals nor 247 Sports graded the group of signees as highly as the coach implied.

When the dust settled on 2018’s February signing day, Rivals ranked KU’s class 47th nationally and 247 Sports had the Jayhawks slotted 62nd.

Looking back at national recruiting rankings from both sites since 2002, when Rivals began tracking them, KU’s 2018 class is the seventh-best in that span. Per 247 Sports’ assessments through the years, this is KU’s 11th-best class since 2002.

Still, the program is in such a state that several of its incoming freshmen and junior college transfers (three sophomores, eight juniors) could factor into KU’s depth chart immediately.

So how many 2018 signees have a realistic shot at getting on the field and contributing this coming fall?

“Well, you always hope that you can get all of them on the field, but the reality of it is that you won’t,” Beaty said. “I’d like to believe that where we are right now that we have recruited well enough in the previous three years that we can start doing what you'd like to do, which is to be able to get these guys an opportunity to grow.”

The fourth-year KU coach noted a significant gap exists between the level at which these newest Jayhawks last played and what awaits them at the FBS level.

“It's like I tell those guys all the time, hey, listen. Anybody that tells you they're going to start right away, they're lying to you,” Beaty said. “It's going to come down to what you do, and how much you learn.”

Ten members of KU’s signing class already are enrolled and going through offseason workouts this semester: junior defensive tackle Charles “Codey” Cole, junior defensive end Foster Dixson, freshman cornerback Corione Harris, sophomore quarterback Miles Kendrick, junior safety Jeremiah McCullough, sophomore receiver Stephon Robinson Jr., graduate transfer tight end Mavin Saunders, junior defensive end Najee Stevens-McKenzie and freshman offensive lineman Nick Williams.

KU football’s recruiting rankings

2018 — Rivals: 47th | 247 Sports: 62nd

2017 — Rivals: 57th | 247 Sports: 71st

2016 — Rivals: 95th | 247 Sports: 70th

2015 — Rivals: 66th | 247 Sports: 73rd

2014 — Rivals: 55th | 247 Sports: 50th

2013 — Rivals: 46th | 247 Sports: 49th

2012 — Rivals: 75th | 247 Sports: 81st

2011 — Rivals: 34th | 247 Sports: 40th

2010 — Rivals: 55th | 247 Sports: 64th

2009 — Rivals: 31st | 247 Sports: 45th

2008 — Rivals: 40th | 247 Sports: 43rd

2007 — Rivals: 51st | 247 Sports: 50th

2006 — Rivals: 38th | 247 Sports: 39th

2005 — Rivals: 48th | 247 Sports: 41st

2004 — Rivals: 51st | 247 Sports: 52nd

2003 — Rivals: 39th | 247 Sports: 44th

2002 — Rivals: 57th | 247 Sports: 55th

KU football’s 2018 recruiting class

9 High school prospects

4-star talents

CB - Corione Harris, Landry-Walker High (La.)

RB - Anthony “Pooka” Williams, Hahnville High (La.)

3-star talents

DE - Miles Emery, Blue Valley North

OL - Nick Williams, Ritenour High (Mo.)

OL - Jacobi Lott, Tascosa High (Texas)

LB - Kenny Bastida, Deerfield Beach High (Florida)

2-star talents

OL - Mac Copeland, Wichita Collegiate High

Ath. -Ryan Malbrough, Cecilia High (La.)

QB - Torry Locklin, Rockdale High (Texas) [*unsigned]

11 Junior college prospects

3-star talents

CB - Elijah Jones, junior, Ellsworth C.C. (Iowa)

DT - Charles “Codey” Cole, junior, Butler C.C.

DE - Azur Kamara, junior, Arizona Western C.C.

DE - Foster Dixson, junior, West Los Angeles College

OL - Reuben Lewis, junior, Coffeyville C.C.

CB - Elmore Hempstead, junior, Fort Scott C.C.

DE - Najee Stevens-McKenzie, junior, ASA College (N.Y.)

QB - Miles Kendrick, sophomore, College of San Mateo (Calif.)

WR - Stephon Robinson, sophomore, El Camino College (Calif.)

S - Jeremiah McCullough, junior, Hartnell College (Calif.)

2-star talent

DB - Davon Ferguson, sophomore, Hartnell College (Calif.)

1 graduate transfer

TE - Mavin Saunders, Florida State

7 known or probable freshman walk-ons

Ath. - Nick Channel | 6-0, 205 | Kapaun Mt. Carmel High

TE - Dylan Freberg | 6-4, 210 | Blue Valley North High

QB - Billy Maples | 6-2, 220 | Park Hill High (Mo.)

Ath. - Cody McNerney | 6-1, 200 | Wichita Collegiate High

OL - Jack Murphy | 6-9, 291 | Rockhurst High (Mo.)

TE - Jack Parks | 6-5, 230 | Olathe Northwest High

OL - Spencer Roe | 6-4, 270 | Free State High

Comments

John Fitzgerald

Uh oh... I can hear them typing... Take cover, Benton...

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

I thought l felt the ground shaking.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

Yeah he was definitely off the mark with that comment, I do think we had the highest points per player scoring in the history of KUFB which has to stand for something.

We did land our first top 300 recruit ever I believe and we got two of them. This is the most impressive recruiting class we've ever gotten after one of the worst seasons. Let's hope it translates on the field.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Fitzgerald

In 2012 KU was 1-11 and followed it up with a class ranked higher than what Beaty has now. But as we all know, that did not work out well for Weis or KU.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

If you go to the Topeka paper, there is a nice article about the presentation Beaty made at the presser to show how and why the previous recruiting failed and how it is so distinctly different from the current JUCO recruiting. Night and day difference. Or you can continue with the ignorant, uninformed mantra.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Fitzgerald

Are you serious? I didn’t say it wouldn’t work for Beaty I’m just saying Weis’ class didn’t work for him.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

That class was also clearly rated high for a reason.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

Benton according to history and research which class would you say is historically KU's best for football.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Bobby Nightengale did a nice article (http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/call...) reviewing the performance of the 2017 class. I asked/am hoping that he'd continue it as a series reviewing the performance of the previous classes as well. It would be awesome to see them continue it through earlier classes as well, and maybe come up with a metric for evaluating/comparing the classes based on on-the-field performance.

Good call.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

And 'Bama is the 19th most appealing?

Hmmm, something tells me the article and survey lacks credibility.

Also worth noting is KSU is just a couple places ahead of KU.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Fitzgerald

So an article that doesn’t support your agenda lacks credibility? All they did was ask 224 recruits what school is most appealing. With Kansas being 3-33 in three years it seems pretty accurate.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

John - Not sure what makes you think I have any agenda regarding 'Bama, or do you think it is credible to rank the program with the best recruiting in the past decade as the 19th most appealing?

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

DId you read the article? Lol definitely embarrassing but it is based off power 5. Id without a doubt look at our program on paper and say we are the least appealing. Their use of headlines is just as bad as kusports.com.

Cool article idea tho

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Brazelton

KU simply doesn't have a winning football tradition and the program has been down in the dumps almost a decade since the Orange Bowl. However, KU's geographical location, football facilities outside of the stadium, new athletic dorms and academics are a lot better than many of the colleges listed above us. A few wins this season and a few more next season will change perceptions in a hurry.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

There are a lot of things that are disappointing; however, Beaty has started to ruin a lot of his credibility by saying things that are untrue. Maybe that is why he has stopped doing interviews:

Best recruiting class in history of KU or close to it - Not True

Earn It - Not True

I'll recruit Texas - Not True

I'll build it the right way by relying on the kids that will be in the program 4-5 years - Not True

Year 3 is where you start meeting expectations - Not True

We should be heading towards a bowl - Not True

I'll give him a lot of credit for looking for walk-on candidates in the state of Kansas.

I think he knows that there is weakness in the depth chart, which he is trying to address (I personally think JUCOs typically should be a patch job because of injury or just a miss on a player or an early leave to the NFL; however, we are doing more than a patch job this year). I do think it is important for him to get some players.

He has been very loyal to coaches that are loyal to him.

He is very positive, which is a great attribute.

I know he is dismayed with the KU sports, but he needs to remember this is the local paper; he should work with them to push the progress, to be a little more open.

He's made a lot of coaching changes and we still don't know much about it.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dyrk Dugan

It’s a good class; there’s no other way to say it. All of this nonsense and parsing of words and historic context and too JUCO heavy is just that; nonsense. We’ve landed some good football players; and many of them were pursued by other P5 programs. We are GOING to be a better football team next year; and that means the head coach gets a 5th year, and then we see where we are. The o line will develop and get better; the RBs are good, and deep; the WRs will get better, deep. We’ve actually recruited LBs in this class; and the secondary now has talent AND depth. The key for this program to improve, is to get quality players; and to get depth sufficient to replace when injures occur, attrition, transfers, whatever. The program is now being built; please allow it to happen.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

224 national recruits said that KU was the worst brand among the P5 teams. That's not KEEGAN. That's unbiased kids judging 12-72 Mr. Fix Football Zenger and 3-33 Dumpster Fire Beaty. The LOSER above who blamed geographic location must have missed the December bowl games that IOWA STATE, BOISE STATE & WYOMING & KANSAS STATE went to just 8 weeks ago.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

Those were 224 national recruits that didn't go to fbs schools tho :/.

You're basically asking a bunch of below average kids what their dream school would be to go to lmfao.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Did you miss that one of the bowl team you promote in your comment (KSU) was only 4 places higher than KU. Hmmm, maybe the poll doesn't correlate with the performance of the team as you seem to be proposing.

Notice also that the poll does not ask who was the worst brand as you mistakenly present (and the article also). The poll asks the athletes what would be their top choice if they could play anywhere. The questions are not necessarily opposites. The poll says that the fewest players thought KU was the best program. There is a whole continuum between not being the best and being the worst. It's not a simple concept, so maybe that's the problem.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Clarence Glasse

Should those who read these boards gather, from your posts, that you don't want KU football to succeed; that you don't want coach Beaty to improve as a head coach; that you don't want him (coach Beaty) to be responsible for leading a KU football team that one day may win all the games on its schedule?

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

You see as I said before for those of you who think a recruit won't want to come to play for KU football after reading the negativity on this board, they already know the word is out and they can see it for themselves. Kansas football is not the place to be right now so please stop saying that we shouldn't post negative comments about the program because recruits won't come here, as you can see by the article they won't come here for a lot of reasons so please stop with the nonsense

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryson Stricker

Why did we have 25+ visitors last weekend then Kevin?

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

Read the article Bryson, lm glad that 25 recruits were visiting last weekend but the numbers don't lie. Worst brand in college football.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

So you don't think fan support or dissension factors into the perception of the athletes?

Do you also believe that it is irrelevant to BB recruits/players that the Fieldhouse is perpetually sold out and setting noise records?

Hmmm, maybe fans can influence the perception of the athletes both good and bad.

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Carolyn Hunzicker

We got this coach from Texas A &M..(TEXAS RECRUITER ) RIGHT ???
20017 2 TEXAS KIDS
2018 1

Kansas State 3

4 months, 2 weeks ago

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Clarence Glasse

We should all be happy our team does get recruits ------- PERIOD! No matter if they aren't from Texas. I don't know: Is a 4-star recruit from Texas really better than a 4-star recruit from Louisiana?

4 months, 1 week ago

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