KU football signs eight players from 2017 recruiting class, including QB Peyton Bender

Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender (6) drops back to pass against Washington in the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender (6) drops back to pass against Washington in the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Kansas football coach David Beaty and his staff solidified eight spots in the program’s 2017 recruiting class Wednesday, when a handful of future Jayhawks signed their national letters of intent on the first day of the mid-year signing period, which runs through mid-January.

Headlined by former Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender, KU’s influx of new talent mostly featured junior college transfers such as Bender, who spent his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College. But it also included one high school senior, linebacker Kyron Johnson, of Arlington Lamar High (Texas). Rated by Rivals as a three-star outside linebacker, Johnson recently told Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant he intends to enroll early at KU and go through spring football in Lawrence. The young linebacker confirmed his signing with Kirby Wednesday morning.

A prospect who didn’t commit to KU until late Tuesday evening joined the list of signees, as well. Kerr Johnson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound wide receiver from Santa Rosa Junior College, got on board with the Jayhawks mere hours before signing.

As a sophomore this past fall, Johnson was named to the California All-State junior college team. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native caught 50 passes for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games before signing on with Kansas.

Last month, Johnson told Kirby and Jayhawk Slant, KU offensive assistant Rob Likens traveled to the west coast to see the juco receiver play.

“I can’t wait to get there (to KU) and prove myself,” Johnson, a three-star juco wideout according to Rivals, said.

Outside of Bender and Kerr Johnson, though, Kansas added the majority of its help on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle J.J. Holmes, cornerback Hasan Defense, defensive end Willie McCaleb and cornerback Shakial Taylor all earned three-star rankings from Rivals as juco additions. KeyShaun Simmons, a two-star defensive lineman, also signed on with Kansas.

MID-YEAR KU FOOTBALL SIGNEES

QB Peyton Bender

6-1, 180 | Itawamba C.C./Washington State

DB Hasan Defense

6-0, 175 | Kilgore College

DT J.J. Holmes

6-2, 310 | Hutchinson C.C.

WR Kerr Johnson

5-11, 180 | Santa Rosa J.C.

LB Kyron Johnson

6-foot-1, 195 | Arlington Lamar (Texas) H.S.

DE Willie McCaleb

6-foot-3, 250 | Northwest Mississippi C.C.

DL KeyShaun Simmons

6-foot-3, 270 | Pearl River C.C.

CB Shakial Taylor

6-foot-1, 180 | Mesa C.C./South Dakota State

KU’s 2017 recruiting class, as it stands Wednesday:

QB Peyton Bender

DB Hasan Defense

LB Jay Dineen

OL Joey Gilbertson

DT J.J. Holmes

WR Kerr Johnson

LB Kyron Johnson

K Liam Jones

WR/Ath. Travis Jordan

DE Willie McCaleb

DL KeyShaun Simmons

WR Kenyon Tabor

CB Shakial Taylor

DB Robert Topps

RB Dominic Williams

WR Takulve Williams

Comments

Harold Wayne

Way to go Coach! We're improving and it's December. Can't way to see these new Jayhawks help the turnaround we are seeing on the gridiron.

4 months, 1 week ago

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Benny Armstrong

Glad to see we are shoring up the defense with experienced players and building on this year's success after losing a ton of key players to graduation, but more important is the fact that all of these guys will be here in January. That is a huge help to the program getting them in the weight room and learning the playbook to add to our depth by the time spring ball starts. That should put them ahead of schedule so that when fall camp comes around, they'll be seasoned vets in the program and able to contribute right away.

The signs are definitely there and we seem to be on the right track with HCDB.

4 months, 1 week ago

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Cora Smith

How many slots are left?

4 months, 1 week ago

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Karen Mansfield-Stewart

All three stars except the one two star. Looks like a solid class on paper. Congrats!

4 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Cora - Based on the information in TKs recent article there are 9 scholarship players counting against this class that were on campus for this season (blueshirts). With the 16 listed above that would make a full class.

Based on what we have seen from Coach Beaty so far I can't imagine him stopping there. I would be surprised if there weren't at least a half dozen blueshirts again next year. Most will likely be out of the blue like this year and actually get us close to a full program (85).

4 months, 1 week ago

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