National Signing Day: Meet KU football's 2017 recruiting class

February 1, 2017 — College football National Signing Day

February 1, 2017 — College football National Signing Day

Within the college football universe, few offseason dates carry the weight and excitement of National Signing Day. Even for a reconstructing program such as Kansas, the future possibilities that accompany an influx of new blood are more than enough to invigorate coaches and the most loyal members of a longsuffering fan base.

Twelve recruits were expected to sign with third-year head coach David Beaty and the Jayhawks Wednesday, but a 13th emerged. This blog served as KUsports.com’s headquarters for keeping up with all the players, as they made their football futures official.

Check back in throughout signing day for more photos and reactions as they come in, and watch the highlight videos, accompanied by Rivals rankings, from the newest class of KU football players below.

Beaty will have a press conference to discuss all the recruits publicly for the first time at 1 p.m., too. We’ll share the more interesting tidbits from that session on Twitter in real time, and a recap story will follow later in the day.

Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy National Signing Day — and click refresh every once and a while for updates.

Signing Day checklist: Who is officially on board?

Latest update: 11:36 a.m.

by David Beaty

√ Earl Bostick (OL/DL)

— The last recruit to commit to KU was the first to make it official. Bostick signed early Wednesday morning, as confirmed by Jon Kirby of Jayhawk Slant.

by David Beaty

√ Antonio Cole (CB)

— The lone junior college prospect to join KU today, Cole signed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He spent 2016 as a standout at Highland Community College.

by David Beaty

√ Jay Dineen (LB)

— The local linebacker got to sleep in a little on Signing Day because of a late start at Free State, but Dineen sent his documentation KU’s way shortly after rolling out of bed.

Free State High linebacker Jay Dineen signs his National Letter of Intent with Kansas football, on Feb. 1, 2017.

Free State High linebacker Jay Dineen signs his National Letter of Intent with Kansas football, on Feb. 1, 2017.

by Jay Dineen

√ Joey Gilbertson (OL)

— The big in-state offensive lineman made his commitment to Kansas official at a signing ceremony before school at Wichita Northwest.

Wichita Northwest offensive lineman Joey Gilbertson poses for photos after signing with Kansas football, on Feb. 1, 2017.

Wichita Northwest offensive lineman Joey Gilbertson poses for photos after signing with Kansas football, on Feb. 1, 2017.

√ Quan Hampton (WR)

— The athletic receiver made his commitment official just after 7 a.m., a couple hours before Hampton’s signing day ceremony at Texas High, in Texarkana.

Texarkana, Texas, receiver Quan Hampton signs with Kansas football, on Feb. 1, 2017.

Texarkana, Texas, receiver Quan Hampton signs with Kansas football, on Feb. 1, 2017.

by David Beaty

√ Liam Jones (K)

— Ranked among the top 20 senior kickers in the country by Kohl’s News, Jones had a signing ceremony Wednesday morning at Chocktaw High, in Oklahoma.

Chocktaw High (Oklahoma) senior kicker Liam Jones makes his commitment to Kansas football official on National Signing Day, Feb. 1, 2017.

Chocktaw High (Oklahoma) senior kicker Liam Jones makes his commitment to Kansas football official on National Signing Day, Feb. 1, 2017.

by Choctaw Times

√ Travis Jordan (WR/Athlete)

— The Louisiana native recruited by KU running backs coach Tony Hull put his pen to paper at John Ehert High, in Marrero, Louisiana.

by Leslie Spoon WWL-TV

by TravisJordan....

√ Octavius Matthews (RB)

— An unexpected addition to the signing class, running back Octavius Matthews, from Itawamba Community College, joined the Jayhawks on National Signing Day. Matthews reportedly had offers from Auburn and Louisville, too.

The KU coaches have December signee Peyton Bender, a juco teammate of Matthews, to thank for getting the three-star rusher to Lawrence. Matthews told Kirby and Jayhawk Slant the QB pitched KU to the RB.

“Peyton told me he thought it would be the best fit for me,” Matthews told Jayhawk Slant. “We were next to each other in the backfield in junior college and he said we could do the same things at KU.”

by octavius.M

by David Beaty

√ Cooper Root (LB)

The Wichita Collegiate linebacker looking to help the home state program made his commitment official, according to Jayhawk Slant.

√ Kenyon Tabor (WR)

— The stud Derby receiver had his papers ready to send to KU hours before his signing day ceremony. Tabor picked the Jayhawks over rival Kansas State.

"It's very exciting," Tabor told the Journal-World. "I can't wait."

by David Beaty

√ Robert Topps (CB)

A cornerback from Chicago with length, Topps signed his papers early and told Jayhawk Slant he had his Kansas gear ready to go for his ceremony.

by David Beaty

√ Dominic Williams (RB)

— The biggest name in KU’s recruiting class, Williams, a 4-star running back from Texas, stuck with the Jayhawks for more than a year, despite picking up additional offers from other Power Five programs. He signed his papers before his school day began at Independence High, in Frisco, Texas.

"It feels good," Williams told the Journal-World. "No more stress."

You can tell how fired up Beaty and the staff were to land Williams, as seen in their FaceTime conversation, tweeted out this morning by Kansas football.

by Kansas Football

by David Beaty

√ Takulve Williams (WR)

— The New Orleans native signed his papers at St. Augustine High, with his prep coaches, around 11 a.m., making him one of the final official additions.


Earl Bostick

2-star OL/DL | 6-foot-6, 260 pounds | Barnwell, South Carolina (Barnwell High)

What to like from the highlights: Bostick, who could end up playing either offensive or defensive line at Kansas, is massive and fairly athletic. You can envision him being able to carry much more weight on his frame without losing too much mobility. He plays basketball, too, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise when you see how well he moves his feet for a 6-6 lineman. Bostick looked pretty nimble lined up as a high school tight end, as well.

Antonio Cole

3-star CB | 6-foot-1, 190 pounds | Edmond, Oklahoma (Highland Community College)

What to like from the highlights: Credit to whomever cut together Cole’s reel. It starts with a flash, with the defensive back intercepting a pass and speeding off for a long return before his opponents have time to react. The 6-1 corner not only has size in the secondary, a needed asset in the Big 12, but he also makes subtle and effective moves with the ball in his hands, as seen in his various picks and returns. His anticipation from the second level stands out, too, whether that comes by breaking on a pass route or closing in on a ball carrier.

Jay Dineen

2-star LB | 6-foot-2, 225 pounds | Lawrence, Kansas (Free State High)

What to like from the highlights: These clips are from Dineen’s junior season, so he’s actually bigger — and maybe a little faster — than his video indicates. The linebacker’s decisiveness made him a great run-stopper at the high school level, and he often finished tackles and quarterback hurries with a powerful pop. The guy loves playing football, and some who followed his prep career closely think he could become just as effective at the college level as his older brother, KU linebacker Joe Dineen.

Joey Gilbertson

2-star OL | 6-foot-4, 290 pounds | Wichita, Kansas (Wichita Northwest High)

What to like from the highlights: At Wichita Northwest, Gilbertson created big running lanes for his teammates and often overpowered the man in front of him. By working with KU offensive line coach Zach Yenser and getting even stronger in the years ahead, he could end up being an ideal veteran offensive lineman for the Jayhawks. There’s no better way to bring stability to the O-line than getting young guys and developing them.

Quan Hampton

3-star WR | 5-foot-8, 165 pounds | Texarkana, Texas (Texas High)

What to like from the highlights: It takes a special kind of athlete to make moves in the open field that fool defenders and explode out of said maneuvers at a high speed. And that’s just what Hampton does as both a returner and receiver in his Texas High clips. The 5-8 target shows off his 40-inch vertical on some deep balls, as well, another example of how he makes up for his height by just making plays others can’t. Plus, he sheds an awful lot of tackles for an undersized skill player.

Liam Jones

2-star K | 5-foot-9, 165 pounds | Chocktaw, Oklahoma (Chocktaw High)

What to like from the highlights: Are kickoff clips of a kicker entertaining? They are if you’re a special teams coach looking for someone to boom them out of the end zone for no return, which Oklahoma prep Jones does time and again. A true specialist, Jones can kick field goals (as seen from various distances, as far out as 45 yards) and punt, too.

Travis Jordan

3-star WR/Athlete | 6-foot-1, 185 pounds | Marrero, Louisiana (John Ehert High)

What to like from the highlights: In these plays form Jordan’s junior season, his ability to meet the ball high with his hands on down-field passes makes him look like a bigger target than his listed height of 6-1. Routinely, Jordan finds ways to put himself in a better position to make a play on the ball than the defenders trying to stop him. On quick passes, Jordan appears to have the strength and speed to pick up extra yardage.

Cooper Root

2-star LB | 6-foot-3, 215 pounds | Wichita, Kansas (Wichita Collegiate High)

What to like from the highlights: He might not be the flashiest defender you’ll come across, but in his clips Root seems to read the flow of plays well and react appropriately by getting to his spot for stops. A lot of his tackles come on inside rushes and he attacks them soundly.

Kenyon Tabor

3-star WR | 6-foot-4, 212 pounds | Derby, Kansas (Derby High)

What to like from the highlights: Size, speed, strength, moves, great hands. Tabor has all the attributes you hope to see from a receiver on his reel. Derby lined him up all over the place, and even though opponents knew the ball was coming his way there was little they could do to stop him. Looks especially fast when coming across in motion and turning to take off at the time of the snap.

Robert Topps

3-star CB | 6-foot-2, 182 pounds | Chicago (Marist High)

What to like from the highlights: A 6-2 cornerback who hits hard. Topps makes big plays on special teams, too, blocking an extra point and a couple punts. Looks comfortable covering a receiver out wide and coming off the edge as a blitzer.

Dominic Williams

4-star RB | 5-foot-9, 186 pounds | Frisco, Texas (Independence High)

What to like from the highlights: There’s a reason Williams comes in as the biggest name in this class, and it’s the same reason some call the running back “Flash.” This guy just flies — and spins and jukes and hurdles and bounces off defenders — in the open field. Whatever it takes to extend the play and pick up huge chunks of yardage. What’s more, Williams bursts forward when you think he’s already moving as fast as he can. Play-maker.

Takulve Williams

2-star WR | 5-foot-11, 180 pounds | New Orleans (St. Augustine High)

What to like from the highlights: Takulve Williams’ punt returns show off not only his vision, but also his ability to go from standing still to full-out sprint quicker than would-be tacklers anticipate. As a receiver, he’s the type of guy who can evade tacklers at the line of scrimmage or make a play on a deep throw.

December signings

Peyton Bender — QB | 6-1, 180 | three stars

Hasan Defense — DB | 6-0, 175 | three stars

J.J. Holmes — DT | 6-2, 310 | three stars

Kerr Johnson — WR | 5-11, 180 | three stars

Kyron Johnson — LB | 6-1, 195 | three stars

Willie McCaleb — DE | 6-3, 250 | three stars

KeyShaun Simmons — DL | 6-3, 270 | two stars

Shakial Taylor — CB | 6-1, 180 | three stars

Comments

David A. Smith

Yep. Dom Williams is legit.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

He has great vision and reads his blocks well. I like the way he finishes his runs.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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David A. Smith

His cutting ability is impressive. And you're right about his finishes. He has another gear that kicks in out in the open.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

I think the thing that sticks out to me about Dominic is what looks like to be able to shed tacklers.- - looks like tough runner, has some elusiveness too. Wonder what his 40 time is?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

Not to put a pall on today's proceedings, but does anyone know where Darreon Jackson landed? Can't find anything on the web.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Benton Smith

Looks like Arkansas State.

https://twitter.com/RedWolvesFBall/st...

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Brett McCabe

Thanks, Benton.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Jim Stauffer

So happy with the guys we were able to sign and very happy Darreon has landed where he can prove his worth both in college and beyond.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Clarence Haynes

Has Travis Jordan signed!

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Chris DeWeese

you beat me to it. was gonna ask the same question. getting a little nervous!

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Benton Smith

Haven't seen anything on Jordan yet. But some guys actually sign the papers at their ceremony and then send them to KU.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

So from what I see everybody on Board with ONE SURPRISE and a nice surprise at that, but everyone else on board except nothing yet on Travis Jordan OR Takulu Williams?. - - hope they come through. - - Still no word?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Benton Smith

Looks like everyone is accounted for now. KU went 13-for-12 on Signing Day. Who knew that was possible?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

Boy sounds like we picked up a couple of Nice RB'S. One expected and loyal through the process - - averaged 11.2 per carry - -that's huge. then what was put out back in June anyways as the # 1 Juco running back averaged 7.2? - - I'll take that thank you very much. Gonna wait for my judgement on Bender - -had to many let downs in the past to get TO excited as of yet - -Heaps - -Crist both busts. - -And for gosh sakes let's hope that we just automatically are dismissing our red shirt freshman as a possibility for the starting QB.

I mean that was all the talk he was our future, and then as soon as the commitment of Bender it was like Tyreik was old news. - -talk to me Benton , you think he will be given his fair shot? - -Or are we to just automatically pencil Bender in?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Dave Roberts

He might well still be in the running, but from what I've heard Tyreik didn't have any prior experience with the Air Raid. So he had to start from scratch in terms of learning the offense. If anyone can make him blossom at KU, it will probably be Doug Meacham, the new OC.

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Joe Joseph

Is it weird that I'm most excited about the kicker?

When was the last time KU landed a kicker who had a STAR next to his name?

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Karen Mansfield-Stewart

A couple of stud running backs in hand. Wishbone!

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Buck Bukaty

Geaux Jayhawks!!!!!!!!!!!

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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