After a busy Wednesday inside the Anderson Family Football Complex, Kansas head coach Les Miles completed his first recruiting class as the head coach of the Jayhawks. In total, Miles and the KU football coaching staff added 19 players to its roster between the early signing period starting in December and Wednesday’s National Signing Day. While National Letters of Intent were coming into the football complex, Miles and staff were busy with the Kansas Football Signing Day Live show and a press conference to talk about the new Jayhawks.
LES MILES: First of all, I’d like to thank my coaching staff. We got a late start. I was methodical in my approach to hiring, and it took some days away from us to chase that staff.
But when they got on board, the things we wanted to do in the short-term were those needs that the team had to have and had to have quickly, and we started fast and really got a foothold on the defensive line in the first signing period.
But as the staff became connected, they did a really great job in terms of representing Kansas and in really signing this class.
I also want to thank their family, because what happens is, as an assistant coach, you leave Sunday, you come back Friday, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday you recruit, and it’s a full-time job. The people that suffer certainly are the wives and children of those men that are assistant coaches, and I want to thank them, as well.
Yeah, it’s — and there were a number of people that contributed to this class who were not on the road, men that were in the backdrop, women that were in the backdrop that helped in travel and helped in setting up what was the weekends. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a loyal and dedicated group.
Great day for Kansas football. We had 19 signees. There’s a rare combination here between strong and thick and physical and athletic and with speed. The Kansas brand helped us tremendously. It stands for academics, it stands for great athletics, and the people that went to school here and carry the message that they had when they were students here just — it’s tremendous for us. We use it really on a regular basis.
Yeah, it’s a place with a lot to offer, and I think we sold that great. I think our guys approached the opportunity to play and the making your four years count at Kansas was a part of really the mantra that allowed us to be successful.
And you know, this is a family atmosphere. I think you’ll find that today’s student-athlete and certainly their parents, they want that relationship that looks like a family to them and that they can kind of attach themselves. And I think that we portrayed that, and I think that’s us.
We started in the Kansas footprint. We took three from the state, Jayden Russell, a strong safety. Long body, plays corner, as well. Mason Fairchild, a big tight end, able to run and catch, 6’5″, 250. Amauri Pesek-Hickson, a big back right out of Leawood. We got a nice start from this state and this are
We went to Texas thereafter, and we went after Steven Parker, who was a four-star and the Defensive Player of the Year in the state of Texas, landed him, which we were very thrilled about.
Velton Gardner from Dallas, also running back, 31 on the 24/7 Rivals. People kind of put him at the 31st prospect in the state. And Torry Locklin, who also was a quarterback athlete out of Texas.
The class represents 12 states, three in Kansas, three in Texas, two in Georgia, Florida for two, Alabama for two, and then Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Nebraska all for one. The class has eight on offense, 10 on defense. 14 high school players, five junior college players, one specialist kicker that we just are allowed to talk about as he got his housing application in.
Yeah, the key is to fill the roster and to fill that roster answering the needs of your football team.
Thomas MacVittie was a quarterback. We felt like we had to have a guy that could — with graduation, we had to have a guy that could stand in there, throw, but he is also mobile. He’s a 6’5″, 220-pound quarterback that really can really sling it.
Jordan Medley came out of Kannapolis, North Carolina. Again, a 6’1″, probably 4.55 quarterback who can throw it, as well. And Torry Locklin, dual-threat quarterback, again, in a position where if, in fact, Thomas MacVittie is the starter, possibly we have a second behind him. We might find one of those two to go to another spot. But we feel very confident that they’ll give us an opportunity at quarterback with them before that happens.
The defensive line we had after graduation, just a very slim number, so we had to take numbers at the defensive line. We took four guys, and Malcolm Lee, 6’5″, 290, a sophomore junior college guy. Caleb Sampson, 6’3″, 290, junior college, as well. Dajon Terry, 6’4″, 350. I would not want to block that lad. But a true freshman. And Marcus Harris, a high school lad, is also 6’2″, 265 right now, but will develop very, very nicely.
Now, the running backs, we had Amauri Pesek-Hickson, and again, right here from the Kansas City area, can catch it and can run, and really is going to be a big back for us that we really need. The key, too, we were going to look for some receivers that had height. There’s plenty of receivers on our team with speed and agility and capabilities, but we needed a group of men that could go up and get balls. Ezra Naylor, 6’4″ talented receiver, a dominant guy, not afraid to block, 210 pounds.
Andrew Parchment, good athlete, great speed, great hands. Again, needs. We needed tall, athletic wide receivers, and those are guys that we went after and got them.
We’ve got a nice physical tight end Mason Fairchild. He’s out of the Wichita area, a very — can catch it, big, strong, capable 6’5″ guy, so how he’ll turn out will be very helpful.
And the kicker (Jacob Borcila), the kicker that can kick it 60, a nice all-district, all-state guy from Westerville, Ohio, when we get down in the back end of contests and we look for somebody to go step in there and kick one through, we will be very confident in him.
On defense, we talked about the defensive line. We talked about Steven Parker and Gavin Potter at linebacker, but there’s another, Jereme Robinson. He’s 6’4″, 220 pounds, just has speed, slams a basketball, is a really good basketball player, on all-state, played on a team that won the state championship in basketball. So we’re going to have a great future at some of those line backing spots with those lads.
We had three defensive backs with Jayden Russell being in state. Valerian Agbaw is a guy that’s out of Florida, and Kenny Logan, a three-sport athlete, not afraid of contact, a guy that’s a really, really good corner. So we have three secondary backs that can step in there and play.
This class will have the ability to compete for championships. It’s the style of team, the speed that will develop and develop nicely. So we’re proud. And I think the coaching staff did a great job, and what I’m used to doing is giving you guys a picture of some of these guys.