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Kansas football still has an early top-15 class. Can KU keep its 2 Louisiana 4-stars?

History says it will be tough.

Devonta Jason
Devonta Jason
Student Sports

Last weekend I took a trip to New Orleans for the Nike Opening Regional Camp. One of the themes that stood out was the talented group of players committed to the University of Kansas.

Five weeks ago, Kansas had a top-five recruiting class.

I don’t know what’s in the water in Lawrence, but whatever it is, David Beaty better bottle it and hold it near and dear to his heart forever. This month, Beaty got verbals from three four-star recruits. WR JaMarr Chase, WR Devonta Jason, and CB Corione Harris all committed to the Jayhawks, part of a load of six early KU commits from Louisiana.

It’s dipped a bit, but KU is still in the top 15. That’s surprising.

For one, Kansas is far away from New Orleans. For another, it’s Kansas. So I asked the recruits to explain what was happening.

Kansas’ top commitment is Devonta Jason, a four-star receiver from New Orleans (La.) Landry-Walker High School.

“It’s a family, a great atmosphere, great coaching staff, great from what I’ve known, everything’s great right now at Kansas,” Jason said. “The Kansas pipeline, Louisiana to Lawrence is working right now.”

The reason Kansas is finding success in Louisiana is coach Tony Hull, the former coach of Warren Easton High School in New Orleans.

“He’s got good character, he’s a great person,” Jason said of Hull.

Most of the Louisiana commitments, and almost all of their head coaches have known Hull since his high school coaching days.

“Coach Hull has been up there, he knows all those area guys, he coached at Warren Easton, so I’ve known him for a long time, maybe since middle school,” Harris said. “And then you got Mike Lee to call and Travis Jordan going up there, like he just made me feel like home along with all the other recruits so it’s like a family up there.

Explaining his commitment to Kansas to friends and family has been interesting for Harris.

“They’re surprised about the record,” Harris said. “But you can’t look at the record, you gotta make the record, it’s up to the players to play and the coaches to coach, so at the end of the day, I can make my own legacy.”

Holding on to their commitments won’t be easy. Four-star receiver JaMarr Chase’s commitment lasted only a week.

“I mean, I’m committed,” Jason said when asked if he was 100 percent committed to the Jayhawks.

Harris maintains that he is still quite open to hearing from other schools.

“LSU kinda slowed down but Mississippi State picked up,” he said. “Tennessee, and a lot of other schools have been calling, so we’ll see how this turns out. I mean yeah I’m still open to hear [from other schools] but it’s just going to be hard.”

I don’t give Kansas much of a shot of holding on to these elite prospects. Since Jason and Harris entered middle school, Kansas has won three Big 12 games. Total. If Kansas can drastically improve on the field this year, perhaps its chances go up.

But even if the elite prospects like Jason and Harris do later decommit, they’ve already done Kansas a solid.

Because their commitments got me to write about Kansas. And that increases the chance that good prospects (perhaps not elite ones) take notice of the Jayhawks. The thought process goes something like “hmm, if those guys rated higher than me like Kansas, perhaps I should check it out.”

The situation reminds me of the Jordan Scarlett saga, from the class of 2015. Scarlett, of Ft. Lauderadale (Fla.) University School, committed in December 2013 to FAU, where his former coach Roger Harriott had been hired.

I never bought it, writing “Jordan Scarlett committing to FAU brings good publicity to the school locally and in the state. I'd be shocked if he signed.”

Scarlett’s commitment lasted six months. He later committed to Miami, and then Florida, where he enrolled. While Scarlett has never admitted that he had no true intention to play at FAU, or that he did it just to give positive publicity to his former coach, it did draw good PR for the Owls.

It’s just hard to see Kansas plucking four-star prospects from Louisiana and holding on to them for eight months, especially when they’ll be visiting much better programs.

Quickly

Speedy Louisiana receiver Lawrence Keys has more than 40 college offers, but Texas Tech, Houston, and Nebraska are standing out. Why? Relationships.

DBs can't lock down Lawrence Keys III

SB Nation caught up with Lawrence Keys III, one of the fastest prospects in Louisiana. He has 40+ scholarship offers, but three schools stand out for the four-star recruit. More: http://www.sbnation.com/2017/3/22/14993420/lawrence-keys-recruit-louisiana-texas-tech-houston

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Joshua Moore might be the smoothest receiver in the country. The IMG Academy prospect spoke with SB Nation, revealing his visit plans, and that the teams in his top 10 that easily made the cut were, in no order, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee, and Georgia. His twin brother, Jordan, is a Texas A&M commitment. Moore’s 3.96 short shuttle time at the Orlando Nike Opening Camp is the best of any receiver over 6’0 this year.

Josh Moore might be the smoothest receiver recruit in 2018

Josh Moore makes playing receiver look so easy. Read about his top schools and future visit plans here: http://www.sbnation.com/college-football-recruiting/2017/3/21/14999862/joshua-moore-recruit-img-florida-state-lsu-fsu-alabama-ohio-state

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Jacob Copeland, another top receiver from Pensacola (Fla.) has Clemson, Auburn, and Florida on top. I love Copeland’s physicality, and while I feel he may be more physically maxed out at his age than some of his peers, his SPARQ score of 107 is very strong for a 6’0, 192-pound player.

Newsletter favorite Michael Ezeike, a former Nigerian soccer player, has picked up offers from UCLA, Colorado, Vanderbilt, Oregon, and Boston College since we profiled him. His offer list has nearly doubled. He followed up Thursday, saying that Tennessee, Nebraska, TCU, and Cal are also close. His updated measurements are 6’5.5 and 220 pounds.

Soccer player turned football star is seeing his recruitment t...

Big Mike Ezeike played soccer growing up. But at 6'5 and 210 pounds with that soccer footwork, soft hands, and mean streak, he is beginning to attract the attention of a lot of college football teams. UCLA offered this week.

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson released a top seven consisting of UCLA, Michigan, Florida State, Cal, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oregon, in no order. He has already guaranteed that UCLA and Michigan will make his final five.

I think I got played by Colson Yankoff, the Idaho QB who committed to Washington Wednesday. Not once in our open-ended conversation Sunday did he mention Washington, a school who had not yet offered. He raved about Cal, and talked about wanting to visit TCU and Nebraska.

The Badgers picked up Jack Sanborn, a four-star linebacker out of Illinois. I have not yet seen him play, but will be in Chicago in a few weeks.

QB Cammon Cooper of Lehi (Utah) recently picked up an Ole Miss offer. I asked him which schools are standing out the most.

“It could change because a lot of schools are talking to me now, but based on relationships with coaches probably Washington State, Boise State, Tennessee, maybe ASU,” Cooper said. “Ole miss is just really new and I haven't made a relationship with their staff yet, which I look forward to doing.”