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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.


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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.

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

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