The 2015 season, David Beaty’s first season as a head coach at Kansas, was very disappointing. Finishing a season winless is completely embarrassing and totally unacceptable. This season was the lowest point of the post-Mangino era, in a stretch that has admittedly had terrible low points. This is what happens when you hire two incompetent coaches in the Big 12. Neither Turner Gill nor Charlie Weis ever should have been given the opportunity to resurrect the football program at Kansas, and in 2015, Beaty paid for the failures of the two previous coaches.
Before the season even began, any realistic Kansas fan should have known that this was not going to be a good season if it was measured by wins and losses. This season was all about building the foundation and implementing the new schemes that Kansas should have success with in the future. Overall, this season could have been much worse for the Jayhawks. How do you get worse than 0-12? Well, for the first time since the Todd Reesing era, it appears that Kansas has found a starting quarterback that could win some games in the Big 12. True freshman Ryan Willis showed glimpses of greatness, but also made some mistakes that helped people remember that he was just a freshman. Three of Kansas’ top four wide receivers were freshmen. This was an extremely young, immature, and inexperienced group. After getting as many reps as they got this year, they should be ready to go in 2016.
Kansas was overmatched at most positions last year, but the biggest mismatch in the 2015 season was in the trenches. Any team that had a big, physical offensive or defensive line had no issue controlling the game against the Jayhawks. Coach Beaty definitely realizes this, and he has clearly put an emphasis on recruiting physical defensive lineman and pass rushing defensive ends. As of today, the recruiting class of 2016 already has four offensive lineman commits, and three defensive lineman commits. Beaty is looking for a good mix of JUCO players that can step in and start right away next year and for more talented young players that will eventually be impact players at Kansas.
This recruiting class is crucial for the success that Kansas will have in 2016. With the schedule that the Jayhawks face next year, it is reasonable to expect them to win at least three games. This will be David Beaty’s first real recruiting class (as he took over late last season). So far, the class is not loaded with much star power if you look at how recruiting sites grade the class. However, when Kansas was a consistently competitive program under Mangino, his classes usually underwhelmed the recruiting experts. The class is not completed yet, and there is still plenty of time for recruits to commit or decommit, but here are three Kansas commits that Jayhawk fans should be excited about.
- CB Kyle Mayberry– Mayberry is a big commit for many reasons. For one, it’s been a long time since Kansas had a shutdown cornerback. In the past, Kansas has had some great defensive backs. One of Mayberry’s idols is a former Jayhawk and current Bronco, Chris Harris. In his senior season at Booker T. Washington, Mayberry was rarely thrown at. Look for Mayberry to see some reps early in his career as a Jayhawk.
- LB Maciah Long– Of the current KU commits, Long has the most impressive list of offers. He committed to Kansas over the likes of Ohio State, Missouri, and Arizona St., just to name a few. Long is both a talented inside linebacker and quarterback at North Shore high school, in Houston. He has great size for a linebacker, at 6-2, 230 lbs., and he is an instinctive athlete. There has been some speculation about whether Long will remain solid in his commitment to KU, or if he will explore his options at other schools. If he stays with his commitment, don’t be surprised to see long competing for a starting job next year, next to Marcquis Roberts and Joe Dineen Jr.
- DE Manaia Perese– Perese, a commit from Snow College in Utah, has the pass-rushing ability that Kansas needs. Replacing Ben Goodman will not be easy, but Perese has the size and the speed to start from day one at Kansas. Paired with freshman, Dorance Armstrong Jr. and senior Damani Mosby, Kansas should be able to rush the passer next season, which should greatly benefit the defensive back play as well.
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