LAWRENCE — Les Miles’ first early signing period haul with Kansas football produced a pair of quarterbacks and two home-state commitments.
The big-splash hire, however, is still looking for his first big-splash signee.
The Jayhawks on Wednesday morning officially added quarterbacks Thomas MacVittie (Mesa [Ariz.] Community College) and Torry Locklin (Rockdale [Texas] High School) as well as safety Jayden Russell (Aquinas High School) and tight end Mason Fairchild (Andale High School), both Sunflower State products. Including MacVittie, KU’s Day 1 signees also include six of 10 from the junior college level.
Hired Nov. 18 to replace fourth-year coach David Beaty, Miles finalized his coaching staff Wednesday with the announcement of former Indiana State offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski as the Jayhawks' new tight ends coach. Still, Miles didn't hire his first assistant coach until Dec. 3, and when one factors in the relatively new element of the early signing period, which this year runs from Dec. 19-21, it’s safe to assume Miles’ first recruiting venture at KU was a bit of a scramble.
“As the staff came on board, we came up with goals of people we must have,” Miles said in a release. “We assembled needs and I am really proud of how (my assistant coaches) have done and all of the hard work they have put in. They have done a great job of assembling a small class, but one that is talented and addresses some very specific needs.”
Miles inherited a recruiting class with just one oral pledge, a player who has since decommitted from the program. He has an estimated 15 scholarships to give this year, down 10 from the regularly permitted amount given the Jayhawks’ recent reliance on transfer players and blue shirting, the latter a workaround that lets teams borrow against a following year’s scholarship total.
Russell is thus far KU’s highest-rated high school player in the Class of 2019, ranked 721st nationally by recruiting outlet 247sports.com and 1,015th in the organization’s composite rankings. Miles said both Russell and Fairchild are “good players who are going to have great careers,” their commitments representing the first step in a planned “500-mile footprint” in recruiting that Miles wants to have in the region.
“There are some really talented guys right here in Kansas and they want to stay home,” Miles said. “This is a great education. This is a place where the number one basketball team is playing. Athletics happen here. Quality academics happen here. It’s an easy place to want to represent.”
MacVittie, a former Pittsburgh quarterback, is arguably the biggest get of the early session, “a great junior college quarterback” and “arguably the best pocket-mobile quarterback there was,” Miles said. Wideouts Andrew Parchment and Ezra Naylor, both incoming juniors out of Iowa Central Community College, should help replenish the Jayhawks’ depleted receiving corps.
Other signees include cornerbacks Valerian Agbaw (McEachern [Ga.] High School) and Justin Ford (Golden West [Calif.] College) and defensive linemen Caleb Sampson (Coahoma [Miss.] Community College) and Malcolm Lee (Iowa Western Community College).
All four of the Jayhawks' high school signees are three-star recruits, according to 247sports. One potential home-run signee, four-star linebacker Donte Starks, chose LSU during a Wednesday morning commitment ceremony. Starks, a Marrero, La., native, had KU as one of two finalists, though he had previously orally committed to the Tigers.
“We signed guys who will be very significant in our development as we go forward,” Miles said. “This is a small class that does not have the full numbers. It is the hand that we were dealt in terms of numbers, but in my opinion we put a great class together.”
KU RECRUITING CLASS
(x-junior college transfer)
Name, position, height, weight, previous school
Valerian Agbaw, CB, 5-11, 185, McEachern (Ga.) HS
Mason Fairchild, TE, 6-5, 250, Andale HS
x-Justin Ford, CB, 6-1, 175, Golden West (Calif.) College
x-Malcolm Lee, DL, 6-5, 240, Iowa Western CC
Torry Locklin, QB, 6-2, 190, Rockdale (Texas) HS
x-Thomas MacVittie, QB, 6-5, 220, Mesa (Ariz.) CC
x-Ezra Naylor, WR, 6-4, 202, Iowa Central CC
x-Andrew Parchment, WR, 6-3, 185, Iowa Central CC
Jayden Russell, S, 6-2, 180, Aquinas HS
x-Caleb Sampson, DL, 6-4, 270, Coahoma (Miss.) CC