It took only a few seconds and a greeting before David Beaty got down to it.
“One of the big things for me is we are located right now in one of the finest, most fertile grounds for high school athletes in the country,” the new Kansas football coach said Monday at Big 12 media day in Dallas, “and those athletes are coached by some of the finest high school coaches in the country.”
Beaty’s plan to revitalize the Jayhawks has been no secret. As a former Texas high school football coach — at North Dallas and Irving MacArthur —he will build his signing classes on a foundation of players from the Lone Star State.
But Beaty’s strategy is more opportunistic than ingenious. He’s already recruiting Texas hard, because who wouldn’t?
In the last five recruiting classes —2012 through the current 2016 group —the state of Kansas has produced 15 recruits rated as four-stars or higher, according to the 247 Sports database. (None, by the way, have landed with the Jayhawks).
In that same span, Fort Worth area schools have produced 19 four-stars or higher, according to Rivals.
Beaty, most recently the receivers coach at Texas A&M, has responded to the disparity between the two talent bases by handing out 81 offers to 2016 recruits in Texas and 29 offers to 2017 recruits. Justin Northwest offensive lineman Darrell Simpson, a rising sophomore, also picked up an offer from the Jayhawks earlier this summer.
Beaty’s early returns show an emphasis on Texas: Four of KU"s eight commitments — including Aledo offensive lineman Hunter Harris — are from the state. For the 2015 class, KU offered 50 Texas recruits, but of the 19 who eventually committed, 15 did so after Beaty was hired in December.
The Jayhawks, led by Charlie Weis from 2012-14, offered 34 Texas recruits in 2014, 26 in 2013 and 38 in 2012, according to 247 Sports data.
To no surprise, Beaty attended the Texas High School Coaches Association convention Sunday in Houston before flying to Dallas for Kansas’ media session the next day. His ties to that "brotherhood" are already strong, and he knows he’ll have to maintain them from two states away.
"It’s crucial," he said. "It's a big deal for me to know that I was and still am at heart a Texas high school football coach."
One notable hire Beaty to strengthen a pipeline from Lawrence to Texas was adding former Arlington Bowie coach Kenny Perry as co-defensive coordinator. Perry jumped from Bowie to TCU in 2013, as a liaison between high school coaches and the program, before getting promoted to cornerbacks coach.
While Beaty raved about Perry’s technical skills as a coach, it’s clear Perry’s "magnetic personality" has already made an impact on the Jayhawks’ recruiting efforts.
"I can’t tell you how many Texas high school football coaches were up there this spring," Beaty said. "It’s amazing how many guys came up there to see us, because Kenny was there. This dude, his phone bill must be out of this world. He is talking to coaches all over the world all day, every day."
Nearly a Frog
Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings nearly signed with TCU. In fact, on national signing day in 2013, his decision lingered until he announced it on an afternoon radio show.
Billings, one of three Bears at Big 12 media day Tuesday, remembered how close he was to becoming a Horned Frog.
"At times, I was very close," he said. "I wanted Baylor. I told coach, if Baylor wasn’t in Waco, I would have been committed (earlier). But it was in Waco, and I was trying to fight the fact that I wanted to get away from home. But being on a college campus is totally different."
Further complicating his choice was the budding rivalry between the two schools.
"I could sense it happening," he said. "Especially in recruiting. I went to the TCU-Baylor game [in 2012]. I saw how it was. That was the energy I knew I wanted, but I didn’t know if I wanted that in Waco or if I wanted that in [Fort Worth]."
Southlake Carroll 2016 ATH Lil’Jordan Humphrey visited Cal this week.
Southlake Carroll 2017 DB Robert Barnes visited Baylor, a few days after picking up an offer from the Bears. Barnes, as we noted last week, also has offers from Alabama and Oklahoma.
Colleyville Heritage 2016 DB Reid Harrison-Ducros picked up an offer from Hawaii. Harrison-Ducros committed to Boise State earlier in the summer.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760