Kansas football: Calvin Clements commitment a sign of things to come?

General view of the Kansas Jayhawks helmet. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
General view of the Kansas Jayhawks helmet. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas football coaching staff got an early present this week as offensive tackle Calvin Clements switched his commitment from Baylor to Kansas.

The 6-foot-7 Clements is a 3-star prospect in the 2023 class (according to Rivals.com) who chose the Jayhawks over Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and others.

But perhaps the most encouraging sign from his commitment is that he comes from nearby Lawrence Free State High School and is the No. 8-ranked player in Kansas.

For far too long, Kansas coaching staffs have been losing players in their backyard and the surrounding area to other programs.

Kansas State has been the main culprit, but there have been others such as Iowa State, Missouri, and Oklahoma who have swooped in as well.

Since 2019, the Jayhawks have signed or received commitments from only five players ranked in the Top 10 in Kansas (per Rivals). That’s five out of 40 high school prospects.

To be fair, not all of them received official offers from Kansas. And under head coach Lance Leipold, KU plans to commit a lot of resources to recruiting players from the transfer portal – particularly those with proven success at the college level and multiple years of eligibility – which may mean fewer spots for high school prospects than years past.

Related Story. Kansas football transfer portal update. light

But a good rule of thumb when it comes to recruiting is to not let the best local prospects get away.

Although Kansas isn’t a hotbed for recruiting like Texas or other states with multiple four- and five-star talents year in and year out, keeping the top-ranked local prospects in state is never a bad thing.

Having grown up watching the team and knowing the program, those local players will have a sense of ownership and appreciation for every win and loss that out-of-state players may not.

Kansas’ star running back Devin Neal is a perfect example of that.

Neal has been the major exception to KU’s recruiting efforts locally in recent years. He was the No. 1-ranked player in Kansas coming out of high school and he’s spoken often about what it means to play for his hometown school and be a part of this current turnaround.

It’s understandable why Kansas may have struggled with recruiting in recent years due to their lack of success, but recruits like Clements are starting to take notice of the improvements and it could change KU’s fortunes with local recruiting going forward.

“I am definitely finding the value in staying local and staying around my community of support,” Clements told Jayhawkslant.com. “And I really have a lot of pride in KU and for the program. And I want to continue to see this place on the rise and continue to see more and more success. I want to be a part of it.”