CFB analyst commends Kansas football recruiting efforts under Jayhawks HC Lance Leipold

See what this expert had to say about the future of the Jayhawks
Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV
Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas v UNLV / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Kansas football program has seen tremendous improvements under fourth-year HC Lance Leipold. The former Buffalo coach took the Jayhawks from the cellar of Power 5 football to one of the best up-and-coming teams in the NCAA. He has changed the culture and outlook of KU for years to come.

One of the ways Leipold has taken the school to another level is with his strong recruiting classes. He reeled in the program's top class in the rankings era, including the highest-rated player in EDGE Deshawn Warner. KC Sports Network podcast member and former 247 Sports beat reporter Kevin Flaherty joined K-Nation this weekend and talked about how Leipold's success with his roster construction has resulted in better on-field results.

CFB analyst sings praise for Lance Leipold, Kansas football

"There was a top recruit in the state just a few classes ago that basically sent out the message, ‘If I’m going to stay in state, I’m not going to Kansas.' And it was early stages of the recruitment. ‘I’m not even going to give you a chance. I’m not going to look at you.’ And I think that’s been the major difference…I think kids have their doors open more and they’re willing to hear what people say."

Kevin Flaherty

Flaherty's sentiment is shared by many Jayhawk fans. Recruiting success did not solve the numerous problems on the field under previous coaches like Charlie Weis, David Beaty, and Les Miles. Flaherty mentioned how different the recruiting scheme in Lawrence is from one decade ago when Weis used to kick several players off the team per year due to personal grudges.

High school signings are not the only way Leipold has utilized his options to bolster the roster. Some transfers during his tenure include Dominick Puni and Austin Booker, two All-Big 12 First Team honorees who heard their names called during the 2024 NFL Draft. Others include Mike Novitsky and Lonnie Phelps, who also reached the next level.

More importantly than his portal additions, Leipold has prioritized player retention. He has convinced several stars to steer clear of the transfer portal, even if more promising NIL deals were on the table elsewhere. Standouts such as Devin Neal, Jalon Daniels, and Cobee Bryant are perfect examples of players who stayed and laid the groundwork for KU football's future.

Only time will tell what the Jayhawks can do with a healthy roster and lauded recruiting classes. One thing is for sure, though — the trajectory of Kansas football might be higher than it ever has been in school history.