Analyst: Kansas football ‘got away with theft’ by keeping edge rusher tandem through signing day

Kansas football was able to fend off premier programs like Ohio State and Michigan from 2024 defensive end recruit Deshawn Warner.

December 1, 2023; Tempe, Ariz.; USA; Desert Edge Deshawn Warner (15) breaks toward the endzone
December 1, 2023; Tempe, Ariz.; USA; Desert Edge Deshawn Warner (15) breaks toward the endzone / Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY

Kansas football had a remarkably successful opening to the NCAA's Early Signing Period. Each of the 16 Jayhawk pledges put pen to paper and signed their National Letter of Intent, the binding agreement that they will be student-athletes at the university. The coaching staff even surprised the fanbase with a last-minute flip, securing a commitment from the son of new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.

The real headline of the day was that they managed to maintain the commitment of Deshawn Warner. He could become the next great star in Lawrence. Despite barely cracking the top 600 in initial recruiting rankings, he vaulted to No. 148 in the nation this week, making him the highest-rated signee to ever commit to KU.

When his recruitment started picking up a few months ago, Warner picked up offers from Big Ten powerhouses Michigan and Ohio State. Although those schools surely made compelling offers to the Desert Edge High School senior, he stayed true to his initial choice and will enroll in classes at KU next year.

Along with Warner in the 2024 class is another talented defensive end prospect in Dakyus Brinkley. He is rated 316th nationally in 247 Sports Composite rankings and one of the best pass rushers in his class. "Dak" signed with KU as expected and will enroll early, starting in January.

Bringing in players as highly touted as these two is practically unheard of for the Kansas program, which had been considered the laughing stock of Power 5 football for over a decade. The Jayhawks have gone from not being able to fill all of their scholarship spots during the David Beaty era to adding a slew of 4-star recruits.

Fans across the country are amazed at what Leipold has done since he arrived in 2021. Recruiting analysts also can't believe he managed to keep U of M and OSU away from a player of Warner's caliber. Mike Roach of 247 Sports says Kansas 'got away with theft' here.

Roach continued: "Both of those guys are high-level pass-rushers. And when you talk about Kansas, a team that has done a remarkable job rebuilding under Lance Leipold, what they’ve done getting two impact players at a money position like that, that could change the way your defense plays. It could change the way you recruit going forward. I think it should be one of the bigger storylines of Signing Day is that Kansas was able to get away with two guys like that."

Kansas football fans should be excited for what the coming years have to offer. They could be on top of the Big 12 a few years from now, and the edge rusher tandem of Warner and Brinkley could be a massive reason why.