The state of Kansas isn’t historically known for pumping out many big name players from the high school ranks. They’ll usually have a couple of 4-star prospects a year, and that’s it. For comparison’s sake, a perennially talent-rich state like Florida usually has at least 60 4-star prospects each year. So when you have two BCS schools in a state like Kansas, they not only have to lock down the in-state talent, but also must dabble elsewhere.
For the Kansas Jayhawks, they just went a long way in signing arguably the most talented player in the state from the class of 2014- running back Traevohn Wrench, who gave a verbal commitment to the Jayhawks this past Saturday afternoon. What does this mean for the Jayhawks?
Obviously, everyone knows how mightily KU struggled in Charlie Weis’s first season at the helm, going a putrid 1-11, with the only win coming against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (an FCS team). But Weis was able to soothe a lot of concerns about his ability to lead the program by signing a very respectable class (ranked 46th by rivals.com) on National Signing Day, just under a month ago.
Now Weis is eying his 2014 class, and Wrench is/was right at the top of his list. Wrench, from Gardner Edgerton High School (Gardner, KS) is the most talented running back to come out of the Sunflower State since Bryce Brown in 2009 (considered by most to be the number one player in the country that year).
Wrench has decent size (6’0” 180), but superb qualities everywhere else. He’s got the speed both inside and out (with the extra gear for pulling away on long runs), has excellent vision finding holes, good making hard cuts, strength to push for those extra yards, and the durability to handle a full load for an offense. Granted, Wrench hasn’t been playing against the kind of competition you’d find in, say, Texas, but he has proven himself on the camp circuit against similarly talented prospects. He’ll need to get stronger and put on some more weight to be a feature back in Weis’s pro-style offense, in addition to working on his blocking skills, but after that he could be the star ball-carrier the Jayhawks have been looking for since John Riggins left in 1970.
Yes, this is a huge coup for the embattled Weis. Not only does he have a verbal commitment from the best player in the state of Kansas, he’s got one of the top running backs in the country. Now he just needs to make sure he’ll still be the head coach of the Jayhawks in 2014, or all of his efforts to rebuild KU will have been in vain.