By RICK PETERSON
The word diverse immediately comes to mind when looking at Washburn University's 32-member football recruiting class, announced Wednesday.
Washburn Rural star linebacker Ty Weber, a consensus all-stater and two-time TopSports.news Shawnee County defensive player of the year, signed with Washburn University on Wednesday. [File photo/TSN]
Washburn Rural standout receiver Amr Sabbarini (23) has signed a letter of intent with Washburn University. [File photo/TSN]
Highland Park senior Mackey James, named the Meadowlark Conference defensive player of the year as a senior, has signed a letter of intent with Washburn University. [File photo/TSN]
Silver Lake standout receiver Troy Heiman (11) signed a letter of intent with Washburn University on Wednesday. [File photo/TSN]
The class includes 12 Kansans, including Shawnee County senior stars Amy Sabbarini and Ty Weber of Washburn Rural, Highland Park's Mackey James and Silver Lake's Troy Heiman.
But the class also includes players from four other states, including a whopping seven players from both Georgia and Missouri, four from Texas and two from Arizona.
"One of our coaches, Malen Luke, has had connections for years in Georgia and we've had a few years of it already and then it really seemed to work well this year,'' said Washburn coach Craig Schurig, whose team is coming off a 7-4 season. "Those kids are very well coached, just like they are around here, and they feel comfortable coming here so it seems like it's a really good setup for us.''
There's also diversity among position groups, with 11 players projected as wide receivers, seven as linemen, five defensive backs, three running backs, three quarterbacks, two linebackers and one player listed as an athlete.
"We went after a lot of skill this year as far as power group and skill group,'' Schurig said. "We've had a lot of signings in the skill group over the last two years as kids have graduated -- a lot of D-backs and receivers, and obviously quarterback. We have our quarterback (Kellen Simoncic) back, but we lose our backup quarterback (Jared Taylor) so we wanted to sign some good quarterbacks and we did.
"It's probably as diverse from areas as we've had. It's a little bigger signing class than typical because we had such a big senior class. We had a lot of six-year seniors last year so we had 22 seniors and we had a couple of more guys that aren't coming back for their sixth fall so we have about 25 kids that are no longer going to play next year. So we needed to re-load in some respects and this class should do that.''
Washburn recruiting capsules: