LAWRENCE — During his first season at Kansas, a disappointing 1-11 campaign, coach Charlie Weis outlined his recruiting strategy in pretty clear terms.
He wanted impact junior college players who were looking to play right away, and high-character high school kids who wanted to be at Kansas.
It’s pretty clear what camp Joe Dineen falls in.
Dineen, who’ll soon be a senior safety at Lawrence Free State, grew up a Kansas fan in a Jayhawk family. His grandfather, Ron Oelschlaeger, was a running back at Kansas in the early 1960s. And his mother, Jodi, played volleyball at KU.
So in many ways, it was a pretty easy choice for Dineen, who verbally committed to KU coach Charlie Weis on Wednesday.
“It’s always been special,” Dineen told Rivals.com. “I’ve grown up here (in Lawrence). You see all the blue and red and hear a lot about KU. It feels good to carry on the tradition in my family.”
Dineen (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) played defensive back and running back for Free State last season, helping the Firebirds to a 10-2 record and a run to the Kansas 6A state semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champion Shawnee Mission West.
In addition to the family connections, Dineen said he felt comfortable with KU assistant coach Clint Bowen, a former Jayhawks safety who also grew up in Lawrence.
“Overall he was an important part to it all,” Dineen told Rivals. “I have known him my whole life. In the last six months I have got close to him.”
Dineen, rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, also had an offer from Rice and was drawing interest from Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, among others. He becomes the third commitment in the Jayhawks’ 2014 class and the second from the state of Kansas.
In early March, Weis picked up a commitment from Gardner Edgerton’s Traevohn Wrench, a four-star running back. And the Jayhawks also landed three-star linebacker Kyron Watson (East St. Louis, Ill.) on May 14.
Dineen’s commitment came just two days after KU lost out on another Free State player with KU ties. Defensive tackle Fred Wyatt, the son of KU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt, picked Northwestern over a list of offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Rice, according to Rivals.