In the future, there might be recruiting classes at Pittsburg State that will be fawned over, their expectations drawn up the moment they sign to play football for the Gorillas.
This year, however, was all about just putting one together. And that being said, newly-minted Pittsburg State coach Tim Beck is excited with the new talent headed to southeast Kansas — 27 high school seniors and 11 transfers — as the Gorillas try to rebuild after arguably the most turmoil-filled season in school history.
Beck replaced longtime Pittsburg State coach Chuck Broyles on Dec. 9 after Broyles resigned Dec. 2 following a 5-6 season, the first losing mark in Broyles' 20 years as head coach.
"It's exciting for all of our staff to get them signed and then take a deep breath," said Beck, who has been the Gorillas' offensive coordinator the last 16 seasons. "Our assistants took a few days off around Christmas, but then it was right back to work. So it's good to get things finalized."
The biggest impact from Beck's first class should be felt along the offensive and defensive lines, where the Gorillas bring in several high-level recruits, led by-foot-3, 280-pound offensive lineman Ty Henry, a first-team all-Jayhawk selection for Butler Community College last season.
Of the high school players, Columbus defensive lineman Tank Burns (6-2, 250 pounds) should be able to make a long-term impact.
"We've got seven or eight guys out of this class that we think can come in and make an immediate impact," Beck said. "We really focused on recruiting good offensive and defensive linemen."
At the skill positions, Beck also nabbed a pair of all-Jayhawk performers in Hutchinson cornerback Kendall Davis, a Wichita Heights product, and Pittsburg native CJ Fondren, who helped lead Fort Scott to the NJCAA national title game last season. Beck also said Winfield quarterback Tanner Bailey will play baseball and football for the Gorillas.
"In the future, we'll want to broaden our recruiting area," Beck said. "We didn't get to recruit as far out as we would have liked to this year; and a lot of that was because we had a little transition period, which set us back."