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Fun, opportunity main selling point for KU

Since 2010, Kansas has had as many head coaches as Big 12 conference wins.

Turner Gill and Charlie Weis preceded new head coach David Beaty during that five-year span in Lawrence, Kansas, which saw KU's only conference victories come against Colorado (2010), West Virginia (2013) and Iowa State (2014).

As Beaty set to put together the first recruiting class of his KU tenure, he couldn't lean on tales of Jayhawks' triumphs nor could he point to coaching stability for a program that has been searching for success since Mark Mangino left in 2009.

Instead, Beaty had to sell his vision for the future.

"One of the things that we talked about is, this is going to be fun," Beaty said of his selling point to the Class of 2015 on signing day. "College football is tough now. It's a hard job. You got two full-time jobs as a student and an athlete. That's two full-time jobs.

"Football is too hard not to be a little bit fun."

Making football fun might seem obvious but that was one of the changes Clint Bowen brought to the program when he took over as interim head coach for the final eight games of last season. Bowen made adding a fun factor one of his priorities when he took over for Weis in late September and players expressed the excitement about the change in atmosphere during Bowen's time running the program. He went on to win as many Big 12 games (1) as Gill and Weis during his short span in charge.

Beaty's vision doesn't stop there.

An uptempo offense and aggressive defense are the goals for Beaty's team with an eye on bringing big plays, plenty of points and excitement to Kansas Memorial Stadium.

"We're going to be an up-tempo, high-flying, throwing-that-ball-around offense. It's going to be

exciting to play in, an explosive attack," Beaty said. "Same thing defensively. We're going to be a high-pressure, get after you, get up field, try to create turnovers, steal possessions. Those are things that we want to play in."

But, overall, it was the opportunity to be a part of the vision that could stand as the determining factor for many of KU's signees.

"I think the opportunity for a lot of them was, maybe, the one thing that stuck out," Beaty said.

Opportunity doesn't just represent the chance to help turn the program around, it represented the chance to come in and see the field from Day 1. The battle to be the Jayhawks' starting quarterback will be wide open, including 2014 signees Carter Stanley and Ryan Willis, as well as pretty much every other spot on the depth chart.

"Here is the way we're going to do things around here. It's real simple," Beaty said. "These kids, they know this, because I talked to every one of these kids that signed. It's no longer about what anybody says, it's about what you do. We're going to go by who's the best. That's easy to see. It's not that difficult. The cream, as I say, always rises. Somebody is willing to give more than the other. That guy usually separates himself."

A recruiting class that featured eight junior college signees and 17 players from Texas could end up having the quickest impact of any class that became official on signing day. It could be years before his vision becomes reality but the Class of 2015 could end up being remembered for setting the standard if its signees seize the opportunity presented by Beaty and company.

"Everybody on our football team is going to have an opportunity," Beaty said. "They're only as good as their next day, their next practice, their next rep. That's the only way we're going to get this deal done."