Would Texas A&M Consider Hiring Away Jayhawks’ Savior?
It’s no secret that Lance Leipold will be one of the hottest names on the coaching market when it comes to hiring for any huge job going forward. The man has resurrected Kansas—perhaps the most moribund program in all of FBS, including the group of 5—and made them into a respectable team. More than just respectable, too, he has the Jayhawks with a solid chance at a ten-win season! A feat like that beggars belief. His units are well-coached, the man knows what he wants out of a coordinator, and the whole on the field is better than the sum of its parts.
There’s a lot to like with Leipold. He has ascended quickly, from Buffalo to Kansas, and appears to be on the brink of doing something special with the Jayhawks. However, there are still similar unknowns and concerns that should be considered and addressed with this kind of hire. Can he recruit at the necessary level? Recruiting at Kansas, though obviously not stellar in the first place, hasn’t really taken a huge step forwards under his leadership. He currently has no recruits committed in the top 300. Again, this speaks to his coaching ability, but you can only get so far in college football operating at a talent deficit. It is a well-established fact that every team in the era of online recruiting rankings to win a national championship has done so with a roster that consists of over 50% blue-chip (four or five star) recruits. Can Leipold hit that mark if he were hired at Texas A&M football? He certainly hasn’t shown that he could thus far in his coaching career.
Similar questions are present with Leipold as are with Traylor when it comes to being read for this kind of spotlight, as well. Neither have been a major player on a staff at a top school in the nation to this point in their careers, so it’s an unknown how each would deal with the pressures of being head coach at one of the most scrutinized schools in the nation. Texas A&M has proven time and again to be endlessly patient with their coaches, never really making a rash decision, but external pressures can be tough at a place like A&M. I would be cautiously optimistic with Leipold, but I would have to see what kind of staff he gets in place around him before I make a final determination.