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On National Signing Day, 11-year-old Tonganoxie boy signs on to join KU football team for 2 years

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Welcome to the show. That's what college football coaches, such as Kansas' David Beatty, said to recruits -- and to one 11-year-old boy -- on Wednesday as National Signing Day brought in an entirely new group of players.

The Jayhawks signed 27 new players in all Wednesday, including one inspirational 11-year-old athlete from Leavenworth County.

When college football coaches talk about newcomers, they tend to speak with high hopes.

"Come on up here, man," Beatty said during Wednesday's news conference.

Beatty was quickly joined by all 4-foot-11 of Tayber Witt, a fifth-grader from Tonganoxie Elementary School. Witt's biography says he weighs less than 80 pounds, but he's proving to be strong enough to do more than score touchdowns.

"He's not very old, and he's already almost as tall as me," Beatty told reporters with a giggle.

The 11-year-old will be part of the Jayhawk football program for the next two years.

According to his mother, Lorelei Witt, the 11-year-old was born with a series of genetic disorders, some of which don't even have names yet.

Thanks to Team Impact, a nonprofit that pairs kids with special needs with their popular local sports teams, Witt will now attend every KU football game until 2020.

"I'm very excited," Witt said Wednesday afternoon. "It's very cool to come here and hang out with the boys."

Lorelei Witt said her family is honored that Beatty's program will mentor her son, who is out-muscling epilepsy, a urological disorder and a speech disorder that sometimes causes his speech to be difficult to understand.

"As a mom, it's touching," Lorelei Witt said. "There are a few times he'll get down, but he knows he has this to look forward to. It's going to benefit everybody. it makes me happy seeing him have something to look forward to like this."

Lorelei Witt said her son is also invited to attend Jayhawk football practices during the two years he's a member of the program.

Bryce Torneden, Kansas cornerback, is one of a group of Jayhawks who paid Tayber a visit, checking out a recent middle school basketball game with him.

"Two years ago, I didn't know I'd be part of something this special," Torneden said. "It's like I've gained a little brother."

"They treat me right and stuff. They're cool," Tayber said.

Tayber told FOX4 he dreams of playing wide receiver for KU and hearing the cheers of fans at Memorial Stadium. For the next few years, he won't have to imagine since he's now part of this band of brothers.

Beatty's program was disappointing on the field in 2017, finishing at 1-11 overall. The Jayhawks will return to the field for spring football workouts soon. No date has been set for the upcoming Kansas Spring Game.

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