Summer Opponent Preview: Kansas Jayhawks – The Preview

We preview the Kansas Jayhawks with a look at the coaches who have arrived in Lawrence and various players that have an opportunity to contribute.

Quick Facts on Kansas

Last Year’s Record: 3-9
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Coach: David Beaty
Returning Offensive Starters: QB Michael Cummings, OL Larry Mazyck, OL Joe Gibson
Returning Defensive Starters: DL Ben Goodman

RELATED: Summer Opponent Preview: Kansas Jayhawks – The Numbers

Three Stars

  1. QB Carter Stanley (6-2/188) or QB Ryan Willis (6-4/205): We’ve seen plenty of Michael Cummings and Montrell Cozart and in my opinion, they really aren’t spread quarterbacks. They don’t pass well enough to do what I think what Likens will want to do at Kansas (see below). So, like Kinner, this isn’t a prediction because it’s tough to find three stars, but in any event, what would be wrong with starting one of the two freshmen? And if Stanley’s name sounds familiar, he was a player that Kingsbury was going to give a preferred walk-on spot to after Stidham decommitted. Stanely is from Florida and threw for over 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior. He definitely was a spread guy in high school. Willis also threw for 3,000 yards and had 35 touchdowns as a senior and he was also a spread guy in high school. The difference between the two, other than the obvious height and weight differences is that Willis is from Kansas and was pretty good on the high school level. Don’t get me giving opinions of Kansas high school football, but he put up some pretty good numbers. And his old man played for Kansas State, so there’s that.
  2. TE Ben Johnson (6-5/234), DE Ben Goodman (6-3/253) and OL Jordan Shelley-Smith (6-5/295): These are the three guys that came to the Big 12 Media Days for Kansas. All three players have something in common, which is that they are all academic honor roll guys and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Goodman is a defensive end from Beaumont originally and he’ll be a senior this year after starting 12 games last year at defensive end. Not a ton of production, but that’s pretty true across the board for the returning Kansas players. Shelley-Smith is a former tight end that switched to offensive line last year and played 12 games at right tackle with one start at that spot. Johnson is a sophomore who caught 8 passes for 80 yards last year and I’m guessing that they hope to utilize the tight end as much as possible this year year. Had really good numbers in high school, catching 97 passes for 1,552 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. That definitely qualifies as pretty good.
  3. RB Ke’aun Kinner (5-9/180): Just a total guess here, but it appears that there are not many running backs and I’m not predicting that Kinner is going to start, but he certainly has the resume and the returning players aren’t all that accomplished. Kinner was at Navarro JC the last two years, being named the offensive player of the year in 2014, rushing for 1,696 yards and 22 touchdowns, which was Kinner’s biggest and best year. If Kansas is really running the spread, then I bet Kinner gets a pretty good shot at starting and he comes in pretty highly rated and he comes in with very little competition.

Five Things

  1. Not Sure Where to Start: This has been the toughest preview of the year thus far and it’s really tough to find that silver lining here. You can usually do that with every team, and I think the silver lining is going to be head coach David Beaty. The plan for Beaty is to kick the crap out of recruiting in Texas. Beaty is known to be a Texas guy and a guy that recruits Texas, with 1,000 high school coaches in his cell phone number. Beaty’s plan is to recruit Texas and that’s a pretty good plan. We’ll talk more about Clint Bowen in a bit, but have Bowen recruit Kansas and Beaty recruit Texas and that’s a pretty good combination.
  2. Retaining Bowen was Smart: Clint Bowen was a guy that Kingsbury was considering as an option at defensive coordinator and he’s a young up-and-coming defensive coordinator who happens to have an alma mater in Kansas that hasn’t been very good at football. It’s one of the selling points that Texas Tech has had, which is that Kingsbury has lived and breathed Texas Tech and the same can be said about Bowen. Bowen and Beaty worked together many years ago under Mark Mangino. When I read the list of returning starters, I had to check multiple times to make sure that I was getting it correct and I am all but positive that I did.
  3. Kanas’ New Offense: Here we go go the spread, as Kansas hired California receivers coach Rob Likens. So, tracing the steps here, Likens arrived at Cal from Louisiana Tech with Sonny Dykes and a couple of years at Cal and now Kansas is fulling going to the spread. The Jayhawks seemed to flip a bit in terms of offense as Charlie Weis seemed to go from a pro-style of offense to a more run-based team last year, I think I recall them hiring Rice’s offensive coordinator for a year, and now, Likens will be tasked with implementing the relatively standard spread offense like what Cal ran last year.
  4. You’re Dismissed: Oh man, Beaty is cleaning house and there are a ton of players that have been dismissed from Kansas and I think they have around 60 or so scholarship players. Beaty recently dismissed RB Corey Avery, WR Rodriguez Coleman, while LB Jake Love retired without saying why other than for medical reasons. Avery was Kansas’ leading returning rusher and Coleman was the leading receiver. Also dismissed was DL Andrew Bolton, WR Nigel King declared for the NFL draft and wasn’t drafted. Isaiah Johnson graduated early and transferred to South Carolina. So yeah, I’m not sure how this is going to play out, but it would figure to be a pretty rough year.
  5. So Much Depends on Cummings: Although I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Cummings, he’s a talented football player, but not sure he’s a quarterback, and he is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury and is out indefinitely. Cummings is the best option, without question. He can burn you running the ball, but he obviously has issues with that arm and he’s not the best passer, but Cummings is the best option and if he plays, there’s a better than zero chance of winning some games, but without Cummings, I’m just not sure. For me, he’s much better than Cozart and the true freshmen are unproven, but they at the very least have experience in a more traditional passing spread offense.

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