Just like the defensive tackle depth chart, defensive end looks painfully thin. The Jayhawks do have a couple of very experienced players and one that will likely fill the role of captain on this team. As for the rest, it will be a patchwork of transfers, incoming recruits and possibly some players sliding outside from defensive tackle to help fill out a fragile rotation.
Long story short, there is no question that defense will again be a concern for Kansas. The Jayhawks have some decent starting talent, but the depth and the experience of that depth is a major concern. There have been steps taken to improve on that, but I think Campo has made it clear that there are still plenty of holes and a long road ahead.
|38||Richardson, Josh||6-4||235||Defensive End||SR (SQ)||Dublin, Ohio/Scioto HS|
Richardson was a late addition to one of the final Mangino recruiting classes. At the time he was viewed as a potential diamond in the rough, the type of player that Mangino had made a name off of. Richardson's brother had developed a great deal at the college level and worked his way into the NFL at the defensive end slot and the hope was that an athletics Richardson might find himself in a similar position down the line.
That doesn't appear to be happening. While he will be a five year program player, Richardson hasn't been a huge contributor on gameday. Hats off to him for battling for five years and working through quite a few ups and down, but it's hard to imagine that he will suddenly blossom into an impact player.
|35||Opurum, Toben||6-1.5||245||Defensive End||SR (3L)||Richardson, Texas/Plano East HS|
This year is big for Toben. He's going to be working under what appears to be a much more competent staff, he's going to have a better gameplan around him and Opurum has the potential to be a very solid player. The big question will be what Kansas can put around him. Opurum is likely your rush end on almost every down, he'll need other defensive lineman to draw attention in order for him to be the best he can be. There is some help on the way but it will have to come together in short order this August. I think everyone still has high hopes for Opurum and I would be shocked if he isn't one of the leaders/captains on this team again this fall.
|96||Agostinho, Keba||6-2||275||Defensive End||JR (2L)||Katy, Texas/James Taylor HS|
Keba continues to put on weight and could probably even drop down inside at this point if need be. At the same time he's been one of the more consistent performers at the position as an underclassman. He has some competition on the way, but as a junior with some solid physical development to speak of, Keba will be a big part of the rotation once again.
|62||Avery, Dylan||6-3||240||Defensive End||SO (SQ)||Topeka, Kan./Topeka HS|
Avery is a walk on, but he's a preferred walk on and he has decent size. At this point there really isn't anything to indicate that he'll work into the rotation but football is a sport where walk ons can make an impact when given time to develop under the right coaching and strength program.
|93||Goodman, Ben||6-3||248||Defensive End||FR (RS)||Beaumont, Texas/West Brook HS|
There have been some positive things coming out of spring ball regarding Goodman and his development. He's still only a redshirt freshman so he'll have plenty of time, but given the lack of depth his development this year could be pretty important. Goodman was one of those players that Gill talked about as an end that might start outside and eventually move inside. At 248, I think it's pretty clear he'll be outside this year and likely playing in a weakside role.
Josh Williams - 6'4" 260 - Sr
Williams was recruited by Mangino's staff before deciding on Nebraska in 2008. During his time in Lincoln, the Huskers have consistently put a strong product on the field, especially on the defensive line. Williams played in every game during the 2010 and 2011 seasons and would have been a potential starter for the Huskers this year. I look for Williams to push Keba for the starting roll on the strongside and ultimately win out which should help provide a boost to this unit.
The story at end is the same as it is at defensive tackle. Kansas has two players that provide most of the experience for this group and of the other three players probably only one projects as a major contributor during his career at Kansas. The addition of Williams could be huge. Also look for Keon Stowers and Pat Lewandowski, both listed as defensive tackles, to potentially slide out and help fill in with the end rotation.