After a long season of basketball and a fantastic run by our Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament, it is time to turn our attention towards football. A new coaching regime has promised to turn things around in Lawrence, and the first position Charlie Weis addressed was Quarterback. And oh, boy... did he address it.
Dayne Crist was decided to rejoin his former coach at Kansas, which has many Jayhawk fans optimistic about next fall. That wasn't the only big addition Weis and his staff added to the QB position, and KU looks to be set at QB for years to come.
So who else joined Crist from elsewhere? Which holdovers from the Turner Gill reign of terror are still with us? Full breakdown after the jump.
Dayne Crist - 6'4, 235 - Senior #10
By now, Crist's story is well known to college football fans across the country. Blessed with NFL size and a big arm, Crist came out of high school as one of the country's top prospects, only to struggle with injuries and inconsistency at Notre Dame. After Weis was fired, Crist fell out of favor with new Irish coach Brian Kelly, and announced that he would transfer for his final season.
Despite all the turmoil, Crist has shown glimpses of his potential. In 2010, Crist threw for 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while completing nearly 60% of his passes. When he has been healthy, he has produced and played well. However, the veteran has had a lot of trouble staying on the field.
Crist enters 2012 as Kansas' starting quarterback. The 6'4, 235 lb. QB knows Weis' system, has plenty of in-game experience, and should be hungry to prove himself. If (a big if) he stays healthy, Crist could be a huge difference maker for Kansas this fall.
Jake Heaps - 6'1, 208 - Junior (Not Eligible To Play This Season) #9
Heaps is a transfer from BYU and will sit out next season; however Weis has currently listed Heaps as second on the depth chart as he plans on getting the former BYU Cougar plenty of snaps this spring and fall. Heaps' story is somewhat similar to Crist's - he was a top rated QB prospect in high school, and had a very solid season at BYU as a freshman. He started the first five games as a sophomore, only to lose his starting spot to Riley Nelson. After Nelson played well and secured the starting spot, Heaps decided to join Weis at Kansas.
Heaps appears to be Kansas' QB of the future. His ability to practice with the team and learn Weis' system should have him ready to start in 2013 and 2014, and Kansas fans should remain optimistic that he will live up to his potential.
Turner Baty - 6'2, 210 - Freshman
Baty is a JUCO transfer from the City College of San Francisco where he played one season. In that one season, he threw for 3,149 yards and 42 touchdowns while completing 64% of his passes. Not bad. Baty is unique in that he didn't have to attend JUCO for grades, rather he decided to light up the lower ranks for a year to try to entice an offer from a BCS level school (similar to the path NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers took).
Baty will have four years to play three seasons at KU, which means he could potentially redshirt next season and have three seasons in the mix at QB. Don't count him out of the competition with Crist though, and if the Senior gets hurt, Baty will likely be rushed into action. Baty will join the Jayhawks in June.
Mike Cummings - 5'10, 200 - RS Freshman #14
Cummings is a dual threat QB who boasts a strong arm and can be a dangerous runner. Many predicted the former Texas high school star would be in the mix at QB this season under former coach Turner Gill, until Gill lost his job and new coach Charlie Weis added three new QBs to the Jayhawks.
It is hard to gauge Cummings' future in Lawrence. Weis has added his guys to the QB rotation, and the RS freshman's style might not be an ideal fit for KU's new pro-style offense. However, Cummings' speed and athleticism should help his chances in finding the field at some point during his career at Kansas.
Blake Jablonski - 6'1, 208 - RS Sophomore #17
Many Jayhawk fans thought Jablonski had a decent shot to see some playing time last season due to Kansas' struggles at QB and the walk-on's strong showing in the spring game. However, Jablonski never saw the field and is now buried on the depth chart.
It looks like Jablonski's chances to get some playing time in Lawrence are slim with the new additions brought in by Weis. However, a few injuries could make things interesting. With Heaps unavailable next season and Cummings a question mark, Jablonski could move up the depth chart with a strong showing this spring.
The Jayhawks will enter the 2012 with Crist as their guy under center. If he can stay healthy, the big senior will give the Jayhawks their best QB since Todd Reesing and could be a big difference maker in Lawrence. Apart from Crist, the future looks very bright with Jake Heaps and Turner Baty, while Mike Cummings and Blake Jablonski will try to move up the depth chart this spring.
If Crist gets hurt, Baty will likely be pressed into service early, while Cummings and Jablonski battle to back him up. This spring should reveal a lot in regards to where Cummings and Jablonski stand in the rotation.
It all starts with the QB, and Weis has done a great job of adding much-needed talent to the Jayhawks. Some stability under center could be a huge difference maker for Kansas this season.