Apr 28, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Dayne Crist (10) makes a pass in the first half of the Spring Game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
Just as we do in the spring, it's time to sift through the roster as the players grind through fall camp. Most of the current roster is set with the exception of just a few. That means we have a pretty good idea as to who will be competing at each position and how each group will look during 2012. Who are the likely starters? How does the position look in terms of depth? And players might project as major contributors in the future?
To kick things off let's start with the quarterbacks. There really isn't much in the way of a quarterback battle or a quarterback controversy. The position is as locked up as any on the current Kansas depth chart. However there are still a host of storylines and questions as fall camp continues.
Michael Cummings - Cummings is the lone holdover at this position from the Turner Gill era. Cummings was in the same class as the now infamous Brock Berglund and would have fit the mold with the previous regime. The good news for him is that this staff has seen enough potential in him that he appears comfortable remaining at Kansas. Cummings often finds himself lumped into the category as a running quarterback but coming out of camp Charlie Weis made a point of saying that Cummings has the ability as a passer and he is simply short on experience at this stage in his career. Cummings will compete with Turner Baty for the backup spot in 2012.
Dayne Crist - Charlie Weis added Crist to the Kansas roster shortly after being named to the head coaching job. That addition was made with every intention of having Crist take control of the Kansas offense during the 2012 season. Crist provides Kansas with their first quarterback in some time that can boast legitimate NFL stature as he checks in at 6'4", 235 pounds. That's all the more impressive considering that it has become clear that Weis doesn't follow the somewhat standard practice of fudging measurements. Crist has assumed a leadership role with the team, he's set the bar at a high level for the rest of the offense and all indications are that adding a player with his skill set have helped to elevate the expectations on offense.
Turner Baty - Baty checks in at 6'2" 215 which puts him pretty much right in the middle between Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings in terms of physical stature. Based on his success at the junior college level he should have more in the way of a collegiate like experience than Cummings but neither has taken a snap at the division one level. In an ideal scenario Dayne Crist completes a healthy season for Kansas and Baty could potentially take a redshirt. That would give him the maximum amount of eligibility as he enters a competition with Jake Heaps and Michael Cummings in the spring. However Baty has been pretty consistent in voicing his desire to compete this year. It will be interesting to see how Weis handles Baty and his eligibility this fall.
Jake Heaps - Heaps is just an inch shorter than Baty at 6'1" 208. Due to transfer rules he will sit the duration of the 2012 season before entering a full on competition next spring for the starting job. Early on Heaps is getting repetitions in fall camp and that should continue. Once we hit the week to week preparation he could prove to be a very valuable preparation tool for the Kansas staff.
Blake Jablonski - We've covered Jablonski's history here in the past. Without the influx in talent he very well could have been in the conversation given what was initially left behind for Weis to build with. After the addition of Crist, Baty and Heaps, it's probably a safe assumption that Jablonski will continue in a scout team capacity and on special teams.
There's a well defined "plan A" at Kansas and then there is everything else. Any significant change in the fortunes of Kansas football in 2012 will without question have something to do with the play of Dayne Crist. If he faces an injury or struggles to meet expectations, Kansas will need a lift from somewhere else. Crist alone doesn't change everything, but he's an absolutely critical piece to changing anything. There aren't many in the media or around the league that are expecting much out of Kansas this year, but it will be interesting to see how a healthy productive Dayne Crist might change that perception.