Kicking off our positional previews for the 2009 edition of the Kansas Jayhawk football team is the quarterback position. Not a whole lot of mystery surrounding this position at the top of the depth chart as Todd Reesing looks to build on his legacy as the programs best quarterback.
Where the questions lie in this one are beyond the first team in terms of the backup and also in some areas further down the depth chart in terms of if some of the newcomers stay at the position and if some might take a redshirt.
Regardless those questions will be answered and the answers debated but for now let's take a glance at who's out there working at the quarterback position for the Jayhawks.
Again as we all expect Todd Reesing tops the depth chart for the Jayhawks and will look to go out with a bang during his senior campaign. Reesing brings a 20-6 record as a starter into the season after capping off 2008 with 3,888 yards and 32 touchdowns. Reesing has set multiple school marks both from a season standpoint and from a career standpoint and will likely wrap things up as the most successful Jayhawk signal caller in history. Pretty good for a 5 foot 10 quarterback that nobody wanted. Looking back it's hard not to wonder how things would have turned out without Reesing. Things may have still clicked or they may have never panned out resulting in Mangino no longer being at Kansas. I'm just glad we don't have to worry about that anymore. Other news of note on Reesing is that he has been named to the preseason watch list for both the Davey O'Brian and Walter Camp awards honoring some of college football's best. He'll face some stiff competition, but I think it's clear he won't go down without a fight.
Complete Positional Breakdown After the Jump...
The candidates for the backup likely comes from the trio of Kale Pick, Kerry Meier and Jordan Webb. Right now Meier and Pick are splitting time with 2nd team reps although Pick would appear to be the preferred choice. Meier still provides some leadership and experience back there though and that might be why we'll still see him taking reps here and there.
Looking at the two leading candidates starting with Pick a Kansas native out of Dodge City in 2008. Pick was originally committed to and expected to be headed to Arkansas to join the Razorbacks. However during the Orange Bowl run by the Jayhawks he changed his mind. One would have to believe that the monster numbers put up by Reesing that year had something to do with it, but at this point that's pure speculation. Pick took a redshirt in 2008 but impressed from the beginning winning the Otto Shnellbacher Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year. You'd have to think a season of playing the role of Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Colt McCoy and Graham Harrell did the guy some good in terms of preparing him for the next step. Pick does bring a bigger physical build than Reesing standing 6'2" 200 pounds and he also has been reported to have a stronger arm with some downhill speed to boot.
Kerry Meier who some might argue is Kansas' top reciever is still running with the quarterbacks as of the early going of camp. I think everyone sort of hopes that will change but at the same time he may be the best option in an injury situation. Meier has played the role before and as a redshirt freshman threw for a 56% completion percentage, just shy of 1200 yards and 13 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Meier also rushed for 350 yards and 5 touchdowns in that season. Durability has been his biggest enemy throughout his career and while the Kansas native has the toughness to play through as he showed last season, you hate to have your quarterback hampered to much by injury.
The likely next in line is true freshman Jordan Webb. Webb drew comparisons to Reesing and Missouri's Chase Daniel during his high school days in St. Louis throwing for 3100 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior, while rushing for over 1000 yards and 24 touchdowns as well. One big advantage Webb has over other freshman is he was a mid year grad and has gone through spring practices and a semester of training. In the spring game he showed a little of the pocket presence we've come to love from our current signal caller and he also showed perhaps a stronger ability to make a play with his feet. Depending on how the staff wants to handle their quarterback situation I could see a scenario where Webb plays in 2009, although I think the preference of many would be a year redshirting before battling for the job in 2010.
Another true freshman that joined the team this summer is Christian Matthews. There has been a lot of speculation amongst fans as to whether he stays at quarterback or moves positions because of his athleticism but as of now he's working with the QB's. I think it's a pretty strong likelihood Matthews takes a redshirt and perhaps in the next year things change. For now however it would appear he'll remain at a position where he completed over 61% of his passes as a three year letterwinner in high school. During that time Matthews amassed over 6500 yards and 52 touchdowns in his high school playing days and as a senior threw for 19 touchdowns with only 6 interceptions. The Jayhawk staff's ability to be successful in moving players is probably what brings about all the speculation, but who knows, Matthews may surprise some folks.
Finishing out the quarterback position on the roster at quarterback is a sophomore transfer Chase Knighton. Knighton joins the Jayhawks after a one year stint at Tabor College. Knighton saw limited action at Tabor but as a high school senior the Texas native threw for over 1400 yards and 22 touchdowns while also playing corner.
There you have it. Arguably the most important position on the field, especially in the spread offense. Todd Reesing certainly instills a lot of confidence in the team, the coaches and the fans. After that, there is a lot of potential but until it happens they are still big question marks. Goal from day one should be to win games, win big and keep Todd healthy and fresh while perhaps learning a little more about what we have in waiting.