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Kansas Football: A Closer Look At The "Talent" On Defense

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First off, I'd like to apologize for explain why I have not made a post in a couple weeks now. I have been out of town a lot for work and also applying for graduate school. To get me back rolling, I'm going to look at the "talent" Kansas has on defense, compared to the 2007 defense and Kansas State's defense.

Now, I know the problem with just using Rivals rankings for this sort of thing. Rankings, can be misleading, etc. For shitzengiggle though, let's just see what they look like. At the end, we'll look at the average Rivals score and the average star ranking. For starters, we'll look at this year's defense:

DE Kevin Young, SO - 5.6 ***

DT Richard Johnson JR., SR - 5.6 ***

DE Keba Agostinho, SO - 5.5 ***

LB Toben Opurum, JR - 5.8 ****

LB Steven Johnson, SR - NR

LB Darius Willis, SO - 5.6 ***

LB Tunde Bakare, SO - 5.6 ***

CB Tyler Patmon, SO - 5.6 ***

CB Greg Brown, JR - 5.6 ***

SS Bradley McDougald, JR - 5.8 ****

FS Keeston Terry, RS FR - 5.8 ****

Rivals Average: 5.65 Average Stars: 3.3

Now, let's move to the 2007 Orange Bowl defense, one of the best in school history:

DE Russell Brorsen, JR - 5.2 **

DT James McClinton, SR - 5.7 ***

DT Caleb Blakesley, SO - 5.5 ***

DE Jake Laptad, FR - 5.2 **

LB James Holt, JR - 5.2 **

LB Joe Mortensen, JR - 5.3 **

LB Mike Rivera, JR - 5.6 ***

CB Aqib Talib, JR - 5.2 **

SS Darrell Stuckey, SO - 5.5 ***

FS Justin Thornton, SO - 5.5 ***

CB Kendrick Harper, JR - 5.5 ***

Rivals Average: 5.4 Average Stars: 2.5

Since Kansas State keeps getting mentioned as a team with similar talent to ours, let's look at their current defense:

DE Adam Davis, JR - 5.8 ****

DT Vai Lutui, JR - 5.4 **

DT Ray Kibble, SR - 5.6 ***

DE Jordan Voelker, SR - NA

LB Tre Walker, SO - 5.6 ***

LB Arthur Brown, JR - 6.1 *****

LB Emmanuel Lamur, SR - 5.5 ***

CB David Garrett, SR - 5.3 **

SS Ty Zimmerman, SO - 5.6 **

FS Tysyn Hartman, SR - 5.5 ***

CB Nigel Malone, JR - 5.6 ***

Rivals Average: 5.6 Average Stars: 3.0


1) Kansas' three highest rated players on its current team were switched from offense to defense, but talent is talent. All three have gotten their reps by now.

2) If there ever was an argument for "hey don't look at recruiting rankings" it's the 2007 defense. A lot of playmakers on there that were only 2 star guys (Talib, Holt, etc). However, I'd counter that argument by pointing out that SEC schools, OU, USC, etc constantly are the leaders in recruiting... and the leaders in the win column. Funny how that works.

3) Kansas State gets a monster boost from Brown, their highest recruit and the best player on the team at the moment (IMHO). Even with Brown's mojo, their average isn't better than ours.

4) One thing I thought of when looking at this is it seems both 2007 Kansas and 2011 Kansas State went for a certain type of player. KSU needed help in the front seven and addressed it immediately in recruiting and with transfer help. Snyder's teams have always relied on the front 4 tying up blockers so the linebackers (usually a Wildcat strength) can make plays. The 2007 Jayhawks sacrificed speed at some spots to get guys who were good football players and fundamentally sound. If you remember that defense, guys weren't always the fastest, but Mortensen, Holt, Rivera, etc were always around the ball and usually brought their guy down.

5) I'll leave it at this: While the current KU defense has some youth, there is no way that talent-wise, this team should be allowing as many points as it is. No way.

What do YOU think?