Kansas is still three weeks away from the opening kick of the 2013 season due to the lack of a Labor Day weekend game this season, but the team has been hard at work for nearly two weeks now in preparation for the long road ahead. Kansas struggled in year one under Charlie Weis. The struggle wasn't unexpected due to the disarray that the program found itself in following Turner Gill, but one spot where Kansas had hoped to find stability was at quarterback.
Dayne Crist joined the Kansas football team as a 5th year transfer following an up and down career at Notre Dame. Crist entered the picture with high expectations but fell well short. Late in the season he was replaced by Michael Cummings who is competing for the position this Fall, but Jake Heaps will be the man under center when Kansas snaps the football on September 7th.
For Kansas fans Heaps provides another player with high expectations, unfortunately many are still reeling with a bad aftertaste from the Crist experiment. Both Spring and Fall have provided hope that Heaps will be a different story, but only time is going to settle a Kansas fanbase that is very much about seeing before believing at this point in time.
Jake Heaps - 6'1" 210, Jr
Heaps started his career at BYU where he led the Courgars to a bowl game as a freshman while setting multiple school records in the process. A coaching change, a shift in offensive philosophy and a move to a new signal caller during his second year led to the departure for Heaps after his sophomore year.
Heaps landed at Kansas, sat throughout the 2012 season and now takes over as the clear starter in 2013. Weis went out of his way to sing the praises of Dayne Crist and that backfired a bit, but Weis has been equally optimistic despite taking a more tempered approach with Heaps. Weis has gone so far as to explain the pretty obvious differences in Crist and Heaps before arriving at Kansas and really trying to paint the Heaps picture as one of a successful proven quarterback coming into the fold while Crist was more a fractured player trying to get back on track.
Bottom line we're going to see Heaps and I think everyone is cautiously optimistic that he can be better than Crist and that he'll have more to work with than Crist. The potential in the backfield certainly takes the pressure off, but Heaps can elevate the Kansas offense significantly if he just takes the position from bad to serviceable in support of a very talented Kansas running attack.
Michael Cummings - 5'10" 207, Soph
Cummings stepped in for Dayne Crist late in the 2012 season and really didn't do much to stake his claim for the job. Granted Cummings was a freshman and the Kansas offense was clearly a running attack, but Cumming still wasn't all that effective when he was called on to throw the football. In a perfect world Cummings can play the back up role to Heaps for two years and then either sink or swim against what is hopefully improving competition coming into the program. That said, Weis has stated that Cummings has pretty much earned the backup role in camp and there have been some more positive reviews related to his play over the last six months. Of course none of that is against real competition.
Montell Cozart - 6'2" 189 - Fr
Cozart is drawing some very positive praise early on in his career. The first thing that stands out is his size. At 6'2" Cozart has a good frame and a bigger stature which is often viewed as a good thing at the quarterback position. The second thing that he brings to the table is a diversified offensive attack. Cozart can throw the football, but he has also shown the ability to make plays with his legs. This is ideally a redshirt year, but right now Cozart seems to have landed the first punch in the quarterback battle between two incoming freshman.
Jordan Darling - 6'4" 220 - Fr
Darling has been quiet early. He obviously has the size and he was fairly well hyped around the time of his commitment to Kansas this time last year. His senior season at Shawnee Mission East didn't necessarily live up to all of the hype and so far Darling is battling for reps. It's early in his career and a lot can change, but this year will almost certainly be a redshirt season barring a bit of a catastrophe at the position.