Kansas football is coming and here is your guide to get ready to watch our Jayhawks this season! Let's get right into it:
The Jayhawks don't have a dominant defensive line by any means, however in the coming years that could change. Led by a budding star in the form of 6-foot-4 241 pound sophomore defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., this defense has a solid piece upon which to build. Anthony Olobia will likely come in as the only senior starting on the line. The junior Jacky Dezir and sophomores Daniel Wise, D.J. Williams and Jason Nix fill out a surprisingly solid depth of defensive tackles. Don't forget about incoming JUCO players DeeIsaac Davis and Isi Holani, who will push for playing time this fall. Also, coaches love the athleticism of incoming freshman DE Isaiah Bean, but he may redshirt this fall to put on some weight. Senior Damani Mosby and sophomore Josh Ehambe hold down the rest of the defensive end's rotation.
Overall this group is solid, the key will be, how well will they develop? If Armstrong is looking at a possible future in the NFL, Beaty's group is going to really have to key in on getting him to where he needs to go. The sophomore finished with 3.5 sacks in his first season as a true freshman. Of course, what Kansas football fans should really love about this kid is that he chose the Jayhawks over the Missouri Tigers. This was one guy defensive coordinator Clint Bowen was thrilled about and in due time Armstrong could be looking at double digit sack totals.
The more depth-filled position on this team is linebacker. Kansas has the likes of former South Carolina senior transfer Marcquis Roberts and budding star junior, Joe Dineen Jr. manning the two starting linebacker spots. Dineen had four games last fall with double-digit tackle totals including his most impressive game, vs West Virginia, with 16 tackles. Meanwhile, Roberts has improved upon his production year-by-year even dating back to his days at South Carolina.
Osaze Ogbebor, the sophomore linebacker, is in for a starting job in the near future (most likely next season). Roberts and talented senior Courtney Arnick are leaving after this season so it should end up being Dineen Jr. and Ogbebor at linebacker next year. But watch out for talented incoming freshman Maciah Long. Long was a 3-star recruit with a long list of Power-5 offers who will no doubt look to make an impact as soon as possible.
The immediate name that jumps off the page not only in the secondary but the whole KU defense is none other than senior safety Fish Smithson. He has been an absolute superstar for the Jayhawks and most likely has one of the better shots at making an NFL career out of his time in Lawrence.
Overall this part of the defense is littered with young talent that could really be a vital part of the Jayhawks' future. Players like the freshmen cornerbacks Mike Lee and Kyle Mayberry along with sophomore safety Tyrone Miller only make the future brighter. It will be difficult replacing seniors Brandon Stewart and Fish Smithson after this season, but Kansas is ready for the challenge and so far, David Beaty has done an excellent job of recruiting.
Projected Defensive 2-Deep Depth Chart:
DE: Dorance Armstrong Jr. (SO), Josh Ehambe (SO)
DT: Daniel Wise (R-SO), Deelsaac Davis (JR)
DT: D.J. Williams (SO), Jacky Dezir (JR)
DE: Anthony Olobia (SR), Damani Mosby (SR)
LB: Marcquis Roberts (SR), Osaze Ogbebor (SO)
LB: Joe Dineen Jr. (JR), Courtney Arnick (SR)
NB: Tevin Shaw (SR), Chevy Graham (SR)
CB: Derrick Neal (JR), Marnez Ogletree (SR)
CB: Brandon Stewart (SR), Kyle Mayberry (FR) or Mike Lee (FR)
S: Fish Smithson (SR), Bazie Bates IV (SR)
S: Tyrone Miller Jr. (SO), Greg Allen (SR)