This summer, I’ll be posting occasionally to better acquaint readers with the KU football roster. Between transfers, JUCOs, freshmen, and some guys who didn’t start seeing snaps until most fans had tuned out last year, there are some names that the causal KU football fan should know but probably won’t. And for the few diehards out there, let’s face it, you’ll take any excuse to talk about KU football in the offseason before your hopes have been dashed. Since time is limited, I’ll be sticking to guys expected to end up on the two deep and get snaps this fall.
I’ll start off with a player in a unique postion: Daylon Charlot. The sophomore wide receiver is a transfer from Nick Saban’s Alabama program, which immediately puts Charlot in an unfair position. When fans heard last year that the Jayhawks were pulling in a transfer from the Crimson Tide, they reacted much the same way people would react if they found out their new boss had a degree from Harvard. Harvard? Really? Wow, they must be super smart!
Well, they might be, or they might just be an academically inclined sort who will end up just like most of your other bosses throughout the years. Charlot may be incredibly talented, but we don’t have much evidence to point to at this level. It definitely is worth noting, however, that his college decision out of high school came down to Bama and LSU, and schools like Arizona State, Arkansas and Miami had also offered. Not bad.
He was also able to earn some immediate time on the field with the Tide, albeit very limited time. He saw the occasional snap at wide receiver and special teams, catching two passes for nine yards in his freshman year, though it should be noted those came in blowout wins over Lousiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern.
So yes, he looked very impressive coming out of high school, and was able to get some garbage time snaps as a true freshman at Alabama. However, he also transferred away afterward. That likely means one of two things: he realized or was told he wasn’t going to cut it at Bama and found a program that was more his speed, or he got impatient being near the bottom of the depth chart and sought an opportunity to play right away. Either way gets to the same conclusion: at least right now, he’s not an Alabama quality starting wide receiver. If he was, he’d still be in Tuscaloosa.
With that being said, he’s already suggested he’s in place to be one of the team’s top wideouts. When the Spring Game rosters were announced, he said his team basically had the team’s starting receivers, between him, Steven Sims, LaQuivionte Gonzalez, and Ryan Schadler.
The good news is, Charlot doesn’t have to be Julio Jones to give the offense a big boost. Last year, both Steven Sims and Quiv Gonzalez posted by far the best seasons of any receiver in a KU uniform since the Meier/Briscoe era, and they did it with inconsistent quarterback play, no o-line, and no running game. If Charlot, listed at at 6’0, 195 pounds, can just be a solid receiver and athlete with good hands and the ability to occasionally make a big play, he’ll spread the field out even more, giving more space and one-on-one situations for Sims and Gonzalez, while drawing defenders further from the box and out of the running backs’ way.
With Charlot’s youth and lack of stats or film, projecting his spot on the team is tough, but given his recruiting pedigree and the lack of standout receivers beyond the top two, it’s easy to see him getting a lot of snaps this year. If he can even show flashes of what convinced Nick Saban to offer him a scholarship, he could help this year’s KU receiving corps go from solid to dangerous.