We knew as of a few days ago that Peyton Bender would be the starting quarterback, but the rest of the roster was left to conjecture. Now, we have an official depth chart, which gives us the two-deep and a good idea of the starting lineups for your 2018 Kansas football Jayhawks.
No surprise at QB, as Beaty said earlier this week that Peyton Bender would be the starter. However, on the Hawk Talk radio program, Beaty also said that the plan was to play Miles Kendrick “in every game.”
At running back, three guys are listed as co-#1 options: Khalil Herbert, Dom Williams, and Pooka Williams. I still expect Herbert to get first shot and, if healthy, the majority of the carries.
There aren’t a lot of surprises at receiver, either. The top 4 receivers are Steven Sims, Kerr Johnson, Jeremiah Booker, and Evan Fairs, although I think many people expected Fairs to be the #2 guy. Daylon Charlot and Quan Hampton are both listed as backups; I was hoping to see Charlot a little higher, but I guess he hasn’t done enough to #EarnIt yet.
Florida State transfer Mavin Saunders has won the TE1 spot.
The rebuilt offensive line looks like it will be: LT Hakeem Adeniji, LG Andru Tovi, C Alex Fontana, RG Dwayne Wallace, RT Kevin Feder. Adeniji is reportedly fully healthy from two offseason shoulder surgeries, and three transfers from Cal, Houston, and Ohio State look to make their mark early at KU. The RG and RT positions are still up for grabs, so don’t count out Chris Hughes or Clyde McCauley just yet.
Once again, Kansas will utilize a 4-2-5 base defense, although based on the personnel listed at the DE spot, the Jayhawks will have some flexibility in formations.
Along the line, JJ Holmes has won a spot next to Daniel Wise, while Keyshaun Simmons and Brian Lipscomb (who played LB at VMI) will start at the DE spots. Kyron Johnson, all 6’1” 220 lbs of him, is listed as a backup at DE along with Darius Moragne, a juco transfer. Johnson came to KU out of high school known for his speed at the LB position.
No surprises at linebacker, where Joe Dineen and Keith Loneker will lock down the middle of the field.
In the secondary, as expected, Mike Lee and Tyrone Miller are your starting safeties. However, Hasan Defense and Shakial Taylor are your starting corners, which means that prized top-100 recruit Corione Harris is a backup. Bryce Torneden won the starting nickelback job.
Liam Jones will handle kickoff duties with Gabriel Rui on field goals. Kyle Thompson won the starting punter job.
Pooka Williams and Ryan Schadler will return kickoffs, while Steven Sims will be the primary punt returner, backed up by Kwamie Lassiter.
I imagine we’ll still see plenty of Corione Harris - at least, I hope we do. He and Pooka Williams need to see the field early and often. KU appears to have an embarrassment of riches at the RB position, and I would like to see fewer 4-WR sets and get as many of those RBs on the field at one time as possible.
I’d also like to see Daylon Charlot really step up this year and be a difference-maker for the Jayhawks. It’s not very often a program like Kansas gets kids with his kind of talent, and I really, really want the coaches to get it out of him. At their best, I think a WR corps of Sims, Fairs, and Charlot could hang with just about anybody in the conference, maybe even the country.
This offensive line... golly. I don’t even know what to say. “Hope” is about the nicest word that comes to mind. I hope it works.
With so many returning players on defense, there weren’t very many surprises there.
So Many Questions
Will Miles Kendrick be impressive enough in limited snaps to earn more playing time?
Will the offensive line be serviceable?
Will Corione Harris emerge as a cornerstone of future KU defenses?
Will KU use the run game to set up the pass game?
Will the defensive line be able to pressure opposing quarterbacks?