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7 Days Until Kansas Football: Previewing the WRs

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The loss of Steven Sims may be a bigger deal than you realize.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Kansas Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

With the graduation of Steven Sims from last year’s roster, Kansas lost a top-5 all-time receiver in school history, and one could argue possibly even a top-2 or top-3 receiver. Sims ended his KU career third on the all-time receptions list, just five catches behind Dez Briscoe. Sims finished second all-time at KU in receiving yards, 273 yards ahead of Kerry Meier. And, Sims is second in school history in receiving touchdowns, making 19 trips into the end zone, one more than Kerry Meier.

The loss of Sims is huge, but KU is actually losing its top three WRs (in terms of receptions) from 2018. Sims, Jeremiah Booker, and Kerr Johnson accounted for 49.9% of KU’s receptions last year, so, the Jayhawks have plenty of passes to go around for this season.

Cause for Concern

So much is going to be new in the WR corps, from personnel to scheme. Miles brought in a couple of tall, rangy Juco WRs to compete for playing time, and KU is waiting for Daylon Charlot to show what made him a national top-100 recruit coming out of high school. There’s so much unknown that all we have right now are “ifs” for the wide receivers - if they can pick up the new offense, if Charlot steps up, if the Juco recruits or last year’s backups can win starting spots, etc.

Cause for Optimism

Charlot came on strong in the last couple games of the season in 2018. Although he only had 12 receptions on the year, three came against K-State and three more came in the season finale against Texas (plus a touchdown).

Andrew Parchment and Ezra Naylor, the two incoming Juco recruits brought in by Miles, are big bodies who, alongside Evan Fairs, gives KU three receivers over 6’2” in height.

But honestly, the biggest case for optimism is Pooka Williams. That may sound strange, but if Pooka stays healthy, defenses will have to key in on him first, giving receivers some one-on-one matchups that KU quarterbacks can look to exploit.

Projected Depth Chart

No idea. Honestly. No idea. I’ll just take my best guess.

WR1 - JR Andrew Parchment / JR Evan Fairs

WR2 - JR Ezra Naylor / SO Takulve Williams

WR3 - SR Daylon Charlot / JR Kwamie Lassiter II

WR4 - JR Stephon Robinson / SO Quan Hampton

FR Lawrence Shadd III, SO Hunter Kaufman, JR Kameron McQueen, and FR Jamahl Horne round out the WR corps. I would imagine we’ll see a lot of those top-8 or so guys rotating in until (or unless) the coaches feel like they know what they’ve got in each of these players.

Coaching

The WR group is coached by Emmett Jones, who comes to KU after serving three years on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff at Texas Tech. Prior to Tech, Jones was the head coach at South Oak Cliff High School in Texas, going 30-8 in three seasons. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at the high school level at various places in the Dallas area. As a player, Jones was a walk-on at Texas Tech in the mid-1990s.

Conclusion

Considering this is our final position preview in the 100 days countdown, it is fitting that much like the defensive front seven, we just don’t know what we have here. There’s a lot of hoping going on, but there is some talent here as well. Charlot obviously jumps off the page, but Parchment had 15 D1 offers coming out of Juco while Evan Fairs chose Kansas over Illinois and Maryland. If Miles and company can find a diamond or two in the rough, this unit could very well surprise in 2019, and be even better in 2020 considering Charlot is the only senior WR on the roster.

But again, that’s a big if, and there’s really only one way to find out.

Bring on 2019.

The Jayhawks Are Coming.