Was Carter Stanley an all-time great at Kansas?
Don’t laugh, it’s a serious question.
Consider - Stanley started just 21 games in his Kansas career (2016-19). He ranks fifth all-time at KU in passing yards, second all-time in touchdown passes, sixth in completion percentage (minimum 100 attempts), fourth in pass attempts, and third in total completions. He beat Texas as a redshirt freshman, then nearly did it again as a senior. And to top it all off, he owns the third-longest pass in school history at 95 yards (2016 vs KSU).
If you just go by the numbers, yeah, it looks like Stanley should definitely be considered a top-10 quarterback in school history, but of course, that’s not exactly a tough group to get into, especially with the way offenses throw the ball around these days. I’d probably still keep those rankings, and maybe slide Stanley in behind David Jaynes? That said, it’s notable that while offenses have been going crazy for approximately 20 years now, KU has just one quarterback from that time period in its top 10-ish.
Todd Reesing, in case you’re new to KU football and wondering, owns just about every school record a quarterback can have. However, I believe that’s mostly an indictment on the athletic department; it’s what happens when you have Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, David Beaty, Lew Perkins, and Sheahon Zenger combine like the evil Voltron of college football over the course of a decade plus. (The jury is still out on Jeff Long, but I have to say that early returns were not promising, and he hasn’t done anything but keep screwing up lately as well.)
It still bothers me that David Beaty never really gave Stanley a chance. Well over half of Stanley’s career production came in 2019 under Les Miles and Brent Dearmon, so imagine, just imagine, where he would be in the record books had he started two, three, or especially four full, uninterrupted years (barring injury of course). Stanley’s 2019 season ranks third in QBR at Kansas (62.0), behind 2008 Reesing (71.3) and 2007 Reesing (63.6). (Keep in mind that QBR didn’t start until 2004.)
You can argue he’s a product of the modern era, or his stats are a system deal, or whatever you want to say. But to me, considering the limited amount of playing time he got under Beaty and the fact that he’s still as high in the school recordbook as he is, tells me that we got to watch a special player last year.
Give me this guy at QB any day:
This is the type of play that makes a team rally around a quarterback! pic.twitter.com/YdInJOC9yc— Jayhawk Video (@JayhawkVideo) September 14, 2019
Carter turned into Mike Lee after throwing the early INT. Hit stick. pic.twitter.com/ZnrWMfPFRN— We Good? (@Jifhawk) September 14, 2019
Carter leaving bodies all over the field. pic.twitter.com/tda8e2BcSo— We Good? (@Jifhawk) October 20, 2019
One thing is for sure...Carter Stanley is not afraid of contact pic.twitter.com/NKg2p9xB2Y— Jayhawk Video (@JayhawkVideo) October 20, 2019
Stanley may just be the toughest cat to play quarterback at Kansas since the triple-option days. At the very least, he’s right up there with Reesing and Bill Whittemore, who both played hurt at times - and played well - for the Jayhawks.
It’s been said that Michael Bishop broke Bill Snyder, and I think that maybe some Kansas fans similarly have unrealistic expectations for the quarterback position. Obviously, finding the next Todd Reesing would be awesome. The problem is, that player doesn’t come around very often, particularly at a school like Kansas.
So if we can just find the next Carter Stanley, well, that would go a long ways toward bringing the program back to respectability.