Walk-on turned viral sensation Jared Casey has been the story of the Kansas football season, and with good reason. He just keeps making plays. Give him a scholarship and unlimited Applebees for as long as he wears a KU jersey.
But while Casey is drawing all the headlines—again, 100% deservedly—another Kansas receiver (and former walk-on) is quietly putting up the best season of his career and quickly moving up the Kansas history books. Coming off a performance of eight catches for 102 yards against TCU, Kwamie Lassiter II is having an exceptional season and has to be one of the names mentioned when discussing the resurgence of this offense.
Just look at how some of that 102 yards came to be in Fort Worth. Take the second half, when Kansas was down 28-14. The first play of the drive was a 28-yard reception by Lassiter to immediately get into TCU territory. Then, on the game-trying drive, Jalon Daniels went to Lassiter on 3rd and 10 from the KU 35 and he got 15 on the play. Daniels again found Lassiter for 15 yards at the TCU 25 and Lassiter was a couple of toes away from staying in bounds and reaching the end zone. When Kansas needed a big play, Lassiter was ready to deliver.
Lassiter is now leading the team in receptions (52) and yards (608) and is tied with Lawrence Arnold and Luke Grimm with three receiving touchdowns a piece. These are all career highs for the super senior who, with one game remaining, is moving up the Kansas record books. Lassiter’s 1,505 career yards are good for No. 16 all time and his 141 receptions fifth. He would need 14 catches against West Virginia to tie for fourth place but 100 yards would move him into 10th.
Still, Lassiter is already one of 12 KU receivers since 2000 to gain at least 600 yards in a season (these 12 have done it a total of 16 times) but only five of those 16 were done in only 11 games (what Lassiter has played already). And he has done so as a leader of another rebuild who, if you read the quotes from those in the program, is an instrumental piece in the buy-in of the team. Not to mention, he’s an Academic All-Big-12 recipient and KU’s nominee for the Wuerffel Trophy, which honors a player “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”
It’s an incredible career considering Lassiter came to Kansas as a walk-on and didn’t earn a scholarship until proving himself in a Jayhawk uniform. Now, after Saturday, he could be sitting next to players like Marcus Henry and Brandon Rideau on the all-time receiving yards list.
It’s been a quiet rise given all the other factors around the program, and one that should be celebrated heading into his final game as a Jayhawk, and for a long time after.