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73 Days: KU and the Transfer Portal

The Jayhawks have lost some notable players to transfer, but bring in 10 new faces as well.

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Buffalo v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Included in the 2021 recruiting class are 10 incoming transfers, and it’s these guys who are most likely to make an impact on the upcoming season. As you’ll see, the Jayhawks are getting some MUCH needed help along the offensive line and at quarterback, as well as some spots on defense, which took a huge hit due to outgoing transfers.

First, let’s hit on a few of the notable players who the Jayhawks are losing due to transfers out of the program:

WR Andrew Parchment, Florida State

WR Stephon Robinson, Northwestern

LB Denzel Feaster, UTSA

LB Drew Prox, UTSA

DL DaJon Terry, Tennessee

DL Marcus Harris, Auburn

CB Karon Prunty, Undecided, Tennessee or South Carolina

CB Elijah Jones, Oregon State

CB Corione Harris, McNeese State

This isn’t a complete list, but just the more notable names that you might recognize. Harris has had some legal issues he’s been dealing with for quite a while now, but overall that’s quite a blow to a program that is about as down as you can get. All of those guys likely would have started for this Kansas program. Losing Parchment, Terry, Harris, and Prunty is particularly painful. Prox, when healthy, is obviously a beast as well. The defense has clearly taken some huge hits from which it will be difficult to recover.

The other name I feel needs mentioning is QB Thomas MacVittie. He isn’t in the transfer portal; he’s just simply not listed on the roster. A google search yields no results. Regardless, it appears he will not be taking advantage of the free year of eligibility, at least, not at KU.

But, on to the good news, and that is out of the 10 incoming transfers, all have multiple years of eligibility left (due to the Covid waiver) so these guys should be contributors for multiple years. Additionally, note that this list may not be final, so don’t be surprised if Kansas adds another transfer or two before the summer is over. Rumors are swirling that KU is looking to add more help on the defensive side of the ball, so keep your eyes peeled for another linebacker or cornerback (or both, both is good).

Let’s go ahead and take a quick look at these guys, and what I think we might be able to expect from them this fall.

QB Jason Bean, North Texas, RS-JR

Bean has every opportunity to come in this fall and win the quarterback job. He’ll come in as one of the fastest players on the team - in high school, he reportedly finished third in the state of Texas 100m with a 10.47-second time. In 8 games for UNT last year, he went for 1131 yards and 14 TDs versus 5 INTs, adding 346 rush yards as well. If he can improve on that 54% completion percentage, he’ll easily be KU’s starting QB for this season and next.

Prediction: Starting QB

WR Trevor Solomon-Wilson, Buffalo, RS-SO

Last season as a redshirt freshman, Wilson put up 319 yards on 16 receptions and 3 TDs in seven games. Kansas does have a void at WR with the departures of Parchment and Robinson, but the #1 WR spot is likely to go to Kwamie Lassiter. Wilson was poised to be the lead receiver in Buffalo should he have stayed, so look for him to push the likes of Luke Grimm, Lawrence Arnold, and Tristan Golightly for playing time right away.

Prediction: Top-4 WR

WR Kevin Terry, Texas Tech, JR

Gonna be honest, there’s not a lot out there on Kevin Terry. Coming out of high school, he had offers from Arkansas State and Army before apparently walking on to Texas Tech. In two seasons he didn’t put up any stats at Tech, but he did start the spring game after transferring to KU. I’m not sure if it bears noting that the spring game was held before the current coaching staff came to town or not.

Prediction: Second-string WR

OL/C Mike Novitsky, Buffalo, RS-JR

After redshirting his freshman year at Buffalo, Novitsky has started every game since, and last year was named the third-best college center by Pro Football Focus. Additionally, he was first team All-MAC last year on an offensive line that allowed just one sack in seven games. Novitsky reportedly had programs such as Texas, Florida, and UCLA after him, but decided to follow Leipold to Lawrence.

Prediction: Starting Center

OL/T Michael Ford Jr, Buffalo, RS-FR

After taking redshirt last season, Ford was projected to be a starter on the Buffalo offensive line (likely at RT) this coming fall before transferring to KU. He had a variety of G5 offers coming out of high school as a member of the class of 2020 before committing to Buffalo. Despite KU’s offensive line woes, competition for playing time will be there for Ford. He’ll still get a shot at starting right away, but with the other O-line transfers along with three returning seniors in Bostick, Clark, and Hughes, at the very least he’ll be on the two-deep this year and a starter by 2022.

Prediction: Two-deep contributor with a chance to start

OL/C Colin Grunhard, Notre Dame, RS-JR

Grunhard makes three OL transfers for Kansas, and you know as well as I do that the Jayhawks need all the help they can get up front. A four-year starter at Bishop Miege HS, Grunhard played in three games for ND last season, as well as 7 games in 2019 as the backup center. Based mostly on what I’ve read, it looks like he projects as Novitsky’s backup while also providing some much needed depth and experience along the rest of the offensive line.

Prediction: Two-deep contributor

DT Eddie Wilson, Buffalo, SR

Wilson had an offer from Boston College as a member of the 2018 class, but went to Buffalo instead and played right away. He saw action in all 14 games his freshman year, and has started every game since the beginning of his sophomore campaign. Last year, Wilson was named All-MAC Third Team. At 6’4” 340 lbs, he has the size to disrupt even Big 12 offensive lines, and should be a huge boost to this defense. Wilson is a senior, but should have two years of eligibility due to the Covid waiver.

Prediction: Starting DT

DL Ronald McGee, Buffalo, SR

McGee was primarily a backup at Buffalo, starting just one game last season while playing in four. However, the year prior, he played in all 13 games as a backup, with 11 tackles and a sack. KU obviously has holes in the D-line with the departures of DaJon Terry and Marcus Harris, but Eddie Wilson appears to have the edge there. The question will be if McGee can beat out returners Sam Burt and/or Caleb Sampson for playing time in the line rotation. Like Eddie Wilson, McGee is a senior who should have two years of eligibility due to the Covid waiver.

Prediction: Two-deep contributor

DE Zion DeBose, Virginia Tech, RS-SR

Another senior with two years of eligibility, DeBose had actually committed to transfer to Buffalo from Virginia Tech. When the Jayhawks hired Leipold, the coaching staff had to recruit him a second time - this time, to KU. DeBose was a highly-rated 3-star DE prospect in the 2017 class, with multiple P5 offers. After a redshirt freshman year, he appeared in all 13 games in 2018. Unfortunately, his 2019 season was wiped out with an injury. Last season, DeBose opted out after four games.

With Steven Parker and Kyron Johnson now listed at defensive end in KU’s new base 4-3 scheme, at the very least DeBose should be able to crack the rotation, while possibly pushing Kyron Johnson for the starting spot opposite Parker.

Prediction: Two-deep contributor

LB Rich Miller, Buffalo, JR

A junior with three years of eligibility, Miller has played in every game so far in his college career, primarily on special teams as well as a backup linebacker. Kansas does have three returning linebackers in Gavin Potter, Nick Channel, and Nate Betts, but don’t be surprised if Miller nabs a starting job at some point.

Prediction: Two-deep contributor