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10 Most Important Returning Jayhawks for 2022: No. 3

Mike Novitsky

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Novitsky

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 300

Hometown: Victor, NY

High School: Victor Senior High School

247Sports High School ranking: 2-star (2018)

- No. — nationally

- No. 128 Tight End

- No. 41 in the state of New York


Mike was a composite no-star player out of Victor, NY. 247Sports did rank him a 2-star tight end, not an interior offensive lineman. The only offer he received was from Bullalo and he took it. In addition to football, Mike played lacrosse in high school. He redshirted his freshman season at Buffalo while getting playing time in three games in 2018. During the next two seasons, Mike started all 20 games Buffalo played. Novitsky entered the transfer portal a week after Lance Leipold was named the head coach at KU and became the first in the Buffalo pipeline to officially transfer to KU, making his commitment on May 30, 2021. In his first season with KU, he started all 12 games.

Why 3?

Quoting myself from what I wrote about Earl Bostick, Jr:

For the offense to continue to develop into a competent and competitive unit, the offensive line must continue to perform no worse than last season. After giving up 43 sacks in 9 games two seasons ago, the offensive line only surrendered 16 sacks in 12 games last season.

While at Buffalo, Mike was part of an offensive line rated as a top 15 unit in the nation both seasons he started. He continued his excellent play last season, a season in which he did not commit a penalty or allow a sack in 799 snaps played. His superior play needs to continue in 2022, for two main reasons. First, with Mike in the lineup during his college career, the offensive line has been better because of his presence. While in Buffalo, as noted above, the offensive line was a highly rated unit, and last year at KU, the improved play of the offensive line was undeniable. Second, any loss in playing time for Mike will cause not one but two holes to be filled. If he is unable to play, another starter will have to slide into his place, and then a backup will have to replace that starter. With him missing from the lineup, the continued improvement of offensive line play will be very difficult.

The List:

#4: Rich Miller

#5: Earl Bostick, Jr.

#6: Devin Neal

#7: Jason Bean

#8: Malcolm Lee

#9: Caleb Sampson

#10: Lawrence Arnold