Thursday, November 17, 2016

Former Washington State QB Peyton Bender to visit KU

Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender (6) drops back to pass against Washington in the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender (6) drops back to pass against Washington in the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Trying to re-build the Kansas football program currently qualifies as a never-ending endeavor. So while second-year head coach David Beaty and his staff attempt to get their players to execute a game plan worthy of upsetting Texas on Saturday in the Jayhawks’ home finale at Memorial Stadium, they’ll also spend portions of the weekend pitching KU to a former Pac-12 quarterback.

As reported by Jayhawk Slant, Peyton Bender, who played QB at Washington State in 2015, begins his official visit to Kansas on Friday.

A year ago at this time, Bender began filling in at QB for WSU. He completed 36 of 58 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions, in a loss at Washington to close the regular season, before No. 1 QB Luke Falk returned to lead the Cougars to a bowl victory.

In five appearances for Washington State — three of them brief — the 6-foot-1 QB from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., completed 58.2 percent of his 91 pass attempts for 498 yards, with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Bender transferred to Itawamba Community College this past offseason after being ruled academically ineligible at WSU for the 2016 season.

Playing at ICC, in Fulton, Miss., as a third-year sophomore (he redshirted his first year at WSU) Bender threw for 2,733 yards, and 21 touchdowns in nine games, completing 65.1 percent of his passes, with four interceptions.

Now looking to get back to the FBS level, Bender, who spent two years in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, told Jayhawk Slant he didn’t know much about KU football before speaking with Beaty. Since then, he has paid attention to the offense and the Kansas coach’s style.

“One of the things that jumps out is they like to throw the ball around,” Bender said. “They are considered an Air Raid type of offense. They probably run their offense a little different than some other Air Raids. But as far as what they want to do is chuck the ball around, which interests me. I’ve seen a few of their games on TV and I have been able to get an idea what they’re trying to do.”

KU (1-9 overall, 0-7 Big 12), which has started three different quarterbacks in 2016, is averaging 236.3 passing yards a game on 37.9 attempts a week.

Kansas currently has six quarterbacks on its roster: starting redshirt freshman Carter Stanley (one start this year), junior Montell Cozart (eight starts), sophomore Ryan Willis (two starts), true freshman Tyriek Starks, sophomore Keaton Perry and junior Deondre Ford.

Still, Beaty spoke recently of his openness to recruiting a juco or fifth-year transfer quarterback.

“Well, our challenge scholarship-wise is always going to be there, but as we go through the season, our recruiting needs are gonna change, and as of right now,” Beaty said in early November, “we're looking at everything. Everything, including quarterback. We'll look for anything and everything to try to make our rooms better.”

According to Bender’s conversation with Jayhawk Slant, Beaty, who also serves as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, told the recruit he would fit into KU’s offensive system.

“He said he likes how I sit in the pocket and how I dissect the defense in terms of what looks they are giving me,” Bender related, “and where to go with the football. He said he likes my release and overall (management) of the offense.”

As a quarterback at Cardinal Gibbons High, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Bender received a three-star rating from Rivals in the Class of 2014. He signed with Leach and Washington State, and also had an offer from Penn State.


David Kemp 5 years ago

Help me with this one. Our roster has no depth due to scholarship limitations but we are looking at our 7th qb? Convert some of these guys to play some other position.

Frederick Heckel 5 years ago

2 of the QBs are walkons, Cozart is just flat out awful and Willis will probably transfer. So much QB depth right there.

Marcus Balzer 5 years ago

Ryan Willis transferring in...3...2...1...

Benny Armstrong 5 years ago

I agree. I think that the offseason injury to his wrist really set this all in motion. Beaty didn't trust that Willis would be fully healed to get enough first team reps, so he couldn't move Cozart to another position. This put the offense behind from the start (along with a host of other reasons). Add on that Willis was overlooked for Stanley these last couple of games and it really signals that his time here is probably done.

Right now I see the QB battle next year as follows... Stanley is the favorite since he will likely finish the season out, Starks is second, and Perry is a distant third. If I were Beaty, I'd move Cozart and Ford to secondary where we could use the depth with everyone we lose back there. If we get Bender, then it would be hard not to give him a look as a starter, but you have to evaluate QB in concert with the line. If they can't block long enough to give him time to survey the field and find the open guy, then you have to go with someone that is more mobile like Stanley or Starks. Otherwise we'd be repeating what happened with Willis.

Interesting to see how it plays out in the next several months.

Suzi Marshall 5 years ago

I also see Cozart transferring, if anyone would want him. He will be a 5th year senior and available to play immediately. Wouldn't that be special if Cozart transferred to KSU and ended up being a star with them, leading them to a win over KU and a bowl game.

Chris Bailey 5 years ago

You're kidding right?? Please tell me you're kidding! Why in the hell would anyone named Bill Snyder take a player like Cozart??? A place like KSU where they actually win football games and want tough as nails QB's running their offense. They don't want a soft kid who's afraid to take a hit. The other caveat is Cozart has to Graduate for the transfer rule to apply. Maybe he's in line to do that after this year maybe he's not. Either way I can't see anyone wanting to pick up a player who's spun his wheels playing a position he has no business playing, knowing they'll need to convert him to play elsewhere! That's a hell of a risk! KSU and a bowl game, that's priceless. What a laugh! We must be watching two different kids when he steps on the field.

John Joseph Gorski 5 years ago

How many of those 7 QB's have been effective. Two of those 7 are graduating and 2 of the returning will have played a down in D1. It would be a good get in terms of depth and experience. Plus this guy was originally recruited by Mike Leach, the "air raid" master.

Robert Brock 5 years ago

He must be good if he was recruited by The Pirate.

John Brazelton 5 years ago

When you're starting year 3 of your contract as a HC and you've only won one game against inferior competition, you keep recruiting until you find a winning QB. Hopefully, our offensive line will be more competitive next year and can develop depth. Our defense is losing tons of seniors this year at LB and DB, so it will probably not be as good a unit next year. Hopefully, year 3 will be a break-out year for Kansas football with additional recruits. We can only hope!

Damian Glaze 5 years ago

At some point you have to believe in player development. You can't just keep plugging guys in and hoping they will be all-league their first time out. Sometimes you get lucky that way, but most of the time you have to get a guy or two in there and develop them physically and with their confidence. I'm all for open competition, but to start year three we had better see one quarterback rise and be THE GUY. Otherwise we will never be better than a 2-4 win team on our best years. Develop, develop, DEVELOP!

Michael Maris 5 years ago

It will all be alright. If Bender chooses to bring his game to Kansas, Carter Stanley will have some good competition. I do not see Ryan Willis staying at Kansas. And, Cozart needs to switch position. But, is it to late for him to make such a position change?

I like the video that I seen of Peyton Bender. But, we all know that videos only show the positive production of a player. So as usual, time will tell.

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