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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Draft has Jayhawks fired up for Saturday’s spring game

WR Sims first off the board

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., front and center, gets a call from co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry notifying him that Perry had selected Armstrong as the second overall pick during a spring game player draft on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., front and center, gets a call from co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry notifying him that Perry had selected Armstrong as the second overall pick during a spring game player draft on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

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The texts just kept coming to Kenny Perry’s phone on Tuesday night, all carrying the same general inquiry: “Who’s it gonna be? Who’s it gonna be?’”

Kansas football players would not leave Perry, the cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator, alone, because every Jayhawk wanted to know who would be the first pick in the program’s spring game draft.

They finally got their answer Wednesday afternoon, when running backs coach and associate head coach Tony Hull made junior receiver Steven Sims Jr. the No. 1 selection in KU’s version of building rosters the schoolyard way.

The idea of implementing a 22-pick draft (which originated with defensive coordinator Clint Bowen) to decide who will wear blue and play for Perry’s Team KU and who will wear white and represent Hull’s Team Jayhawks fired up the players, who already looked forward to Saturday’s 1 p.m. scrimmage at Memorial Stadium — the one shot they have before September to play in front of fans.

“It’s going to be a lot more competitive,” Sims said of the spring game, following a mid-week player draft. “It’s going to be real competitive, real fun.”

Junior Dorance Armstrong Jr., the first pick for Perry’s team and a returning All-Big 12 defensive end, agreed.

“That’s something we haven’t done, so I think everybody’s kind of into it now,” Armstrong said of the vibe at Anderson Family Football Complex, thanks to this year’s wrinkle.

The draft had a few guidelines to help the coaches along:

• Only players listed in the current two-deep could be selected.

• Once a player at a position was selected, the other player on the two-deep for that spot automatically went to the other team.

• Kickers, punters and long snappers were not eligible.

• And one more thing. Quarterbacks were off the table, too.

In a move likely designed to keep anyone from jumping to conclusions about which quarterback may or may not be leading the competition to become KU’s starter in 2017, redshirt sophomore Carter Stanley and junior transfer Peyton Bender were off the board before the festivities began.

Players in the auditorium hit head coach David Beaty, who doubled as a pseudo commissioner, with “oohs and ahhs" when he summoned Stanley and Bender to the front of the room before the No. 1 pick. Stanley prevailed in a game of rock, paper, scissors, so the returning starter got to pull a team name out of a cap to decide their fate. The paper in Stanley’s hand read “Team KU,” so he went to Perry’s squad and Bender, the former Washington State QB, ended up with Hull’s Team Jayhawks.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Stanley said of the draft format. “A little twist to it, a little added something. I think the bottom line is we’re still going to be going out there and playing football and doing what we’ve been practicing all spring.”

SPRING GAME TOP 5 DRAFT PICKS

Team Jayhawks

No. 1. Steven Sims Jr., jr., WR

No. 2. Hakeem Adeniji, so., OL

No. 3. Hasan Defense, so., CB

No. 4. Ryan Schadler, jr., WR

No. 5. Derrick Neal, sr., DB

Team KU

No. 1. Dorance Armstrong Jr., jr., DE

No. 2. Daniel Wise, jr., DT

No. 3. Mike Lee, so., S

No. 4. Ben Johnson, sr., TE/HB

No. 5. Taylor Martin, jr., RB

(Picks 6-11 for both teams weren't publicized by KU.)

Comments

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It sorta looks like a 1st team O against a 1st team D and 2nd team O against 2nd team D - for the most part.

Brock Wells 2 months, 1 week ago

I noticed the same thing Dirk. Except obviously for the QBs, those were true random selections.

Dale Rogers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

If I understand how this draft was done, based on this article, then there maybe was no draft for positions 6-10? Wouldn't those have been the automatics who were the "other person on the two-deep?" So each team actually chose 5 and were handed 5 as a result of the other team's picks?

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

22 players per side, 11 chosen, 11 default.

Benton Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

This is correct. KU will fill out the rest of each team's roster today and announce it.

Ashwin Rao 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I think alternative positions chosen, and the other alternate defaults. i.e. 1) C -> D 2) D <- C ...

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 1 week ago

May not seem like a big deal but last year at this time i don't believe we knew who was on the two deep for any position. I'll take that as a positive. Interesting wrinkle but still I like the starters playing together as much as possible as it boils down to execution as a unit. If a piece of the unit is not functioing properly it is either tuned or replaced. Then some limited replacement by design to check the functionality of each piece in the unit is done to fine tune the machine. I hope we are doing that. Last year it seemed like we were as disruptive to our offense as opposing defenses were. That being said last year was last year. Our big test will be game two. I hope to be there.

Steve Corder 2 months, 1 week ago

Tells you who the coaches feel are having a standout spring, apart from QBs & kickers.

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