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Monday, April 24, 2017

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Predicting statistical leaders for Kansas football offense in 2017

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) pulls in a touchdown catch past Ohio cornerback Jalen Fox (21) during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) pulls in a touchdown catch past Ohio cornerback Jalen Fox (21) during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

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Now that spring football has ended for Kansas, it no longer is too early to take a guess at statistical leaders in various categories. Predicted statistical leaders for the 2017 Kansas offense:

Passing yards: The competition between newcomer Peyton Bender and late-season incumbent Carter Stanley spilled into the spring and both quarterbacks made progress. Still, Bender’s quicker release, such an important factor in a Big 12 conference packed with speedy linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks who can make windows shut in a hurry, gives him the edge, even though Stanley brings the option of designed quarterback run plays.

2016 leader: Montell Cozart (1,075 yards).

Prediction: Bender.

Predicted yards: 3,008 yards.

Touchdown passes: Outside receivers Daylon Charlot, Steven Sims and Chase Harrell and inside targets LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Ryan Schadler all have the speed to break big plays and Bender has the arm to strike long, provided the blocks allow time for vertical plays to develop.

Prediction: Bender (22).

2016 leader: Cozart (seven).

Rushing yards: This makes for the toughest prediction on the board. More than ever, thanks to ever-improving methods of detecting concussions, depth is a must at running back and the Jayhawks have it.

Freshman Dominic Williams, a shifty four-star prospect from Frisco, Texas, and four-star juco transfer Octavius Matthews join returning backs Taylor Martin and Khalil Herbert, so speed in the backfield isn’t a problem.

2017 prediction: Dominic Williams (672).

2016 leader: Ke’aun Kinner (738).

Rushing touchdowns: Martin and Matthews not only have speed that comes in handy in making people miss, they have size. They both weigh 200 pounds, so they’re capable of scoring on breakaways and in short-yardage situations.

2017 prediction: Matthews (six).

2016 leader: Martin (four).

Receptions: Sims is the best route runner, the team’s most proven, experienced receiver and has sure hands and explosive speed.

2017 prediction: Steven Sims (70).

2016 leader: Sims (72).

Receiving yards: Look for KU to hit on more long passes because the offense will have more accurate long passes, greater depth of fast receivers and offensive coordinator Doug Meecham will call it more often to keep the defense honest.

2017 prediction: Steven Sims: (1,111).

2016 leader: Sims (859).

Touchdown receptions: Charlot attacks the ball aggressively, knows how to make catches in crowds and has the speed to pop big plays.

2017 prediction: Charlot (nine).

2016 leader: Sims (seven).

Comments

Jim Stauffer 2 months ago

I doubt a couple of the predictions. I really believe it will be Herbert or Martin who leads the team in rushes. I also doubt Mathews is the kind of back you picture with your short yardage thoughts. I can only hope you are right on the passing game with the numbers on Bender, Sims and Charlot. Harrell might also provide some real serious consideration for TD's in the red zone with his height. Good article. I truly appreciate your consistent performance in keeping our thoughts on the future of our FB team. Coaches have done a marvelous job. We should be getting ready to reap some rewards.

Tom Keegan 2 months ago

I wonder if Ben Johnson will get some carries in short-yardage situations?

Dirk Medema 2 months ago

Are there any Deron Thompson sightings? It was disappointing when he went away after HS so nice to have him back even if sitting out last season. Maybe the backfield is just too crowded but it sure would be nice to have him contributing.

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