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Monday, July 24, 2017

KU’s receiving depth has David Beaty fired up about group’s potential

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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When third-year Kansas football coach David Beaty makes a public appearance or fields questions from reporters, he often finds himself on the topics of KU’s quarterback competition and/or the program’s current star defensive linemen, Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Daniel Wise.

When Beaty considers the Jayhawks’ roster for the upcoming season, though, the talent at another key position group gets him characteristically fired up about KU’s potential.

In Beaty’s first two seasons at Kansas, the offense rarely produced enough first downs or scoring drives to keep pace in the Big 12. But he says new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham will have more weapons to deploy in 2017, thanks to an abundance of receivers.

Whether it’s junior transfer Peyton Bender or redshirt sophomore Carter Stanley who wins KU’s quarterback job, the head coach expects them to have an array of targets.

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Team Jayhawks receiver Daylon Charlot roars after scoring what proved to be the winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

“There’s no doubt. The depth that we have at receiver right now I’m cautiously optimistic about,” Beaty said this past week at Big 12 Media Days. “We have a lot of really talented players out there.”

Formerly a co-offensive coordinator at TCU, Meacham told Beaty when he arrived at KU he was surprised at the amount of skilled receivers.

“I mean you’ve got guys who may have played a lot last year, they may have a hard time getting on the field this year,” Beaty added.

One player who won’t fall in that category is Steven Sims Jr., KU’s leading returning receiver. In Sims’ sophomore season he caught 72 passes for 859 yards and seven touchdowns — all team-bests.

“Steven Sims is a guy who I think is a very talented guy in this conference. ‘Meach’ feels the same way,” Beaty said.

Over the course of the past several months, Beaty also has enjoyed watching the development of sophomore Daylon Charlot (who transferred to KU from Alabama and sat out this past season), junior returning players Ryan Schadler and Jeremiah Booker, junior college transfer Kerr Johnson Jr., and redshirt sophomore Chase Harrell, whom Beaty said is close to 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds.

“He has really worked himself into a factor for us,” Beaty said of Harrell.

The head coach got so fired up talking about the group, he almost left off the Jayhawks’ No. 2 receiver from a year ago: LaQuvionte Gonzalez, who contributed 62 receptions, 729 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver.

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Kansas wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1) tries to shake Kansas State defensive back Dante Barnett (22) during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

“I didn’t even mention him, because these other guys really have shown up for us,” Beaty explained of momentarily overlooking the senior Gonzalez, as well as senior Bobby Hartzog Jr.

Encouraging Beaty on the receiver front, as well, has been an incoming freshman: receiver and potential tight end Kenyon Tabor, an in-state recruit from Derby.

“That guy’s a really good player,” KU’s coach said of Tabor. “Been fun to watch him.”

Four-receiver sets will be a staple of KU’s Air Raid offense this fall, so Beaty and Meacham won’t mind having so many options.

“We’re excited to see who wins those jobs,” Beaty said.

Comments

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I'd like to see Harrell get the start in the 4 set. He's a big target and although we have a lot of talent we don't have many big targets like him. That's huge especially when you get in the red zone. If it were up to me, Quiv, Charlot, Sims, and Harrell. Also, less than 40 days away until Game Day. Boom!

Chris DeWeese 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Harrell seems poised to have a breakout year.

Joe Ross 2 months, 4 weeks ago

...of course the real question is the offensive line. We have a couple of good quarterbacks and a good receiver corps, but will the line protect long enough to give Stanley or Bender the time to go vertical, or will we be forced to make the predictable quick passes to the flats?

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Our biggest questions ... OL, QB, and CB. I feel like we have some experience on OL and a few guys that will do their part in Baldwin and Adeniji. The others I'm not 100% sure of. As for QB, I'm not sold on Bender. I guess we'll see how camp goes in August, but a part of me is silently rooting for Stanley. And finally, the CB's are our biggest question mark. A lot of new faces and a lot of question marks. I have faith Bowen and Perry can get the job done but it will be a major concern for the year. Let's hope the DLine can cause enough headaches to ease the pressure on them and make their jobs easier.

Dillon Davis 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I believe the entire OL is back? Maybe we lost one player from last year? I know the majority if not all the boys are back so that should bode well for our pass protection.

Danny Delgadillo 2 months, 4 weeks ago

All of those are good options to be excited about. I agree they will need to use Harrell's size effectively. If I remember right, I was really impressed with Ryan Schadler even after M. Lee put the stick on him. He seemed pretty fast, and good out of the back field. (outlet option) As stated above though.....The line has to provide time to find the open man.

Ryan Woods 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Sounds like it will be another year the TE isn't used.

Frederick Heckel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

TE isn't a position that is really used in the Air Raid offense. That's why KU only has a couple on the roster.

Ryan Woods 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It's frustrating to have Ben Johnson (Mackey Award watch list) and see him not targeted. You can look at the Texas Tech game last year and see how effective he can be for KU.

Chris DeWeese 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I expect Ben will be in the slot more this year. I don't see how they can waste his talent.

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't think so, Ryan. I think a run formation on second and short is a perfect time for a shot to the TE. Or possibly a TE screen out of a passing set would be a good use of a big body and keep the heat off the qb. I'm still skeptical about trying play action until we get a formidable oline.

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