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Saturday, August 4, 2018

KU football adds 4 offensive linemen to 2018 roster

Beaty reveals additions, subtractions

Kansas football coach David Beaty observes drills during practice on Aug. 4, 2018.

Kansas football coach David Beaty observes drills during practice on Aug. 4, 2018.

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Now that preseason camp has arrived, the Kansas football team’s offensive line looks significantly different than it did just a week ago.

At the team’s second practice on Saturday KU made public for the first time an updated list of active players, highlighted by an inundation of blockers listed in the neighborhood of 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds.

When players reported this week, what is shaping up to become a completely revamped O-line added four transfers: Dwayne Wallace (Cal), Reuben Lewis (Coffeyville Community College), Api Mane (College of San Mateo) and Adagio Lopeti (College of San Mateo).

Wallace, a senior graduate transfer listed at 6-4, 325, started nine games for Cal in 2016 before participating only during the spring as a senior.

Lewis, a known member of the 2018 recruiting class, is a 6-foot-4, 330-pound junior who was rated a three-star juco talent by Rivals.

Both the 6-3, 327-pound Mane and 6-4, 320-pound Lopeti are juniors who blocked for KU quarterback Miles Kendrick this past fall at San Mateo (Calif.).

During his KU football media day press conference on Saturday, head coach David Beaty described all four new linemen as both eligible and “in the mix” to play this fall.

“We have a lot of guys that are quote unquote returning starters,” Beaty said, “but we're trying to find the best five, then the next one, the next two, those type of deals. The great thing about all of those new guys, it gives us some real competition.”

While the Jayhawks already figured to obtain some much-needed assistance up front with the summer arrivals of O-line transfers Alex Fontana (6-2, 300, from Houston) and Kevin Feder (6-9, 300, from Ohio State), they now have four more large bodies to potentially help rejuvenate the offense.

“Over the first couple of days, it's pretty easy for guys to stand out if they're new,” Beaty said. “One of the things you learn over time is you don't put the cart before the horse with guys. Just because we look a certain way, doesn't mean... Sometimes they're fool's gold. We try not to put the cart before the horse.”

KU also added five other players to the program this week:

• Ricky Thomas, a 5-10, 185-pound sophomore cornerback from Blinn CC (Texas)

• Darrius Moragne, a 6-7, 265-pound junior defensive end from Arizona Western College

• Drew Harvey, a 6-1, 240-pound junior linebacker from Hutchinson CC

• Jack Luavasa, a 6-3, 250-pound sophomore tight end from Snow College (Utah)

• AJ Bennett, a 6-1, 180-pound freshman receiver from Klein Collins High (Texas)

Roster subtractions

Beaty also revealed five Jayhawks who will no longer factor into the team’s on-the-field fortunes: defensive ends Foster Dixson and Mazin Aql, offensive linemen Hunter Saulsbury and Larry Hughes, and running back Kezelee Flomo.

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Kansas running back Kezelee Flomo (30) makes his way up the field after a catch during an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Dixson, who just transferred to KU from West Los Angeles CC as a junior this past winter, has what Beaty describes as a disc issue in his back that medically disqualified the D-lineman from playing anymore.

The coach said would-be juniors Saulsbury and Aql, both from Stilwell, and Flomo, a transfer form the North Dakota School of Science, also had to retire for medical reasons.

A heart condition, Beaty elaborated, forced Flomo to stop playing.

“Thank God we found it because one big hit with the condition he had could have killed him,” the coach said. “It just stinks for that kid, because he is such a good guy. He's worked his rear-end off.”

A foot ailment, Beaty added, ended Aql’s playing career.

A 6-7, 310-pound O-lineman, Hughes decided to transfer ahead of his senior season, after playing in 33 games for KU from 2015-17.

“He did not do anything wrong,” Beaty stressed of the lineman from Carrolton, Texas, “but he felt like it would be better for him to move closer to home.”

Long stops by

New KU athletic director Jeff Long was one of the first people to address the football team at camp, as he spoke to players and coaches alike on Thursday, the eve of the Jayhawks’ first preseason practice.

“I think his message was terrific,” Beaty reported without giving many details. “Everything that we talked about in there is going to stay within the family. Very dynamic. Our guys really enjoyed the visit. I think you could just see the passion in his eyes and how much he cares about this game in particular. As he left here, it was a very uplifting session. We're just excited for him to be here. We can see where the future is headed.”

The fourth-year KU coach then said he still loves his former boss, Sheahon Zenger.

“He did so much for us. Our kids feel that same way,” Beaty said. “But moving forward, we're excited that our guy that is in place now, Jeff, is the guy he is, because he brings a lot of stuff to the table we're excited about.”

The coach reported Long did not attend either of KU’s first two practices.

“He and I correspond each day. We talk a little bit. I talked to him early, early (Saturday) morning, which I hope the guy's getting some rest,” Beaty added. “I know he had meetings, completely booked, until 4 this afternoon. He's hoping to get here for a walk-through (Saturday) afternoon. But he's going to be around a lot, which is good. We welcome that.”

Comments

Brad Sherp 3 years, 5 months ago

Four more high school scholarships down the drain. I am now convinced that Beaty's strategy is to make the KU job so undesirable that Long will have no choice but to keep him.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

High school players would be in the best long term interest of KU football but not necessarily for David Beaty. This is a smart move on his part.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

If one or both of the San Mateo players redshirts, it sets up pretty much a perfectly balanced distribution of OL players on the roster. That is, if you want to take an intelligent look at the roster. Or you can jerk on your knee and queue up the negative mantra.

Jacob Zutterman 3 years, 5 months ago

While JUCO isn’t ideal, we needed new talent and more bodies at a critical position.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. Or maybe we could just ask the other teams to scrimmage with us in place of a game. We might actually have a 2 deep.

Frederick Heckel 3 years, 5 months ago

Remember this when the new coach can only sign 15 kids in the next class.

Vernon Riggs 3 years, 5 months ago

Adding Juniors or Seniors doesn't take away from scholarships that Beaty or any coach can offer 2019 high school seniors

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 5 months ago

It does when they are Blue Shirts...which the majority of these are, basically they count towards the upcoming class, instead of the 2018 class.

This is an article that explains it from the USC website.

https://reignoftroy.com/2015/01/24/football-recruiting-blueshirt/

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 5 months ago

I don't think it is our concern about 2-5 JUCOs as you put it at critical roles, especially when there are medical or just fall out from various roles. The problem, is that more than half of the recruits are JUCOs and this is not the strategy that you are talking about. Filling gaps of need because of an issue is a strategy, whereas rolling the dice on several positions in hope that they come better prepared than what you can coach up is a philosophical difference than what you are describing.

I think most of us understand a few more bigs, the TE transfer, and potentially a DB, but there are more JUCOs than just plugging unexpected injuries/transfers.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Is Kendrick making a push for top recruiter? He might be the most important 3rd string QB, or maybe he has a soph season like his freshman year and is leading the team midway through.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 5 months ago

How many players is that for us retiring for medical reasons. Seems like a lot in the past fee

Edward Daub 3 years, 5 months ago

David Beaty is watching too many "Mister Ed" Re-Runs!

Awwwwwwwww, David! Turn Off the TV!

Please Explain to me "Don't put the Cart before the Horse"?

(As It Relates to Evaluation of Offensive Linemen)

Greg Ledom 3 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Ed, he’s simply saying just because they look the part doesn’t mean they can pull the cart. So, until they practice and perform on Saturdays if deemed worthy, they ultimately wont know if the horse can indeed pull the cart. That’s what I got out of it.

Jerry Walker 3 years, 5 months ago

Keegan, the recruiting/scholarship expert...sure whiffed on this news. I don't know how this infusion of linemen will work out for the Hawks but it does prove that Keegan isn't as smart as he thinks he is on roster management or inner workings of KU's recruiting plans.

Trust his analysis at your own risk.

Chris Condren 3 years, 5 months ago

Wow is this Grounghog Day? This gives every appearance of being a replay of Charlie Weis’ final season. We will learn quick enough if Coach Beaty can find success with his unconventional approach to building a roster.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Definitely different. 50% of Charlie's JC players never saw the field, and many not even the practice field. Except for a few, and mostly medical as mentioned above, most all off Beaty's recruits/transfers are seeing the field, and most are even on campus early; for Spring Ball.

What also is not clear is how many of the players listed are on campus as walk-ons vs. scholarships. Coach Beaty has brought in a ton of recruits as walk-ons, and some have developed into significant contributors. That's called rebuilding the roster without annual scholarship impact, and that's smart, not that anyone appears to be giving much credit for smart coaching these days.

Kenny George 3 years, 5 months ago

This Max Olson article should be required reading for all...

https://theathletic.com/438107/2018/07/20/kansas-jayhawks-football-coach-david-beaty-scholarships-debt/

Max writes for The Athletic and it is subscription based and this link will not give you the whole story. I highly suggest subscribing as the content on The Athletic is amazing.

Basically this article gives in-depth look into KU's scholarship situation with interviews with Beaty and some former and current players.

A real eye opener and puts to rest all of this speculation that goes on here in the "Comments" area.

Beaty is doing things not only the right way but truly the only way in rebuilding this roster.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 5 months ago

Good Post Kenny!! KU's roster was more than depleted by Weis. This rebuild is actually a 6 to 7 year job and Beatty is a year or two away from completion. However, this is the year we should see some progress. Our Junior class is where the talent turns and with a dozen or so freshman recruits this next year we should be in good shape.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 5 months ago

So, I have this bridge. It runs from Manhattan (the one in New York) right over to Brooklyn. Great view of the East River. I'm letting it go at a discount. Just contact me at illbelieveanything.com. I guess if the 'Hawks go 1-11 again this year it is ok because it is the right way to build a roster. The first 7-year rebuild in college football history!

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 5 months ago

Oh please...every year we hear this is the year. Beaty said year 3 is and he won 1 game.

It sounds like you are proposing he should get 2-3 more years without any results.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 5 months ago

One of the problems is that Beaty can have all the talent in the world but he hasn't proven that he has even the BASICS down when it comes to things like selecting a starting QB, keeping coaches in place for more than a year or two, making game-time decisions, etc., etc.

It doesn't matter how well the recruiting goes if he still can't coach.

Believe me, I would love to be proven wrong, but I've been fooled WAY too many times in the past (and not just under Beaty) to buy into the hype for this year.

Despite my misgivings, I'll be at the Central Michigan game, and I would love to see the road losing streak end there.

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