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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Continuity expected to benefit KU O-line, with lack of 2019 signees

Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji works against fellow lineman Malik Clark (61) on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.

Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji works against fellow lineman Malik Clark (61) on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.

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When Les Miles introduced his first signing class at the University of Kansas this past February, the head coach provided some sort of details about every incoming prospect.

Not one of them was an offensive lineman.

That meant when practices began in the spring, there were no transfers or early enrollees to acclimate.

Similarly, KU’s first preseason practices in August will involve only experienced offensive linemen, as well. With no scholarship freshmen or junior college signees arriving in the summer, the only O-linemen who will have to learn the ropes will be new walk-ons — and KU’s media guide lists just one on the roster, freshman Jack Werner, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

As ready and willing as left tackle Hakeem Adeniji would have been to initiate young offensive linemen this summer, it’s been business as usual for the senior and other veterans up front.

“It’s definitely different,” Adeniji said of the lack of youngsters heading into a season. “But on the same end, our group has been together. We know each other. There’s no new guys. We’ve been together for a year and we’re going to be together. So, I mean, from a cohesive aspect it kind of lets us completely progress.”

With a veteran group playing for new offensive line coach Luke Meadows, the Jayhawks wrapped spring practices with nothing but upperclassmen taking reps with the first team offense.

Playing alongside senior Adeniji at left tackle were junior left guard Malik Clark, junior center Api Mane, junior right guard Chris Hughes and senior right tackle Clyde McCauley III.

The majority of the O-linemen who backed them up were upperclassmen, too: junior left tackle Earl Bostick Jr., senior center Andru Tovi, junior right guard Adagio Lopeti and senior right tackle Antione Frazier. The only young player in the mix was redshirt freshman Jacobi Lott at left guard, and senior Kevin Feder and sophomore Joey Gilbertson rotated in, as well.

At the moment, it looks like KU will enter the season with 18 offensive linemen, 11 of whom are upperclassmen. That had a lot to do with why Miles and his staff didn’t end up adding any O-linemen in KU’s 2019 signing class.

“We feel like this year's offensive line should be in pretty good shape,” Miles said at his signing day press conference. “But we'll have to address that next year quickly.”

That was just fine with Meadows. Asked what excited him most about the 2019 class, the O-line coach offered a quip that highlighted where his mind was.

"That we get to get to the 2020 class and recruit some linemen,” Meadows said.

Indeed, KU’s next class will feature far more size and girth than its last. So far Meadows and company have secured commitments from four high school O-linemen for 2020: three-star talents Garrett Jones and Jackson Stoefen and two-star prospects Tommy Brandt and Nicholas Martinez.

“There is no help coming,” Meadows said of the 2019 class, and its lack of O-linemen. “What we got is what we got. It is all going to come down to the effort that they put in, and the effort that I put in for them.”

Speaking this past week at Big 12 Football Media Days, Adeniji pointed to the continuity of KU’s offensive line as a noticeable strength.

When preseason practices commence the first week of August, the senior left tackle expects the offensive linemen to be humming along.

“There’s no ‘we’ve got to stop and re-do this,’” Adeniji said.

Offensive linemen on KU’s 2019 roster

Seniors

No. 67: Kevin Feder

No. 74: Clyde McCauley III

No. 75: Antione Frazier

No. 77: Andru Tovi

No. 78: Hakeem Adeniji

Juniors

No. 55: Reuben Lewis

No. 58: Api Mane

No. 61: Malik Clark

No. 68: Earl Bostick Jr.

No. 71: Adagio Lopeti

No. 76: Chris Hughes

Sophomores

No. 65: Jack Williams

No. 79: Joey Gilbertson

Redshirt freshmen

No. 59: Jack Murphy

No. 64: Jalan Robinson

No. 70: Nick Williams

No. 71: Jacobi Lott

Freshman

No. 73: Jack Werner

Comments

Dirk Medema 4 months ago

Part of the reason that the 2019 class was so small was because there were 3 or 4 OL that were added as blueshirts in the spring and summer last year. I think they are all on the 2 deep/contributing. Still a little work to go to finish the rebuild - completely balance the classes but we’re close.

Brian Wilson 4 months ago

LOL. Zero years after Beaty!!! "but we're close."

Just 6 Months ago, according to everyone on here Beatty left KU in worse condition than Weiss!?

Goes to show.....Beatty doesn't get the credit he deserves for rebuilding KU's roster. And, just wait when this next year's Senior class graduates and almost all of the transfers are gone, suddenly you will have a team made up of players that will have been around for 4 years and team chemistry will tighten.

About all you can say is, there is no doubt that Beatty set up the next coach, Coach Miles, for success. What is even better is having a Great coach such as Coach Miles come in and complete the job. Expanding and establishing the coaching staff and program in general to what other schools are doing while recruiting top talent and competing against the B12 takes someone successful with knowledge and experience. So far....looks like HCLM has "The Right Stuff" for the job. RCJHKU!

Dirk Medema 4 months ago

Far from "according to everyone on here Beatty left KU in worse condition than Weiss!?"

There definitely were plenty of commenters that seemed to live to bash Beaty. Some even remain, though most seem to have moved on. You're welcome to check postings, because you'll find that this is completely consistent with the analysis that a few of us provided all along. It's also consistent with the day 1 comments from Coach Miles that we're close.

Absolutely agree with the comment that Beaty deserves credit for rebuilding the roster. There have been lots of knee jerk reactions that just look at the number of transfers compared to Weiss or something else as uninsightful. There were some comments about the horrible impact of a massive Jr class that numbered 30+ at one point. Fortunately, Matt and Benton have taken a deeper look more than once to show the differences. One of those pointed out several sophs in particular that were able to redshirt last year and balance out the classes a lot more.

It is good to see that the AD does seem to be expanding the staff to be competitive with others in our conference. In some ways, it would have been nice to see Beaty's staff with the same resources, though it is unlikely that it would have made enough difference. As much as was done for the program in general, it seemed that there was just too much of a gap in the game day leadership, and extra staff wasn't likely to change that.

Mike Bennett 4 months ago

I love offensive linemen, but frankly 18 is too many. No need to sign any more with those numbers. Les should see if any of them have the mentality to play on the D-line because he's going to need some bodies there. Not nearly enough size or depth on the D-Line.

Chris DeWeese 4 months ago

Hope springs eternal, so I'm hoping that KU might actually have one of the better O lines in the B12. The projected starters are all upper classmen who showed some improvement last year. Having someone like Pooka certainly helps. I still remember when several of these guys were starting as freshmen or sophomores and getting totally blasted play after play. I'm hoping that ship has been righted with the addition of high school recruits.

David Robinett 4 months ago

I recall that Jacobi Lottwas a big “get” when he committed. Is he under performing or just developing at a normal pace?

Kerby Rice 4 months ago

He was a huge get as supposedly Texas offered the night before signing day in December of 17. He had the very serious neck injury early in fall camp last year and believe was held out the rest of the season. On his high school film this cat was mean and destroying dudes across from him.

Dirk Medema 4 months ago

Mike - Not sure I agree with your #s assessment. With an 85 man roster, that is about 20 per class or pretty close to one O and one D unit per class (2 x 11) or 4 - 5 OL per class, and 16 - 20 per roster. The greater current issue is the small sophomore class. I’d expect them to pick up a couple JCs in this next recruiting class as well as the HS recruits. We’ll lose 6 more next year too. OL also tends to need that extra year to develop so 5 groups of 4 isn’t a bad idea.

Definitely agree with you on needing some DL beef. That’s really been the difference maker on recent NC teams.

Brian Wilson 4 months ago

Don't be surprised if two or three Juniors or even a Senior could end up as redshirts and end up staying longer. Hopefully not, but there could also be medical redshirts.

IMO, there was a lot of roster planning in the last two years Beatty was here and Beatty recruited heavy on the OL on purpose - including transfers in his last two years. Done on purpose to give an incoming coach plenty to work with and allow some redshirts to help build a cohesive OL for the next coach.

Brett McCabe 4 months ago

The last two years of Beaty’s recruiting included ZERO commitments going into the fall of 2018 and 40% JUCO commitments in the previous year. Describing this as anything other than desperately trying to save his job is patently dishonest. I truly do not understand why people waste their time and energy trying to make up strange and unbelievable claims about Beaty that are not backed up by fact.

Dirk continues to ignore Beaty’s failings as a recruiter, as a roster manager and in every other facet of coaching. Brian’s post is factionalized to the point that Steven Spielberg couldn’t even sell it to a studio.

The new administration has stated that it will be 4 to 5 years before the scholarships are straightened out again. This is after four years of Beaty’s superior planning. I’ll trust their math over yours.

Thank goodness we now have people who can add and subtract. The brilliance of the Miles hire, which I did not fully understand at the time, is that he has no need to shortcut the process. He’s on a five-year plan and he knows that his legacy will be in what he leaves behind at Kansas. He’s not delusional like Beaty or nearly as self important. Sheahon Zenger made the two worst D1 football hires, back-to-back, in college football history. Beaty was bad, truly, epically bad in every facet of coaching. There is a reason he had never been a big-time coordinator. All of those people he worked with understood his limitations far more than he did.

Dirk Medema 4 months ago

Whiff.

"ZERO commitments going into the fall" sounds a lot like your bashing of Coach Self last Spring. Funny how objective patience changes things. Similarly, while the FB is obviously different, the finished facts are pretty phenomenal considering the back drop. Remember the comments in year 1 about how no one was going to come in year 2 or following. Funny how that also didn't quite materialize. Weren't you also the one that said Tornedon would be a liability. Funny how that also didn't quite materialize either.

We all knew from the beginning that Beaty as a head coach was a huge stretch and he was going to have to grow into the position. It wasn't long before we also learned that it was financially motivated. No one that was actually qualified to be a head coach was going to accept the $800k a year that was available with all the buyouts still on the books. He didn't grow into the game day leadership part of the position, but he most certainly did rebuild the roster. Not completely, but we're a long ways from where we started 4 years ago.

The head of the new administration also stated that we're close. I'll trust his analysis over yours.

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