Monday, November 25, 2019

Thomas MacVittie ‘very viable’ candidate to replace Carter Stanley in 2020

Kansas quarterbacks Carter Stanley, left, and Thomas MacVittie are pictured during KU football Media Day on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.

Kansas quarterbacks Carter Stanley, left, and Thomas MacVittie are pictured during KU football Media Day on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.


This Saturday Carter Stanley will play his final game at the University of Kansas.

Once it’s over, the Jayhawks will have to replace a senior starting quarterback leaving the program ranked second all-time in touchdown passes (37).

As much as the focus this week for head coach Les Miles and his players will be on the season finale versus Baylor (2:30 p.m., ESPN), Miles obviously is aware that the QB position officially becomes a question the instant KU enters the offseason.

And the answer very well could end up being Thomas MacVittie.

“We're evaluating quarterback candidates consistently, for nonstop,” Miles said Monday, during his final weekly press conference of the season.

Although KU’s coach was asked whether the team’s QB options moving forward might involve the NCAA transfer portal or recruiting, Miles didn’t address those possibilities directly.

“We're looking for guys that first of all would have the ability and the skill and the talent,” Miles said of future KU starting quarterbacks, “but we’re also looking for those guys that we want to have leadership ability and can step onto a campus and be kind of comfortable.”


Nick Krug

Kansas quarterback Thomas MacVittie pulls back to throw on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the indoor practice facility.

Of course, KU’s 2020 starting QB might already be in the building. This past offseason, Miles spoke highly of MacVittie, even saying the junior college transfer in July had a slight lead in the competition over Stanley.

After the older and more experienced Stanley eventually won that battle, and has started every game since, whatever growth MacVittie has made as a passer has gone on behind the scenes, during KU’s closed practices.

Although Miles revealed the 6-foot-5, 225-pound reserve QB has been “nicked” and missed practice time in the “back end of the season,” the coach said he and his staff have been able to further evaluate MacVittie during practices this season and witnessed some positive attributes.

“He's big, tall, can see the field,” Miles said of MacVittie, “has a strong arm, can make those throws and likes the ability to run the football. We would see him as a viable — very viable — candidate.”

On this, the last week of KU’s 2019 season, the roster currently lists eight quarterbacks. Stanley and walk-on Manny Miles are the only seniors. MacVittie, who redshirted at Pitt in 2016, is the only junior.


Kansas quarterback Miles Kendrick (8) throws behind his offensive line during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Miles Kendrick, who appeared in four games for KU in 2018 but took a redshirt, is a sophomore, as is walk-on Miles Fallin.

Three QBs are freshmen: Torry Locklin, and walk-ons Jakob Ahlschwede and Jordan Preston. Miles said Monday Locklin, who has played in four games this year already as a Wildcat QB and running back, will sit out this week and use this year as his redshirt season.

Currently KU’s 2020 recruiting class only includes one QB, Topeka High two-star prospect Da'Vonshai Harden Jr.

But the Jayhawks will add another scholarship QB in Jordan Medley, a 6-2 athlete who was listed as part of the 2019 signing class but won’t enroll at KU until the upcoming spring 2020 semester, as a grayshirt.

Stanley said he loves the QBs he has been around this season, calling them “a bunch of hard workers,” and noting the growth he has seen among the group during spring and in-season practices.

“Definitely some capable guys in that room with Miles Kendrick, Miles Fallin and Thomas MacVittie,” Stanley said, “and even some of those younger guys are working. So I think they’re in good hands, especially with the coaching.”

According to Stanley, the man he beat out for the starting job this year is “always, always” working, too, even though MacVittie has only checked in for a couple of plays this season, lining up at receiver on both occasions and throwing an interception on a trick play — his only pass attempt to date in a KU uniform.

“I know this season wasn't maybe what he's hoped for,” Stanley said of MacVittie, “but he still put his head down and he's been grinding every day. He's a great kid with great character.”


Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Based on everything the LJW wrote on the QB competition, it appeared that Carter and Thomas were neck and neck. If that's any indication of how talented Thomas is then we should be okay in the QB department next year. But it does make me wonder why we saw so little of him this season.

Stephen Burtin 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I think coming into the season Carter and MacVittie were options 1a and 1b, but no matter what, Carter is gone after this season. My hope is that the coaching staff was letting Carter lead the guys he's worked with for 4/5 years while MacVittie learns the offense and builds relationships with the team in preparation for starting next year.

If that's not the case and MacVittie just wasn't ready, that's a lot more concerning heading into next season.

Dale Rogers 1 week, 4 days ago

Coach Miles is on record as wanting stability at the starting QB position and, thankfully, not in favor of the QB carousel we've witnessed the past couple of years before he took over. I, too, was a bit surprised that in those few times someone other than Stanley took the snaps it was not MacVittie. But with Manny being in his last year... and Manny did a decent job when in there.

Jim Stauffer 2 weeks, 3 days ago

No doubt Carter won the job, but then Miles adds the "nicked up" bit to the MacVittie story. If, indeed, this is what held him back, he could be decent next year with two years of learning the offense. It could be someone at QB next year could match Carter's performance just by making better decisions. No slam on Carter, but next year's guy could have two full years with Dearmon.

Joe Black 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Carter made bad decisions and didn't show that strong of an arm. We should be able to move on without him just fine.

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