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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Senior WR Stephon Robinson Jr. latest Jayhawk to enter transfer portal

Kansas wide receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. (5) reaches to pull in a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. (5) reaches to pull in a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

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The NCAA’s transfer portal continues to be a popular route for Kansas football seniors looking to extend their careers, and on Tuesday the Jayhawks lost receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. via the same exit ramp.

Robinson became the second KU senior to enter the portal on the day, joining receiver Ezra Naylor II. Previously, receiver Andrew Parchment, cornerback Kyle Mayberry, center Api Mane and punter Kyle Thompson decided to leave as senior transfers, too.

After injury issues cost Robinson the vast majority of his 2020 season, the speedy 5-foot-10 wideout form Los Angeles could have returned to KU next year, thanks to the NCAA’s blanket waiver that provides players an extra year of eligibility.

In fact, Robinson was one of just two Jayhawks (fellow wideout Parchment being the other) head coach Les Miles identified publicly as a player he would like to bring back for 2021.

However, neither decided to conclude his college career at KU.

Robinson, in announcing his transfer plans on Twitter, thanked KU fans, as well as “all of the coaches, academic, (graduate assistants) and equipment staff that have guided and helped me along the way.” Robinson, who joined KU as a junior college transfer in 2018, when David Beaty ran the program, also specifically thanked Miles and the current staff for providing him “the chance to showcase my ability and enhance myself on and off the field.”

The receiver’s emergence as a big-play threat coincided with the arrival of Miles and receivers coach Emmett Jones. In 2019, Robinson enjoyed a breakout season, pulling in 45 receptions for 727 yards, with eight touchdowns.

This year, various issues kept him off the field early in the schedule, and before season-ending surgery he only was able to contribute two receptions for 35 yards.

Naylor, who played in six games as a reserve in 2020, entered the portal earlier Tuesday, according to reports from Rivals and 247 Sports.

A 6-4, 206-pound receiver, Naylor made five catches for 66 yards in his final season with KU, two years after joining the program as a junior college transfer.

Early on in the season Naylor’s involvement was minimal, but as KU’s numbers in the receiving group were depleted he became more involved, eventually starting two games.

Previously, Naylor played at both Iowa Central Community College and Kennesaw State.

Programs around the country are dealing with the transfer trend to various extents, and seeing players seek out other options for their careers with the help of the portal. Per 247 Sports, 22 players from Power Five programs had their names officially entered into the system on Monday alone. Since Dec. 1, ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren reported, more than 220 FBS players have entered the portal.

As can be seen in 247 Sports’ transfer portal tracker, since KU football began its preseason activities in August, 11 players from this year’s roster have chosen to utilize the portal. Eight of them were seniors in 2020 and one was a walk-on. Senior offensive lineman Antione Frazier opted out before the season began and decided to transfer.

In normal circumstances, none of the seniors who played this year would’ve been eligible to return to KU and suit up again next season. But the NCAA’s blanket waiver that provides an extra year of eligibility for all fall sports athletes makes that possible if a football player so desires — and the coaches want him back.

Only two non-senior scholarship players from KU are currently in the portal: junior safety Davon Ferguson and freshman defensive lineman Clinton Anokwuru. Miles made it clear shortly after Ferguson stopped playing during the season that he didn’t expect the defensive back to return.

Elsewhere in the Big 12, players such as Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer (grad transfer), Texas Class of 2020 QB Ja’Quinden Jackson and Oklahoma State Class of 2020 O-lineman Trent Pullen are among some of the more recent departures.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Baylor had seen five former players enter the portal this year. Iowa State had two, Oklahoma had four, Oklahoma State had four, TCU had eight, Texas had five, Texas Tech had four and West Virginia had four.

In Manhattan, 11 Kansas State players have entered the portal since August.

It remains to be seen which 2020 seniors KU welcomes back for a bonus senior year. Outside linebacker Kyron Johnson is the only Jayhawk who told reporters during the season he wants to take that path.

KU players from 2020 roster in transfer portal

• Andrew Parchment, senior WR

• Stephon Robinson Jr., senior WR

• Kyle Mayberry, senior CB

• Davon Ferguson, junior S

• Api Mane, senior OL

• Kyle Thompson, senior P

• Ezra Naylor II, senior WR

• Antione Frazier, senior OL

• Julian Chandler, senior DB

• Clinton Anokwuru, freshman DL

• Hunter Kaufman, walk-on junior WR

Comments

Dale Rogers 1 month, 1 week ago

I sure hate to see us lose these guys. Their skills and their experience would have been huge next season both on the field and in helping the younger guys develop.

Brett McCabe 1 month, 1 week ago

Here’s hoping he finds a good landing place. Thanks for all of your efforts and good luck Stephon.

Layne Pierce 1 month, 1 week ago

Let's face it, most likely next year will only be a little bit better than this year in terms of record, but we will see real growth and beginnings of meaningful depth.

The only area that must improve is the offensive line. We have adequate players everywhere else, but even if we have as starters, Bostic Cadelue Jones Lott Amray, we still need 5 others for depth, and who are they?

I think that the qb situation will figure itself out, but obviously the sr wide receivers don't have much faith that the line will let them get down field. Amazing how much better our line was with Carter Stanley. Oh how Beatty wasted him!

RCJH

Ashwin Rao 1 month ago

I see a lot of QBs being available in the article... I am not worried about players leaving, I am looking at this as an opportunity to get good talent, that wants to work with Miles & help bring the program back strong.

Dane Pratt 1 month ago

I worry about the transfers. Not the seniors because I never expected them to return. But we’ve lost four starters not due to graduation and that is a lot for a program that is struggling with its roster.

Chris Bailey 1 month ago

This is just dumb. Yeah I know why they're doing it but how many of these kids are really that good? Are they decent? Yes, but none of them are going to the NFL. There is no loyalty in people anymore. Stick to your commitment and don't wavier. You look like spoiled babies. KU isn't just a school it's a place most of us are VERY proud of not to mention support. This crap needs to stop.

Ashwin Rao 1 month ago

I am not too hard on them. Because I may want to be in a winning program, and we are only in the "rebuilding" stage. They have the right to pursue any opportunity then feel is right for them (may not affect their career, but for self satisfaction). I do appreciate them for helping with the rebuilding process.

Dane Pratt 1 month ago

We lost our top three receivers. At the very least that should provide some incentive for the three receivers Miles recruited, to sign today.

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