The way Les Miles envisions their futures, several freshmen on the Kansas football roster should be far ahead of schedule by the time the 2020 season arrives.
Six members of the Jayhawks’ latest signing class already are enrolled, attending KU classes and getting acclimated when they could still be seniors in high school.
Receiver Lawrence Arnold Jr., tight end Will Huggins, offensive lineman Garrett Jones, linebacker Alonso Person, cornerback Karon Prunty and defensive lineman Caleb Taylor all graduated early, and are now involved in offseason workouts at KU. Even more important to their development, they’ll all be able to go through KU’s spring practice schedule, which begins on March 17, and will wrap with another Late Night Under The Lights spring game on April 18 (time to be announced).
During his National Signing Day press conference this past week, Miles stressed how important he thought it was to bring in a number of midyear additions, especially from the high school ranks — remember, KU didn’t sign any junior college transfers in its 2020 class.
“He goes through spring and he’s using the weight room,” Miles began, speaking of the advantages an early high school graduate gets by arriving early. “And then he has a summer to do the exact same thing, and then a camp. So these guys who are on campus now get the opportunity to really improve.”
In recent years, past KU football coaches spoke of the importance of getting juco recruits involved for the spring semester. Miles took pride in the fact KU is doing that this time around with high school prospects exclusively.
“That’s not been done (at KU),” Miles said. “We’re using a time frame for a high school player to come in early, get on board, have a nice introduction to academics, weight room and strength area, and our kids already on their own have gone into the indoor and are playing seven-on-seven.”
Between those variety of exposures to the college football experience, Miles expects the freshmen who are already in Lawrence right now — others will arrive in the summer — will make what he called “significant gains.”
All six of the early freshman enrollees play positions where KU needs some help. So Miles is hopeful they will make an impact sooner rather than down the road.
“When you get to the fall, these guys aren’t playing like the first semester freshmen that they are,” Miles projected. “They’re playing as sophomores.”
KU also has three other true freshmen on the roster right now. Quarterback Jordan Medley, running back Amauri Pesek-Hickson and linebacker Jereme Robinson were part of Miles’ first recruiting class, in 2019, but were grayshirts.
They didn’t join the program until this semester and, like the six other freshmen from 2020 who are already involved with the program, they still have four to five seasons in KU’s program ahead of them.
(* - denotes a 2019 grayshirt, who is a new enrollee)
Lawrence Arnold Jr. - 6-3, 185, WR from DeSoto, Texas
Karon Prunty - 6-1, 185, CB from Portsmouth, Va.
Jordan Medley* - 6-2, 210, QB from Kannapolis, N.C.
Amauri Pesek-Hickson* - 6-0, 235, RB from Olathe
Alonso Person - 6-3, 200, OLB from Harbor City, Calif.
Will Huggins - 6-7, 242, TE from Lenexa
Caleb Taylor - 6-2, 260, DL from Kansas City, Mo.
Garrett Jones - 6-2, 300, OL from Berrien Springs, Mich.
Jereme Robinson* - 6-3, 265, LB from Montgomery, Ala.