The top-rated signee in the Kansas football program’s 2019 recruiting class, defensive end Steven Parker is entering the transfer portal after three seasons at KU, according to Monday reports from Rivals and 247 Sports.
A 6-foot-4, 240-pound edge rusher from Dallas, Parker played exclusively as a reserve this past season, appearing in all 12 games for the Jayhawks.
A few weeks into the 2021 season, KU defensive coordinator Brian Broland said Parker, who was a four-star standout in high school, got off to a slow start this year in a new system, in part because Parker had to miss 10 preseason practices before he was cleared to participate.
Parker’s redshirt sophomore season never took off, and it concluded with him totaling 11 tackles and one tackle for loss.
In 2020, while playing for a different coaching staff, Parker started twice, played in all nine of KU’s games and totaled 27 tackles and three tackles for loss. Parker was recruited to KU from South Oak Cliff High (Texas) by KU’s receivers coach Emmett Jones.
The most hyped recruit from KU’s 2019 signing class, Parker became the first KU player to enter the transfer portal since Leipold’s first season with the Jayhawks concluded on Nov. 27.
Since the start of preseason camp, KU has now seen four players exit via the portal. Walk-on receiver Jordan Brown entered the portal in November. Former starting running back Velton Gardner left the program three games into the season. Offensive lineman Garrett Jones opted to leave the team in late August, before the season began.
With Parker moving on and KU’s best defensive end in 2021, Kyron Johnson, done with his career, the Jayhawks still have options on the roster at D-end for next season. Jereme Robinson, a 6-3, 260-pound sophomore in 2021, played in nine games, started one and finished with 14 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
The team also decided to have senior Hayden Hatcher redshirt this year, putting him in position to contribute in 2022.
Plus, freshmen defensive linemen D’Marion Alexander and Tommy Dunn Jr. didn’t play in any games this year, and freshman DJ Withers only appeared in one, so each can enter next season as a redshirt freshman.
What’s more, the coaching staff could potentially use the portal to bring in a D-end who could play next year and beyond.