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Sunday, June 6, 2021

KU football’s standout CB, Karon Prunty announces he’s leaving Jayhawks

Kansas cornerback Karon Prunty (9) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles (4) during the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas cornerback Karon Prunty (9) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas State wide receiver Malik Knowles (4) during the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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A gaping hole suddenly emerged in the Kansas football secondary on Sunday, as starting cornerback Karon Prunty announced he is leaving the program and entering the transfer portal.

Prunty turned into a breakout performer as a true freshman in 2020, when he was one of just three players on the roster to start every game.

Prunty announced his decision to move on from the Jayhawks in a note he posted to Twitter on Sunday afternoon. He thanked his position coach, Chevis Jackson, as well as KU’s former head coach, Les Miles, for “giving me a opportunity to play for (KU football) and earn an education.”

According to Prunty, he made lifelong friends during his one year with the program, calling it “a very hard decision” to leave, adding he is doing so for “personal reasons.”

In closing, Prunty thanked KU’s coaching staff, his teammates, the fans and his academic advisors for supporting him “since the first day I stepped on campus.”

One of the few bright spots for the Jayhawks during a winless 2020 season, Prunty was named to 247 Sports’ True Freshman All-American team last year.

A 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback from Portsmouth, Va., Prunty broke up 10 passes in his first college season, tying him for first among all FBS freshmen in that category.

Prunty played 525 total snaps for KU’s defense, recorded one interception and didn’t allow a single touchdown on a pass thrown his direction over the course of nine games as a true freshman starter.

Per Pro Football Focus, QBs only completed 38.5% of their passes when they threw at Prunty.

The versatile and stingy cornerback also made 26 total tackles, a tackle for loss and forced a fumble during his impressive year.

Although the Jayhawks have benefited from the transfer portal recently, as a slew of former Buffalo players followed new head coach Lance Leipold to KU, Prunty’s decision to leave marks the third time a would-be defensive starter has left since Leipold took over.

Already, KU has lost defensive tackle Da’Jon Terry to Tennessee and defensive end Marcus Harris to Auburn via the portal. Like Prunty, they were sophomores and presumed key contributors for the KU defense for this season and beyond.

With Prunty leaving, KU won’t have a returning starting cornerback, as Elijah Jones left to transfer to Oregon State this past winter.

True freshman Jacobee Bryant and sophomore Duece Mayberry are two possible starters at corner for KU in 2021. The Jayhawks also have redshirt freshmen Ra’Mello Dotson and Johnquai Lewis to consider at the position, as well as true freshman DeVonte Wilson.

KU players to leave since Lance Leipold took over

• Karon Prunty, sophomore CB

• Marcus Harris, sophomore DE (Auburn)

• Da’Jon Terry, sophomore DT (Tennessee)

• Valerian Agbaw Jr., sophomore CB (Charlotte)

Comments

Dirk Medema 7 months, 2 weeks ago

That hurts. Maybe even more than Terry simply because he was the veteran in the secondary. No idea what his personal reasons are, know he’ll be missed. Wish him well in the future.

Doug Roberts 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Okay, let's guess which SEC school he's transferring to...

Dirk Medema 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Or ACC since he’s from VA and that would put him closer to home. Thought I read somewhere VATech offered him out of HS.

Dirk Medema 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I believe Buffalo does have a CB in the portal and I thought I read something about TWilson wanting a Tallahassee CB to be a package deal.

Clarence Haynes 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Going forward, a major goal should be retention of players.

Joe Ross 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Everyone in the country is experiencing issues with the transfer portal. Maybe with the exception of the Alabamas and what not.

Brett McCabe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I would guess that this will be the last significant transfer we will hear about for a little while since the players are all back in town now. The three big losses mentioned in the article definitely hurt. There is no sugarcoating it. But the bright side is that those three young men are trading up based on their performances at KU and not necessarily leaving just because of Leipold.

(This is assuming Prunty goes to a more established program in the ACC/SEC. Based on his play at KU, schools like UNC, Va Tech, NCSU, UVA and others closer to home are probably all in play.)

It doesn’t appear that these players are leaving because of Leipold. They are leaving because they have played well and can leverage that play into a better opportunity. The definition of the American Way. Miles might have kept these guys. But he might also have lost them or others. No matter who the coach was going to be, everyone in the program knows that it’s going to be a grind.

Typically, even without coaching changes, we hear about some player attrition over the summer. Especially when practice starts and rosters get revealed. I expect we will see some of that, it’s part of the process. But I would think most players went home after classes ended, met with their families and have now made their decisions. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Andy Godwin 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Prunty is a legitimate talent. Very sorry to see him leave. David Lawrence talked him up big time during the past season and rightfully so. This transfer portal will continue to hurt programs like KU. First, recruiting highly ranked players to KU will be difficult. Les Miles brought a national “reputation and name” that could recruit 3 (and 4) star players. Leipold will have to recruit lower ranked player and “coach them up”. Second, KU will likely serve as a minor league program. When their top players develop some reputations, they will look to transfer. Sitting out a year was a deterrent, but no longer. I hope most KU players who were recruited by Miles and who have gone home for the summer to review their situations with family and advisors, decide to give Leipold and his staff a chance.

Mike Hart 7 months, 2 weeks ago

My concern with KU football and the transfer portal... combined with schools / state legislatures (but not Kansas) allowing college players to benefit $$ from their likenesses being used in video games and marketing... is that KU will be where people come to play as a freshman and make a name for themselves... rather than go to a more established football university where they may sit out / redshirt. Then after a year or 2 at KU, then can catch the eye of the better programs and transfer out. I don't like this revolving door allowance. We'll grow talent and then lose them to better schools.. and will collect the talent from people who were frustrated at the better universities but never got playing time. College athletics were more of a level playing field and a breath of fresh air when compared to the pros.. and now that uniqueness is going way. College sports is moving toward less parity rather than more. So as someone said above, we are the minor leagues for the better football colleges. Or the Pittsburgh Pirates, where we develop talent and then lose them via free agency (transfer portal) to the better, higher profile schools... and states where they allow college players to make money off the school's royalties for marketing and sales.

Charlie Gaughn 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Keep in mind that players can now play in 4 games and still get a redshirt year. We may see a bunch of players take advantage of that and jump ship after the first four games of the upcoming season. There doesn't seem to be a solution for programs like this. The coaching turnover every 2-3 years doesn't help. Building relationships with players is extremely important for lower tier programs and we've not had that for some time.

Jeff Coffman 7 months, 2 weeks ago

There was no doubt that Miles was getting recruits, needed time; however, we have a rebuilder and time (6 years) and one that brought some knowledge to his plans.

Corners make a world of difference...a split second of more coverage can make all the difference in how good the defensive line can get to the QB. Let's hope that we can stabilize a few positions.

Let's be honest though, if we don't get the QB fixed, many of the other positions wont matter either.

Charlie Gaughn 7 months, 2 weeks ago

No No No! We can't restart the timeclock to six years every time we change coaches! Miles, such as he was, had rebuilt scholarship numbers and added a large number of quality recruits. It's time to hold the entire departments feet to the fire and say enough is enough. This is a continuation of the rebuild not starting over. Especially now that we're seeing the return to graduate transfers, etc., we should expect winning football within two years. Jones was the obvious solution for this year just to maintain continuity.

Lance Meier 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Time for another DB to step up take on the duty of playing as a starter! Man, this is an opportunity to get noticed and get on the field, next man up!!!

Lets go!!!

RCJH - GO KU!!!

Dirk Medema 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Were we getting 4* players? It seems fatalistic to assume that we can’t be a better school. It won’t happen overnight, but I’m with Coach Jones and the others. KU is a great school with a lot of potential.

I like the talk about Coach Leipold being relational while also demonstrating the necessary attention to detail. The real key will be making progress on the field. Build it an they will come.

Dirk Medema 7 months, 2 weeks ago

4* = Steven Parker, Devin Neal (some sites), and Quay Davis (ouch) in 3 years.

Dirk Medema 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Charlie - The return to the graduate transfer isn’t something that is working for us. Just the opposite. 24/7 lists us as one of the teams hardest hit by transfers this year. Almost everyone of the options left, as well as the 3 recent underclassmen starters.

I don’t necessarily think it should take 6 years to get to winning, but 2 doesn’t seem realistic either. We’re better than post-Charlie but far from rebuilt.

In the positive direction, Tulsa apparently has 3 quality DBs in the portal that have not committed yet. Lots of opportunity here.

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