Benton Smith was born in Kansas City, Mo., and bounced around in the years that followed, living in Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina, before moving to Lawrence in 2006.
Along the way, he lived in Sanford, N.C., for a huge chunk of his life and graduated in 2002 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — an institution, he assures diehard Kansas fans, which he attended primarily for its in-state tuition and journalism program.
Shortly after moving to Lawrence, Smith began working part-time at the Journal-World, initially covering youth sports. Next, he covered Free State High athletics and area sports for the J-W, before taking on the position of sports editor for one of The World Company's weekly newspapers, The Mirror, in Tonganoxie. He worked there from 2008 to 2011, until returning to the Journal-World to lead its high school sports coverage.
In 2013, Smith took on a new role with KUsports.com, as a digital editor, blogger and writer and that role changed again in 2016, when Smith was promoted to KU football beat writer shortly after the World Company sold the Lawrence Journal-World and KUsports.com to Ogden Newspapers.
Since the sale, Smith has become an even more important member of the KUsports.com team, expanding his coverage to include writing columns at men's basketball games and continuing to oversee our coverage of KU football, which included the hiring of Les Miles as KU's new head football coach in late 2018.
If ever there was a time for an opponent to look past the Kansas football team, it’s this week. The Jayhawks are winless. Their star running back just opted out of the season. And even with Pooka Williams, KU averaged just 261.3 yards per game (75th in the country, out of 77 FBS teams that have played) and 15.3 points (74th) during its 0-4 start.
While Les Miles observed his Kansas football team from afar this past weekend, the recuperating head coach enjoyed watching the defense perform, especially during the first half at West Virginia. “There was a lot of pass breakups,” Miles recalled earlier this week of one aspect of KU’s play that encouraged him as he isolated one final day due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. “There was a lot of action around the ball.”
Though Pooka Williams opting out of the remainder of the 2020 schedule may seem like a death knell to some, at least one person close to the program thinks the Jayhawks can manage the blow, because of the presence of Williams’ backup, sophomore Velton Gardner.
The Kansas football program’s 2021 recruiting class lost a prospect for the second time this month on Monday night, when offensive lineman Edgar Amaya announced he was backing out of his commitment.
What was shaping up as a potentially disappointing year for preseason All-Big 12 running back Pooka Williams Jr. came to an abrupt end on Monday, as the Kansas junior announced he would be opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season.
Les Miles and his Kansas football assistants might not until later in the week have a clearer picture regarding the Jayhawks’ quarterback situation for their upcoming rivalry game at Kansas State. But one thing was for sure as of Monday: junior Miles Kendrick is in line to start.
Les Mies has basically seen it all in his 200-plus games as a head college football coach. But the 66-year-old was out of his element this past Saturday, when his Kansas football team kicked off a road game at West Virginia, and Miles was some 900 miles away, back at home watching the game play out on his television.
Despite another poor showing for the KU offense, the Jayhawks remained within striking distance of the Mountaineers late into the third quarter, thanks to the efforts of the KU defense.
Four losses and zero wins into their 10-game football season, the Kansas Jayhawks still lack an obvious first-string quarterback. Junior Miles Kendrick’s audition for the job Saturday at West Virginia, Kendrick admitted following a 38-17 defeat, didn’t help his case.
With head coach Les Miles back in Lawrence, watching his Kansas football game on television, the offense misfired far too often Saturday at West Virginia for the Jayhawks to rally around their absent recovering leader. Benton Smith