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Benton Smith

Stories by Benton

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Longtime Jayhawk Montell Cozart looks to finish career with Boise State bowl win

'It's kind of like a dream come true'

For four years Montell Cozart called the University of Kansas football program home. The quarterback from nearby Kansas City, Mo., played in 27 games, started 18 and became a much-respected leader within the KU locker room, but saw KU win eight games and lose 40 before deciding to finish his career elsewhere. Saturday afternoon, Cozart will experience something that proved impossible at Kansas, when he suits up for No. 25 Boise State at the Las Vegas Bowl. By Benton Smith

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Omaha prep QB plans to walk on at Kansas

The Kansas football program has added a walk-on quarterback, Dylan Plautz, from Westside High, in Omaha, Neb., to its list of potential newcomers for the 2018 season. By Benton Smith

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Reports link KU football assistants with Kent State opening

The Kent State football program is in need of a new head coach, and two current Kansas assistants reportedly have factored into the search. According to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, KU defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Clint Bowen is one potential candidate for the Kent State job. By Benton Smith

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Jayhawks on Steele's All-Big 12 team

Most publications and websites limit their college football all-conference postseason honors to two teams — but not national analyst Phil Steele. With first-, second- and third-team slots available on Steele’s All-Big 12 list, Kansas landed seven total players on the 2017 postseason edition. By Benton Smith

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Report: New Orleans prep WR Devonta Jason still considering Kansas

According to Devonta Jason, there’s still a chance the coveted New Orleans prep receiver could end up signing with the Kansas football team he publicly decommitted from on Sunday. By Benton Smith

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Prep QB Tune describes KU as 'still in the picture' after Ole Miss offer, visit

Mere days after announcing he had picked up a scholarship offer from Ole Miss, Texas prep quarterback Clayton Tune, a Class of 2018 recruiting target of Kansas, traveled to Oxford, Miss., to check out the SEC program in person. According to what Tune told Rebel Grove, the visit went “really well.” What’s more, the QB described KU as “still in the picture” — far from a ringing endorsement. By Benton Smith

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Hectic Sunday also brings three additions to KU football's 2018 recruiting class

On the same day his Kansas football program officially lost commitments from two longstanding Class of 2018 recruiting targets, three-year head coach David Beaty on three occasions Sunday took to Twitter to make unrelated “neat deal” declarations, marking the additions of new recruits. By Benton Smith

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4-star New Orleans WR Devonta Jason decommits from Kansas

A day many Kansas football fans feared — and others assumed was inevitable — for months finally arrived Sunday. Five-star receiver Devonta Jason, the 31st-best high school senior in the country according to Rivals, backed out of his non-binding verbal commitment to play with the Jayahwks. By Benton Smith

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KU football loses pledge from prep D-end, who commits to K-State

Mark off another name from the Kansas football team’s list of potential high school signees in the 2018 recruiting class. By Benton Smith

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Devil of an afternoon: Arizona State knocks off KU in Allen Fieldhouse

The nation’s No. 2-ranked team, the Kansas Jayhawks lost their second game in a row Sunday afternoon, as No. 16 Arizona State easily survived a 13-point first-half deficit to shoot its way to a 95-85 victory at Allen Fieldhouse. By Benton Smith

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Four Jayhawks selected to AP's All-Big 12 second team

Although the Big 12’s coaches determined Kansas junior defensive tackle Daniel Wise belonged on their all-conference first team, neither Wise nor any of his KU teammates received the same distinction when the Associated Press unveiled its all-league selections Friday. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: New Orleans prep re-opens his recruitment

The Kansas football team’s 2018 recruiting class may have lost another potential signee Thursday evening, when a high school prospect from New Orleans announced his plans to further examine other programs. By Benton Smith

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SI names Kansas LB Joe Dineen a 2nd-team All-American

A week after learning the Big 12’s coaches voted him a second-team all-conference linebacker, Kansas redshirt junior Joe Dineen picked up a national honor Thursday from Sports Illustrated with an even more prestigious ring to it: second-team All-American. By Benton Smith

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Lagerald Vick's big night can't keep Jayhawks unbeaten

Huskies knock off No. 2 KU in K.C.

A career night from Kansas junior wing Lagerald Vick couldn’t keep the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks undefeated. Washington almost dared Vick to take over at times, and he responded by scoring a personal-best 28 points on 12-for-23 shooting. However, the Huskies held most of his teammates in check, enabling them to knock off KU, 74-65, Wednesday night at Sprint Center. By Benton Smith

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Productive linebacker Joe Dineen still upbeat about KU's future

Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen would be the first to admit the 2017 season didn’t live up to the expectations he and other team leaders had going into it. But that doesn’t mean the redshirt junior couldn’t find some small gratification in his contributions to the Jayhawks’ endeavors. By Benton Smith

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Four-star KU football recruit narrows choices down to two programs

As Dec. 20 and the NCAA’s new early signing period for college football nears, one of the New Orleans high school players Kansas has coveted for months has eliminated all but two programs from his list of potential destinations. By Benton Smith

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Juco D-lineman backs off KU commitment, intends to sign with Ohio

The Kansas football team’s Class of 2018 commitment list is one name shorter after a junior college defensive lineman this past weekend declared his intentions to play elsewhere. Zach Burks, a sophomore defensive tackle at Coffeyville Community College, announced through his Twitter profile after making an official visit to Ohio University that he had committed to the Bobcats. By Benton Smith

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New Orleans WR Devonta Jason drawing interest from another SEC program

A new suitor has emerged on the Devonta Jason recruiting front. The five-star receiver from Louisiana, who committed to the University of Kansas back in February, revealed in an interview this weekend with Pelican Preps his top choices for the upcoming Dec. 20 signing day include not only KU, LSU and Mississippi State, but also Florida. By Benton Smith

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First-teamer Daniel Wise leads KU football All-Big 12 honorees

The 2017 season fell far short of the type of success Kansas football players envisioned, but their efforts within a challenging 1-11 campaign didn’t go overlooked by the Big 12’s coaches. Led by junior Daniel Wise’s first-team selection, four Jayhawks achieved all-conference status for their individual play and production, the Big 12 announced Thursday afternoon. By Benton Smith

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Once de-committed Texas prep QB Clayton Tune back on board with KU

In the latest example of the mercurial nature of college football recruiting, Texas prep quarterback Clayton Tune, less than six weeks after de-committing from Kansas, has jumped back on board. By Benton Smith

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Devonte' Graham and No. 2 Jayhawks too hot for Toledo

In one of the more surprising developments of the first few weeks of the Kansas basketball season, senior guard Devonte’ Graham went the first five games without reaching 20 points in any of the No. 2 Jayhawks’ victories. The veteran from Raleigh, N.C., eclipsed that mark in the first half Tuesday night, though. By Benton Smith

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No rush: Kansas DT Daniel Wise plans to weigh draft outlook carefully

There’s a chance the next time the Kansas football team takes the field it will do so without standout defensive tackle Daniel Wise. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman, just like his KU teammate Dorance Armstrong Jr., will spend much of his time in the upcoming weeks exploring whether he should enter the 2018 NFL Draft. By Benton Smith

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Kansas picks up defensive back commitments from familiar junior college

Adding a defensive back from Hartnell College has worked out well for the Kansas football program before. Head coach David Beaty and his staff have to be hopeful history repeats itself — a couple times — after adding two commitments Monday from the junior college in California. The same program that brought the Jayhawks safety Fish Smithson produced a pair of Class of 2018 recruits for KU when sophomore safety Jeremiah McCullough and freshman defensive back Davon Ferguson pledged to sign. By Benton Smith

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In-season surgery 'never really a thought' for KU tackle Hakeem Adeniji

Sophomore LT played with labrum tears

Even before this past Kansas football season began, left tackle Hakeem Adeniji suffered an injury — a torn labrum in one of the sophomore offensive lineman’s shoulders — that would make his already strenuous job even more difficult. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound blocker from Garland, Texas, didn’t consider the setback in preseason camp a reason to take time off. Nor did Adeniji decide he’d had enough the first week of October, when the exact same trauma popped up in his opposite shoulder. By Benton Smith

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KU football players react to hearing David Beaty will remain head coach

Some supporters of the perpetually rebuilding Kansas football program voiced their displeasure via social media, message boards and internet comment sections with athletic director Sheahon Zenger’s decision to bring head coach David Beaty back for 2018, in spite of his 3-33 record. A similar reaction did not exist within the KU football locker room, according to players who spoke with the media shortly after Zenger’s steadfast endorsement of the coach. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: Zenger endorses Beaty in rebuilding process; Wise and Armstrong will weigh NFL decisions

The moment the University of Kansas football team’s season ended with a 58-17 pasting at the hands of No. 18 Oklahoma State, athletic director Sheahon Zenger sent out a statement in support of head coach David Beaty. By Benton Smith

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Familiar Finale: Jayhawks end season with blowout loss to Oklahoma State

A predominantly agonizing Kansas football season, so often defined by shortcomings or downright inept play, reached a fitting close Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium. By Benton Smith

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Game day Breakdown: KU football at No. 18 Oklahoma State

A lengthy list of flaws, showing up on offense, defense and special teams to varying degrees this fall, has kept the Kansas football team in a losing rut since defeating overmatched FCS opponent Southeast Missouri State in the season opener. A one-win season awaits the Jayhawks unless they score an upset on the road at Oklahoma State, considered at least a 40-point favorite over wobbling KU. By Benton Smith

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Jayhawks pick up commitment from juco CB on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in the Kansas football offices became a little happier when the coaching staff received a verbal commitment from a junior college prospect the coaches hope can help out the Jayhawks’ secondary. Elmore Hempstead, rated a three-star juco corner by Rivals, reached out to the KU staff Thursday morning to share his decision. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: Mike Lee's status for finale at Oklahoma State uncertain

The Kansas football team’s second-leading tackler, sophomore safety Mike Lee, might not get another chance to add to his current season total of 65 stops. Head coach David Beaty didn’t know at his weekly press conference whether Lee would be able to return to the field for Saturday’s season finale at No. 18 Oklahoma State. By Benton Smith

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Challenging junior season hasn't discouraged KU's Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Dorance Armstrong’s junior season with the Kansas football program hasn’t played out the way the massive defensive end envisioned. As his coaches adjusted schemes to make up for the unit’s shortcomings, they revised Armstrong’s responsibilities. Consequently, the sacks and tackles for loss that defined his breakout sophomore year often have been replaced by near misses and frustration. The 6-foot-4, 246-pound Houston native, though, hopes all of this will ultimately benefit him as a player. By Benton Smith

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Jayhawks lose role as captains after spurning Baker Mayfield's handshake

When the Kansas football team’s captains decided to snub Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield during pre-game unpleasantries this past weekend, they had no idea of what fallout would come. A day after their head coach, David Beaty, declared public apologies to numerous parties on their behalf, he announced at his Tuesday press conference Daniel Wise, Dorance Armstrong Jr., Joe Dineen and Jeremiah Booker will be deprived of their captain status for the upcoming season finale at No. 18 Oklahoma State. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: 'Provoked' by Kansas, fiery Sooners QB Baker Mayfield stripped of starting job

Captured on ESPN grabbing his crotch and yelling profanities toward the Kansas sideline following a third-quarter touchdown in his team’s trouncing of the Jayhawks Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won’t start or serve as a captain for the Sooners on his Senior Day. First-year OU head coach Lincoln Riley announced those punishments for his fiery Heisman Trophy-hopeful quarterback at his Monday press conference, in Norman, Okla., while also referencing the pregame handshake snub by the Jayhawks’ captains that set Mayfield down that path. By Benton Smith

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Beaty apologizes to Oklahoma, KU fans, Big 12 and college football for captains' handshake snub

A couple days removed from seeing three of his Kansas football team’s defensive captains refuse to shake hands with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield prior to kickoff, head coach David Beaty took a contrite stance on the matter Monday morning, on the Big 12 coaches media teleconference. “First of all, that was absolutely unacceptable,” Beaty began, when asked to further explain the occurrence, adding he reached out to OU head coach Lincoln Riley to apologize “on the behalf of myself and our team.” By Benton Smith

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KU's offense once again falls flat in loss to Oklahoma

The No. 3-ranked Oklahoma Sooners are known for their highly effective offense and a tough-to-defend quarterback in Baker Mayfield, who just might win the Heisman Trophy, in spite of his combustible personality. OU’s football team, at least this season, is not known for its defense. Nonetheless, Kansas failed to score a touchdown in its 2017 Memorial Stadium finale, a 41-3 defeat. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: Sims plays through injury vs. Oklahoma; Dineen honors late teammate

The Kansas football team’s receiving corps’ run of injury bad luck continued Saturday during a 41-3 loss to Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium. By Benton Smith

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Unfriendly Affair: Despite inspired start, Jayhawks can't keep up with No. 3 Oklahoma

If the Kansas football team’s defensive captains hoped to rattle Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield by refusing to shake his hand during the pre-game coin toss, the ploy’s effects weren’t nearly enough to upset the No. 3 Sooners. By Benton Smith

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The Svi Show: Mykhailiuk shoots Jayhawks past South Dakota State, 98-64

In order for a tired group of Jayhawks to handle their business Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse, one of the Kansas basketball team’s seven scholarship players needed to step to the forefront early and plant some seeds of doubt in the minds of their opponents from South Dakota State. By Benton Smith

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Billy Preston sits for third straight game; Self says no update

Three games into the season, freshman Billy Preston still hasn’t made his debut for Kansas basketball. By Benton Smith

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Explosive OU offense will challenge both sides of ball for Kansas

For all the challenges the staggering Kansas football team has endured at various points throughout what stands as a nine-game losing streak, the Jayhawks just might be in for their most formidable trial yet. No. 3 Oklahoma, averaging 44.3 points a game and a nation-leading 600.7 yards, hasn’t scored fewer than 29 points in a game this season. Its opponent Saturday at Memorial Stadium, KU, hasn’t scored 30 points in a game since September and has averaged 12.5 points in the six defeats since. By Benton Smith

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Game day breakdown: KU football vs. No. 3 Oklahoma

Other than the players and coaches who occupy the Kansas locker room, there might not be a single person who follows college football who expects the Jayhawks to beat Oklahoma. Earlier this week, KU chancellor Douglas Girod endorsed third-year head coach David Beaty and his long-term vision for the program. So there couldn’t be less pressure on the home team, considered a five-touchdown underdog. By Benton Smith

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Notebook: Meacham breaks down Stanley's 3 interceptions at Texas

In his third start this season and sixth during his time at Kansas, redshirt sophomore quarterback Carter Stanley threw a career-best three touchdown passes this past Saturday at Texas. The Jayhawks’ ninth consecutive loss, though, also included three costly Stanley interceptions, a career-worst for the second-year QB. Offensive coordinator Doug Meacham broke down what went wrong for Stanley and his teammates on each giveaway. By Benton Smith

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OU coach Lincoln Riley not biggest fan of competing against brother Garrett, of KU

When first-year Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley leads his Sooners, currently No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, into Memorial Stadium Saturday to face faltering Kansas, he will do his best to overlook the fact that his younger brother, Garrett, will be part of the opposition. By Benton Smith

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No. 4 Jayhawks top No. 5 Wildcats in blue blood battle

College basketball’s two winningest programs squared off Tuesday night at Chicago’s United Center, and though the game footage won’t be headed to the hall of fame, blue bloods Kansas and Kentucky provided some early season drama in the nightcap of the Champions Classic. Coach Bill Self’s Jayhawks prevailed, 65-61, against John Calipari’s Wildcats in a battle of top-five teams that wasn’t decided until the final minute.

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Four Jayhawks out for final two KU football games

With two games left, the Kansas football team will have to conclude its schedule without four regular contributors. Head coach David Beaty announced Tuesday junior receivers Tyler Patrick and Jeremiah Booker, as well as freshman receiver Quan Hampton and junior cornerback Shakial Taylor have suffered season-ending injuries. By Benton Smith

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Appreciative of chancellor's endorsement, Beaty says KU football in 'middle' of his plan

According to David Beaty, he didn’t expect Monday to have University of Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod declare support for him as the football coach, while doing the same for athletic director Sheahon Zenger and the current direction of the program. Beaty unsurprisingly said at his weekly press conference Tuesday Girod’s endorsement “means a ton” to the him, his staff and the players. By Benton Smith

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KU chancellor states confidence in AD Zenger, football coach Beaty

'A competitive football program is important to our university'

In a message he sent to University of Kansas students and faculty members Monday afternoon and posted on the university’s website, chancellor Douglas Girod stated his confidence in both athletic director Sheahon Zenger and KU football coach David Beaty. By Benton Smith

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KU offense laments first-down duds in second half at Texas

In a rare road game that took on a competitive feel after halftime, KU’s most costly transgression at Texas may have been backfiring first downs in the third quarter which left the offense unable to pounce. By Benton Smith

Notebook: Tyler Patrick exits with injury; KU's defense without three starters

The third quarter of the Kansas football team’s 42-27 loss at Texas Saturday night got off to a somber start. On the offense’s first series after halftime, junior receiver Steven Sims Jr. converted a third-and-10 by making a wicked cut in the open field for a 26-yard gain. However, his teammate, receiver Tyler Patrick, suffered a severe left-leg injury on the same play. By Benton Smith

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Missed Chances: Longhorns capitalize on KU's mistakes; Jayhawks fall at Texas

The Texas football team made a point to exploit Kansas for its most glaring flaws Saturday night. When the Jayhawks failed to do the same, the Longhorns had little trouble avenging their storied program’s infamous 2016 loss to forlorn KU. By Benton Smith

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