David Beaty has no trouble identifying team's most improved position
David Beaty has toned down his wild-eyed optimism this spring, a conscious move that has resulted in the compliments he does pay to certain aspects of his fourth team carry more credibility.
Beaty singled out the cornerback position as the most improved on the team, which is a good thing, because it had such a long way to go.
"I am most excited about the corners," Beaty said. "I just keep coming back every week to the corner group. And we've got more of them, and we still have two more coming, which is great."
The most intriguing of the two cornerbacks who will join the program in June are Elijah Jones, who had committed to Central Florida but backed out after head coach Scott Frost left for Nebraska. He's a three-star recruit who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 175 pounds. Jones is a native of Fort Meyers, Fla. who played juco ball in Iowa. Elmore Hempstead, 6-0, 185, turned down scholarship offers from Arizona State, Central Florida and Iowa State to sign with Kansas.
They'll add depth, but it's primarily four corners already in camp who have convinced Beaty the team's pass coverage will be better: juniors Hasan Defense and Kyle Mayberry, freshman Corione Harris and senior Shakial Taylor.
"Each week I see one of those guys getting better," Beaty said. "Shak Taylor sticks out to me this week. Corione Harris is getting better by the day at what we're doing. He's very athletic, but he's becoming more of an efficient player because he's learning what to do."
It's not uncommon for cornerbacks to make big strides in their second year in the Big 12 after the shocking baptism that long, fast receivers put them through as rookies.
"Definitely," Defense said of expecting a big improvement in his second year in the pass-happy conference. "Big things are in store, I can promise you that."
Clint Bowen coaches cornerbacks now and Kenny Perry has moved to a new role as special teams coach.
"There's just a whole slew of them," Beaty said of corners who have improved. "Kyle Mayberry is doing some things over there that I wasn't quite sure that I would see him do. But he's done a nice job. I think Coach Bowen has done a really good job with those guys."
Kansas finished 126th in the nation with 296.8 passing yards allowed per game and surrendered 31 touchdown passes with just four interceptions in 2017. Dreadful numbers.