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No shortage of bodies at O-line for Kansas in 2018

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First-year Kansas offensive line coach A.J. Ricker watches over his position players during warmups at practice on Monday, April 23, 2018.

First-year Kansas offensive line coach A.J. Ricker watches over his position players during warmups at practice on Monday, April 23, 2018. by Nick Krug

More than two-thirds of the starts at offensive line during the 2017 Kansas football season were made by players expected to suit up for the Jayhawks this coming fall.

Those players should benefit from an extra year in the weight room and perhaps from their new offensive line coach, A.J. Ricker.

Several newcomers will vie for snaps as well. Plus, KU might not be done recruiting. Adding a body or two via the graduate-transfer route remains a possibility.

Four different players made starts at right tackle, a position that appears up for grabs.

David Beaty gave a shortage of bodies at offensive line as the reason for not having a spring game. With so many reinforcements on board, quantity won't be an issue, although center remains a cause for concern.

Improving the quality of the line from the past few seasons will be the main issue.

A look at 18 offensive linemen expected to be on the 2018 roster, provided they are physically and academically healthy and in the case of the potential blueshirts, provided either they or the coaching staff does not end the relationship:

HAKEEM ADENIJI

Height: 6-4

Weight: 300

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Barring a last-minute addition of a talented graduate transfer, Adeniji should start at left tackle for the third consecutive year.

JACOB BRAGG

Height: 6-4

Weight: 280

Class: Sr.

Possible role: Not likely to appear on the two-deep, Bragg has made starts at center and guard during his career. After he started at center vs. Iowa State, three players were juggled to different positions vs. TCU to avoid starting Bragg at center.

EARL BOSTICK JR.

Height: 6-6

Weight: 286

Class: So.

Possible role: If he doesn’t battle his way onto two-deep at one of the tackle spots, he could redshirt, which would make up for the year of eligibility he burned as a freshman, when he appeared in the Rhode Island game and didn’t play in the remaining 11 games. Lined up as second tight end multiple times and caught one pass, a touchdown. Could still be a year or two away.

MALIK CLARK

Height: 6-4

Weight: 320

Class: R-So.

Possible role: Cited by coaches for making progress during spring football, Clark is a candidate to start at left guard, but if Andru Tovi doesn’t have to move to center, Clark likely will end up on second team.

CAM DURLEY

Height: 6-6

Weight: 315

Class: R-So.;

Possible role: Looks like a Big 12 tackle coming off the bus but only on-field action came vs. Rhode Island during freshman season. Might still be a year away.

KEVIN FEDER

Height: 6-9

Weight: 303

Class: RS-Jr.

Possible role: Foot injury sidelined him first two years at Ohio State and he was medically cleared for third season but didn’t play. Has two years of eligibility remaining. If healthy, could compete for starting assignment at right tackle.

ANTIONE FRAZIER

Class: Jr.

Height: 6-4

Weight: 300

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Appeared in season opener vs. Rhode Island in 2017 and didn’t get in another game. Started the three nonconference games in 2018, but appeared to be a couple of years away from being ready. Could benefit from redshirt year, if not part of competition to start at right tackle.

JOEY GILBERTSON

Height: 6-4

Weight: 290

Class: R-Fr.

Possible role: Has long-range promise but probably not at center, where he played some during the spring and appeared to struggle with snaps. Lauded for hard-nosed attitude.

CHRIS HUGHES

Height: 6-3

Weight: 310

Class: R-So.

Possible role: Started 10 games at right guard, missing two games and time in the spring because of injury. If he stays healthy should lock down right guard spot for remainder of career.

LARRY HUGHES

Height: 6-7

Weight: 310

Class: Sr.

Possible role: Has appeared at guard and tackle throughout career and strives to get stronger each year in the weight room. In event of injury to a starter, his experience makes him a candidate to stand in at multiple positions.

ADAGIO LOPETI

Height: 6-5

Weight: 290

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Potential blueshirt from College of San Mateo played right tackle in juco and will, along with several others, be given a shot to win the position during camp.

JACOBI LOTT

Height: 6-5

Weight: 308

Class: Fr.

Possible role: Big recruiting score. Remained committed to KU despite late scholarship offer from Texas and late attempt by Oklahoma State to get him to make a visit. Has potential at both guard and tackle. Might be able to get on the two-deep as a freshman. If not, would benefit from redshirt season.

API MANE

Height: 6-3

Weight: 327

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Potential blueshirt from College of San Mateo will try to earn snaps at guard. Played left guard at CSM.

CLYDE McCAULEY III

Height: 6-5

Weight: 305

Class: R-Jr.

Possible role: Has chance to serve as backup at both tackle spots in event he doesn’t make a big enough improvement to win a starting job. He, Larry Hughes and Bragg (five years) are the only O-linemen who have been in program more than three seasons.

HUNTER SAULSBURY

Height: 6-4

Weight: 310

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Former walk-on appeared in two games at center last season but is not likely to crack the two-deep.

EDDIE TATOLA

Height:6-3

Weight: 310

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Potential blueshirt from College of San Mateo played mostly at guard but did play a game at center and played some there in high school, so if he can prove reliable enough there to win the starting spot that would enable Tovi to stay at guard. If staff doesn’t like him at center he’ll supply depth at guard.

ANDRU TOVI

Height: 6-3

Weight: 320

Class: Jr.

Possible role: Made eight starts at left guard last season and will remain there if he’s not needed at center, where he played during the spring out of necessity.

NICK WILLIAMS

Height: 6-8

Weight: 290

Class: Fr.

Possible role: An impressive recruiting score, Williams enrolled early and impressed with his enthusiasm during the spring. Turned down offers from Central Florida, Illinois and Minnesota to become a Jayhawk. Ideally, KU will be able to redshirt him and start him down a development path that leads to multiple years as a starter at tackle.

Comments

Bryson Stricker 4 months, 2 weeks ago

OOC, why did you only mention two CSM kids? If you're going to bring them up, you might as well mention all three.. unless youve been enlightened you may have been off with your previous article..

Also can't help but note this article title contradicts a few previous articles written here...

John Fitzgerald 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Tom,

What about Reuben Lewis JUCO transfer from Coffeyville CC? He still coming to KU? Looks like he signed per 247 sports. If he does in fact show up I think he has a chance at starting. He's a big dude with solid experience. Good article by the way. Good to see a breakdown of each player in an area of concern for the program.

Gerry Butler 4 months, 2 weeks ago

the one thing I'll say about these offensive linemen is -- seem to have good size , now dang it our offensive line Coach has just GOT TO develop these guys , the size of these guys for sure doesn't look like any issue - reckon it's just plain technique our offensive line has been one of our down falls for sure. Doesn't matter who you have as your starting QB if he has to spend 3/4 of his time running for his life - even if you get a talented QB back there he still needs the time for the play to be given the chance to develop. - Our guys just have to be able to pas block - - run block stay on their blocks. Again our QB'S really haven't been given the time they need to really make his reads in a lot of times AND our running backs even though I think we have some pretty decent backs - -if there is no hole to run through then were stuck like chuck. Offensive line is one of the big issuers we have going against us - that and our defensive line not getting enough pressure on opposing QB'S - -secondary got ate alive but I mean dam how long is a guy suppose to be able to cover - sooner or later someone is going to break free - just have to get more pressure on opposing QB'S. - I'm still getting ready for the season maybe I just like getting kicked in the face but - still feel believe it or not we can get this dam thing turned around.

John Brazelton 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Out of 18 offensive linemen, 1/2 are upper classmen and all are at or very close to 300 pounds. Coach Ricker now has to come with 8 players who can start or back-up during the 2018 season. If Coach Riker can do that as well as develop the underclassmen, KU has a good chance having an offense that can score both through the air and on the ground. Our defense is above average if they don't have to play 3/4's of the game on the field. If we can come out the gate with all three phases of the game working, we may have the opportunity to have 4 or more wins this season.

Marcia Parsons 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Too many injuries, they said. I don't believe they said who was injured.

Mike Bennett 4 months, 2 weeks ago

They've got the bodies. Now it's time to see if they can play. OL play, not QB, has kept KU down for several years. They haven't been able to pass or run block worth a damn for at least 5 years. I would not just because someone is 300+ lbs doesn't mean they have the strength or size to play. There are a lot of 300 lb jello monsters out there that can't play. Are they the right kind of 300. We shall see. I'm not expecting much just because of how bad they've been. They need to make a huge jump to just be average.

Jim Stauffer 4 months, 2 weeks ago

The O-Line is now at an appropriate starting point. We have the bodies and we have a coach. The only question is do we have enough time to develop the chemistry needed for success in this league. Time will tell.

Eric Eakins 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I can't answer your question but can say we have the same amount of time as every other team in the league. Success will come with proper coaching and proper player commitment.

Jeff Coffman 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Am i reading this right? We had three OL play in the Rhode Island win, that did not play another snap that year? Basically burned three red-shirts.

Mike Hart 4 months, 2 weeks ago

It's hard to make heads or tails of who has done what. He has Earl Bostick Jr as playing against Rhode Island and then not playing the rest of the year. In reality, he played 2 games and caught a TD pass against Texas in November last year. And then with Antione Frazier, Tom says he started against Rhode Island in 2017 and played in 3 non-conference games in 2018. Correct me if I am wrong... but the 2018 season hasn't started yet.

Doug Stahler 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I remember a few years ago when any major state high school champion team had better weightlifting numbers than our team's numbers. Any progress reported with the off season strength training?

Mike Bennett 4 months, 2 weeks ago

That's why I refer to them as jello monsters. All 300+ lbs are NOT created equal. Both Hughes. Adeniji and Frazier desperately needed to reshape their 300.

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