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Pooka Williams not only David Beaty recruit having monster season

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Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger (81) lunges forward at the end of a catch against Clemson during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger (81) lunges forward at the end of a catch against Clemson during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft) by Sam Craft (AP Photo)

Even if Kansas freshman running back Pooka Williams continues on the pace he has set in his first three games it will be difficult for him to earn first-team All-American honors.

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor and Stanford’s Bryce Love had the advantage of entering the season as Heisman Trophy candidates and Taylor is off to a terrific start.

And then there is Darrell Henderson of Memphis. So far, Henderson easily has the best case for the Heisman, even if he’s strangely missing from the Heisman watches of various websites.

Henderson not only leads the nation with 177.25 rushing yards per game and is tied for second with eight rushing touchdowns, he’s second with 12.22 yards per carry.

It’s too early to count out Pooka, but the truth is that his chances of earning first-team All-American honors rank second to another player Beaty recruited to Kansas.

A third of the way through the season, there isn’t a tight end in America with a better case for first-team honors than Jace Steinberger, recruited to Kansas out of Kingfisher, Okla., as part of the Class of 2015, Beaty’s first recruiting class, which also included defensive end Dorance Armstrong and wide receiver Steven Sims.

Armstrong, of course, is playing for the Dallas Cowboys, leaving Sims as the lone remaining player at Kansas from that talented trio of recruits.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Sternberger is in his first season at Texas A&M.

Sternberger redshirted in 2015 and played mostly on special teams in 2016, when he caught one pass for five yards. He believed in himself enough to leave Kansas and play a year in junior college, figuring he could attract winning football programs to recruit him. He figured right.

Sternberger has 13 receptions for 205 yards and four touchdowns and is averaging 15.3 yards per catch.

He’s right there with Iowa’s Noah Fant (15 catches, 169 yards, four TDs, 11.3 average), Jared Pinkey of Vanderbilt (16-283-1, 17.7), Stanford’s Kaden Smith (18-205-4, 14.3), Keenan Brown of Texas State (19-256-2, 13.47), Utah State’s Dax Raymond (15-210-1, 14.0) and Albert Okwuegbunam of Missouri (23-181-2, 7.9).

Another member of the Kansas recruiting Class of 2015 will be in the limelight for another program this week. As did Sternberger, quarterback Ryan Willis believed in himself and gave up his scholarship at Kansas. Willis accepted an offer to walk on at Virginia Tech, where he sat out as a redshirt last season after spending two years in the Kansas program splitting starts with Montell Cozart most of the time. Willis joined a program that had four scholarship quarterbacks and worked his way to No. 2 on the depth chart at the start of this season.

Virginia Tech starting quarterback Josh Jackson suffered a broken leg during an upset loss to Old Dominion. Willis entered and completed 9 of 18 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. He did not throw an interception and rushed for 30 yards on four carries.

Willis will start Saturday’s game at No. 22 Duke.

Tyriek “T.J.” Starks, another former Kansas quarterback, is playing at Iowa Western Community College and is getting the second-most snaps in a job share. He has rushed for 173 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per attempt, and as a passer is 33 for 71 (46.4 percent) for 444 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, not the sort of production that will draw the attention of Power Five recruiters. A native of New Orleans, Starks spent two years in the Kansas program, redshirting his first season.

Comments

David Kemp 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I will say this again. USE the tight end and get rid of 1 wideout. Diversify your offense and either let him block or sneak into pass pattern.

Jeff Kallmeyer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree, we obviously need more blocking help on the line!

Dale Rogers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The obvious question to me is what are these other schools doing differently that allows our former players to do so much better at those schools? Why cannot we recognize and develop their talents here? What are we missing or doing wrong? No doubt coaching will be the answer many give but is there anything else?

[''] 2 months, 2 weeks ago

What these other schools are doing differently is that they have coaches who know how to put the most talented players in the best spots and opportunities on the field to create success...KU coacheses can't and don't do that. Willis, Sternberger, Cozart and more...all players Beaty couldn't coach who have gone on to do great things under better coaching. Ol' Zengy sold us all a bill of goods on this head coach and his OC. We were duped. Save us Jeff Long!

Greg Ledom 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I’m not always a fan of how you criticize and post and not that you even care or should care what another poster thinks. That said, you are spot on here and I can’t refute a thing you state. The time is near and Long will bring us back to center. It just can’t come soon enough.....

Michael Maris 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Beaty can spot the lesser recruited talentt. Beaty and staff can't coach them up. And, as David Camp stated above, use the TE for more than a bottle holder, etc..... Mangino and staff fully knew how to use a TE.

David Kemp 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Using the te position will open up pooka and the wide receivers to do what they do.

Len Shaffer 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And it's not just the lack of use of TE's. How often do they throw to the running backs? I don't remember them throwing to Pooka or to the others much, and that could also open up more running lanes.

Sam Allen 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Next time I see Coach Beaty at work I’ll bring this up, I more likely see Bowen though.

Eric Eakins 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I believe we have the talent to compete in the Big 12 at least to the middle level. I don't believe in 4 years our coaches have shown the ability to identify and develop said talent or adjust their thoughts on how football is to be played with the type of talent they have. I'm willing to test my theory with a new coach. Of course I do not make those decisions so I will patiently wait and watch and cheer them on. I do make a decision of where my money goes and I'm holding on to it until wise decisions are being made.

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