The Athletic, ESPN.com, The Ringer and SI.com all do a nice job with their mock drafts. The four sites agree on two things regarding how KU players will fare in next Thursday night’s draft.
First, they predict that the first round will pass without any Jayhawks hearing their names called.
Second, they all have Malik Newman being drafted. Not even Devonte’ Graham appears on one site's projection. Svi Myhailiuk also did not make the cut in one mock draft and and Billy Preston appears on 2 of 4.
Interestingly, two sites have Newman going to the Lakers.
One guess has Graham going to the Wizards, where he could join Jayhawks Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. and would compete to become John Wall’s backup.
A look at where four websites have KU’s four prospects going in the upcoming draft:
|Player||The Ringer||SI.com||ESPN.com||The Athletic|
|Malik Newman||47 Lakers||53 Thunder||47 Lakers||49 Spurs|
|Devonte' Graham||44 Wizards||Free agent||40 Nets||60 76ers|
|Svi Mykhailiuk||Free agent||59 Suns||57 Thunder||45 Nets|
|Billy Preston||Free agent||60 76ers||Free agent||59 Suns|
The once-in-a-lifetime Air Raid show put on by Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans that Kansas head coach David Beaty witnessed as receivers coach for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M didn't in any way resemble the three years of offensive duds Beaty's teams have plodded through at Kansas.
A porous offensive line and constantly revolving quarterback door tend to share all the blame for the lousy showings. Wide receivers largely have escaped blame and that's probably not fair.
Aside from Steven Sims, KU hasn't developed a productive receiver during the Beaty years, at least not yet. Juniors Evan Fairs and Daylon Charlot have exciting potential, so that could change. So far, though, KU receivers have been worse than so-so.
Beaty used just one scholarship in the most recent recruiting class on a wide receiver and it went to juco Stephon Robinson. He's the 15th wide receiver to take a scholarship from Beaty. Eight went to high school players, four to four-year transfers (Charlot, La Quvionte Gonzalez, Quincy Perdue and Joshua Stanford) and two to jucos (Kerr Johnson and Robinson).
Five of the 15 receivers left the program with eligibility remaining: Gonzalez, Chase Harrell, Travis Jordan, Perdue and Stanford.
Robinson and redshirt freshman Takulve Williams are scheduled to make their KU debuts in the fall and Kenyon Tabor of Derby, perhaps the most talented receiver Beaty has recruited to KU, missed all last season with an injury and was not cleared to participate in spring football.
KU will need better performance from its receivers than it received a year ago.
Sure, better blocking would give quarterbacks more time to find open receivers, but the pass-catchers could help matters by getting open more quickly. Given Beaty's background coaching receivers and the emphasis he puts on the position during recruiting, this figured to be an area of strength, but it hasn't turned out that way. Even when receivers broke open in 2017, they dropped far too many balls.
Of the 15 receivers given scholarships, only two have had a 300-yard receiving season. Steven Sims has had three of them, Fairs one.
A look at 300-yard receiving seasons during Beaty's tenure as head coach:
|Blue: Beaty recruit
||Red: Weis recruit||Yellow: Beaty recruit
The U.S. Open doesn't randomly group golfers into threesomes when making tee times. Think themes.
For example, the English threesome of Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Ian Poulter tees off No. 1 at Shinnecock Hills at 6:51 (Central time). Spaniards Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrero Bello tee off No. 1 at 12:14 p.m.
Money leader Justin Thomas, Official World Golf Rankings leader Dustin Johnson and TV ratings leader Tiger Woods tee off No. 1 at 12:47 p.m.
So it's never too tough to guess Gary Woodland's playing partners with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Think long ball.
Woodland, who ranks fifth on the PGA tour in driving distance (313.3), ranks third in his threesome in that statistic. Tony Finau (315.3) is second on tour, Luke List (314.6) fourth. They tee off at 12:03 p.m. from the first tee. FS1 and Fox will televise the U.S. Open.
Woodland, who on Super Bowl Sunday won the Phoenix Open for his third tour title, is coming off a slump-busting, tied-for-23rd finish in the Memorial two weeks ago. Knocked out of contention by a blow-up round on Saturday, Woodland shot 69-68-75-67 for the tournament.
The strong showing enabled Woodland to break a streak of five consecutive missed cuts.
This will be Woodland's eight U.S. Open. He missed the cut three times and his best finish, tied for 23rd, came at Congressional in 2011.
A look at how Woodland, 34, stacks up statistically against the leaders in various categories heading into the U.S. Open:
|Category||Gary Woodland rank||PGA tour leader
|Official World Golf Ranking||55||Dustin Johnson|
|2018 PGA Tour money list
||32 ($2,011,702)||Justin Thomas ($5,764,100)|
|Vegasinsider.com odds to win||175/1||Dustin Johnson 7/1|
|Driving distance||5 (313.3)||Trey Mullinax (318.4)|
|Driving accuracy||T69 (63.57)
||Henrik Stenson (77.9)|
|Greens in regulation||5 (71.35)||Henrik Stenson (75.0)|
|Scrambling||196 (52.47)||Louis Oosthuizen (67.98)|
|Sand-save pct.||192 (39.84)||Phil Mickelson (64.21)|
|Strokes gained putting||70||Jason Day|
|Source for stats: PGAtour.com|
Most of the improvements made to the Kansas football roster after a recruiting season devoted to bringing on prospects from junior colleges happened on defense, which happens to match up well with the most significant Big 12 departures, which came at quarterback.
Oklahoma State has to replace Mason Rudolph, who started his last 42 games at Oklahoma State and posted outrageously good numbers, also leading in a way that made everyone on the offense better.
Taylor Cornelius, a redshirt senior from Bushland, Texas who has attempted 24 passes during his Oklahoma State career, reportedly had the most impressive spring. A former walk-on, Cornelius is expected to be pushed by Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown, who was not yet with the team in the spring.
TCU will turn to strong-armed scrambler Shawn Robinson, a sophomore, to replace Hill. Robinson has a high ceiling, but lacks experience.
Texas Tech has to repace Nic Shimonek, who threw for 3,963 yards and 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions last season. Neither junior McLane Carter nor redshirt sophomore Jett Duffey came out of spring football having won the job.
The good news for Kansas: They no longer have to defend Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. The bad news: Mayfield's replacement, Kyler Murray, has Heisman potential too and was the fastest player KU faced in either football or baseball. The Oakland A's selected Murray with the ninth pick of the first round of the baseball draft and he plans to play quarterback for the Sooners.
In last season's 41-3 victory vs. Kansas, Murray completed 3 of 5 passes for 55 yards and rushed three times for 33 yards. As Mayfield's backup last season, Murray completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. That computes to a quarterback rating of 276.5 and 17.1 yards per pass attempt. He also rushed 13 times for 142 yards, an average of 10.9 yards per carry. Sure, most of the numbers were compiled at mop-up time, but his speed and skills translate to prime time.
Murray didn't fare nearly as well as a freshman at Texas A&M, for which he completed 59.5 percent of his passes, averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt and threw five touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He not only wasn't experienced then, he wasn't surrounded by as many superior athletes.
It's true that the Jayhawks still will face bigger, stronger, quicker offensive linemen than the players they have protecting the quarterback, not to mention bigger, faster receivers than the men covering them, but at least they won't face as much experience at the most important position on the field.
Fourth-year Kansas football coach David Beaty gave no indication during the 15-practice spring session as to the identity of the starting quarterback this coming fall.
A look at Beaty's first three seasons on the job doesn't help narrow it down much because he has had a tendency to change his mind more than once during the course of the season.
In his first season, Beaty used three different starting quarterbacks in a three-week span. Montell Cozart started in Week 2, Deondre Ford started in Week 3, back to Cozart in Week 4 and Ryan Willis in Week 5.
Willis set the Beaty-coached record for most consecutive starts by getting the call in the final eight weeks of the 2015 season, but then Beaty switched back to Cozart to start the 2016 season. In two different stints as the starter, Cozart had seven starts in 2016, Carter Stanley three and Wills two.
So whatever Beaty saw in games Willis that made him start the final eight games of the 2015 season wasn't as powerful as whatever the coach saw during the offseason that made him switch back to Cozart to start the 2016 season.
Peyton Bender, who started eight games last season, Stanley, who started four, and newcomer Miles Kendrick, who spent one semester at junior college out of high school, all have legitimate chances to win the job during the summer.
Sheahon Zenger, David Beaty's last line of defense against a 3-33 record, is gone now, so coaches using negative recruiting against Kansas have even more credibility with their lame-duck portrayals of KU's fourth-year coach.
It's not going to be easy for the Kansas coaching staff to line up commitments when the recruits they're pitching, even without it being pointed out by coaches from other schools, can conclude on their own that the identity of the Kansas football coach for 2019 and beyond is a mystery.
Given that, it makes sense for Kansas coaches to zero in on recruits who have grown up in families loyal to KU, high school students who will give it all they have for mom and/or dad's alma mater, no matter the identity of the coach. Most who fit that profile are from the state of Kansas. Mix in some of Tony Hull's Louisiana magic and it's possible to salvage at least the semblance of a a halfway decent recruiting class.
So far, not so good.
Predictably, things are off to a slow start on the recruiting front for the Jayhawks. Lance Legendre, a four-star, dual-threat quarterback from New Orleans, is KU's lone commitment, which means none of the 33 recruits from Texas and three from Kansas who have committed to Big 12 schools are heading to Kansas.
Two of the state of Kansas' top five high school recruits, per Rivals, are undecided. Both — No. 3 Jayden Russell of Aquinas and No. 5 Jax Dineen of Lawrence Free State High — list Kansas among the schools they're considering. Top recruit, defensive end Marcus Hicks of Wichita, committed to Oklahoma. No. 2, quarterback Graham Mertz from Blue Valley North in Overland Park, is headed to Wisconsin. No. 4, quarterback Easton Dean from Altamont, committed to Iowa State.
A look at how Big 12 schools are progressing in football recruiting:
|1 - Oklahoma||13||
Texas (8), Arizona, California, D.C.
Kansas, North Carolina
DE Marcus Hicks
|13 - Texas||9||Texas (5), Arizona (2), California, Georgia||None|
|22 - TCU||11||Texas (7), Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio||None|
|31 - Iowa State||9
Iowa (3), Missouri (2), Arizona, Kansas,
South Dakota, Texas
QB Easton Dean
|34 - Baylor||7
||Texas (6), Mississippi||None|
|45 - Oklahoma State||5||Texas (3), Oklahoma (2)||
|49 - West Virginia||5||
Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, West Virginia
|63 - Texas Tech||3||Texas (2), California||None|
|73 (tie) - Kansas||1||Louisiana||None|
|73 (tie) - Kansas State||2||Kansas, Texas||
DT Cooper Beebe
(Kansas City, KS)
Provided that the mental gains achieved through repetition and physical gains acquired via natural growth and weight-room work outpace the wear and tear on the body that comes with increased exposure to hits and injuries, it’s generally safe to assume that experience makes a football player better.
In that regard, Kansas should be able to field a more competitive football team than it did a year ago, when they Jayhawks went 1-11 and were outscored by opponents by an average score of 43.4-18.7. In conference play, the disparity (46.4-14.3) was even worse.
The obvious question: Why is it a good thing that so many players return from a squad that was so overmatched, week in and week out?
Fair question, but the fact is it’s better than if the Jayhawks had to replace most of the roster. If nothing else, it gives Kansas experienced depth. Several recruits from junior college will compete for starting spots, so having so many players back gives the coaching staff options.
Since 11 players start on offense and 11 on defense every game and there were 12 games, that’s 264 starts for the season. Players on this coming season’s roster accounted for 210 starts and 54 were made by players who won’t participate this coming season. So, 80 percent of the starts are back.
A look at the players who made starts last season who are not back:
The Arizona Diamondbacks chose Kansas junior right-hander Jackson Goddard with the 99th overall selection in the Major League Baseball draft Tuesday.
A native of Tulsa, Goddard missed six weeks this past season with a strained abdominal muscle, but finished the season strong enough to be selected late in the third round. The 99th pick has a salary slot of $565,100.
Goddard, 21, became KU's highest pick since Tom Gorzelanny was chosen in the second round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003.
Goddard wasn't the first player with KU ties chosen in the draft. Texas high school shortstop Jordan Groshans, brother of Goddard's catcher this season, Jaxx Groshans, was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 12th selection of the first round Monday night. He had committed to play at Kansas. That pick comes with a salary slot of $4.2 million, downgrading the chances of him ever playing for Kansas from slim to none.
Is the University of Kansas willing to pay its athletic director $1 million a year?
If so, then it’s worth starting at the top to see if the superstars of the AD field might be interested in taking on the challenge of turning KU into more than a basketball school. If not, don’t bother because that’s how much money it would take simply to engage one of the heavyweights in the field in a serious conversation.
It might take more than that to land the big fish, but a million would be a nice starting point.
For the purposes of illustrating what it might take to pique the interest of an A-list AD, let’s look at the contract details of Clemson’s Dan Radakovich, published in the Post and Courier on Nov. 22, 2016.
That’s when Radakovich signed a six-year, $4.854 million contract extension through 2021-22.
He also will receive retention bonuses of $200,000 if still on the job Aug. 15, 2019, and $225,000 on Aug. 15, 2021.
Plus, he receives a $30,000 bonus if the school participates in the College Football Playoff and $20,00 if it earns a spot in the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament.
His salary increases $25,000 per year, which would place the figure at $796,500 for this coming school year and $871,500 in the final year of the deal, plus incentives.
If Radakovich, 59, leaves Clemson for another school, the buyout is a mere $125,000. Considering he would be walking way from those retention bonuses amounting to $400,000, and incentives, that means in order for Radakovich to break even financially, his deal elsewhere would have be about $1 million a year.
Why make a lateral move?
Assuming he would even have an interest in leaving a machine that he has up and running so smoothly for a steep challenge, it would probably take somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2-to-$1.5 million a year to lure him from Clemson, S.C. to Lawrence.
Since Clemson likely would make a counter offer to keep him, the figure probably moves closer to $1.5 million.
So the question then becomes is Kansas willing to pay $1.5 million for its next AD?
What, other than a pay raise, might interest Radakovich in leaving the second-hottest football juggernaut (behind only Alabama) in the country for the worst power-five program?
He had success heading renovation projects for basketball arenas and football stadiums.Maybe he enjoys doing that? No, that can’t be it. Who enjoys asking for money?
Radakovich, who took the Clemson job in 2012, hasn’t hired a football coach since 2008, when he wooed Paul Johnson from Navy to Georgia Tech.
Maybe he thinks he works with the next great college football head coach and wants to see what he can do because he knows he’ll never get a chance to do so at Clemson, where Dabo Swinney, 48, might still be coaching in 20 years.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables makes $1.8 million a year, is a native of Salina and played for and graduated from Kansas State.
Venables, 47, worked at his alma mater under Bill Snyder for six years and at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops for eight years. He left his DC position at OU when Mike Stoops returned to join his brother’s staff in 2012.
Venables inherited a defense that ranked 81st in the nation in points allowed. The rank of his six Clemson defenses, starting in 2012: 46, 24, 3, 24, 10, 2.
KU’s next AD won’t necessarily have an obvious connection to KU’s football coach in 2019, in the event David Beaty does not turn around the program this coming season and a change is made.
Still, as soon as the AD is hired, the guessing game as to the next football coach will come into clearer focus.
Someone of Venables’ ilk would demand somewhere in the range of $2.5-to-$3 million to leave the secure, exciting job he now fills.
How much KU is willing to spend on an athletic director will be the first indication of how much it will pony up for the next football coach.
These are potentially exciting times for Kansas Athletics. The negative momentum, at least for the moment, has shifted into neutral, which counts as progress.
Even though Kansas hasn’t signed many Texas high school football recruits in the past two seasons, the roster still has a distinct Lone Star flavor to it.
Since offensive tackle Charles Baldwin and defensive end Josh Ehambe still are listed on the roster, even though they won’t play this coming season and no longer practice with the team, we’ll include them in this regional breakdown of the KU roster.
(Only players who originally came to Kansas on scholarship count. For example, linebacker Keith Loneker spent one year as a redshirt before going on scholarship.)
South Carolina: 1.