Advertisement

Posts tagged with Daniel Wise

Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise could only have so much fun at KU spring game

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. signs autographs following the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. signs autographs following the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Spring football games are not real football games. And no one understands that better than Kansas defensive stalwarts Dorance Armstrong Jr., and Daniel Wise.

Saturday’s scrimmage at Memorial Stadium was about letting the fans get a peek at the 2017 Jayhawks, not giving away too many secrets or play-calling wrinkles along the way and keeping quarterbacks Carter Stanley and Peyton Bender healthy.

So juniors Armstrong and Wise, two of the program’s most marketable talents, who also happen to be massive defensive linemen, didn’t get to unleash their full array of skills.

The quarterbacks, receivers such as Daylon Charlot and Steven Sims Jr., running backs Taylor Martin and Khalil Herbert, defensive backs such as Mike Lee, Kyle Mayberry, Derrick Neal and Bryce Torneden, and linebackers Joe Dineen and Keith Loneker Jr., got to experience a lively, enjoyable afternoon scrimmage.

It just felt a little different for the big guys who hope to make a living in the NFL by chasing and demolishing QBs.

A 6-foot-4, 246-pound pass-rusher extraordinaire from Houston, Armstrong was credited with four total tackles and one sack. Wise, a 6-3, 290-pound versatile defensive lineman, had two tackles for loss and a sack. Not bad numbers, for sure, but also not true snapshots of how impactful they will be for David Beaty’s third Kansas football team, either.

It must have been difficult for them to exert their typical full game-day effort knowing they would have to pump the brakes if they created themselves a path to a QB, right? Sophomore safety Lee, who spoke with reporters after the open practice, confirmed as much.

“On the sideline, Dorance was really mad,” a grinning Lee reported. “He was like, ‘They keep holdin’ me! I can’t even get a sack!’ He was like, ‘I wish it was a real game, because I’d have a bunch of sacks.’ And D-Wise was just laughin’ at him, like, ‘It’s just the spring game, son.’”

The picture Lee painted gives you an idea of part of what makes Armstrong great: that competitive fire. But neither Armstrong nor Wise could show off at the spring game in the way Lee (six tackles and two crushing hits on receiver Ryan Schadler) or other defenders were able to do.

None by Zaldy Doyungan

None by Benton Smith

“It really was a defensive back game, because it’s the spring game,” Lee said. “They can’t touch the quarterback. The ball was being thrown a lot.”

Obviously the last thing any coach or player wants is to lose a quarterback due to a contact injury during a practice or scrimmage — it was only two years ago that a freak play at KU’s spring game prematurely ended Michael Cummings’ career. You’ve got to have those QBs in red jerseys and safe.

And, when you think about it, that’s probably what makes Saturdays in the fall so rewarding for standout defensive linemen like Armstrong and Wise. After months of not being able to do what you were born to do, you get to release those frustrations on an opposing quarterback.

Here’s an early bet that Armstrong and Wise this fall will improve upon their combined 13 sacks and 30 tackles for loss from 2016.

Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise shoots a selfie of himself and his team after being selected as the fourth-overall pick during a spring game player draft on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise shoots a selfie of himself and his team after being selected as the fourth-overall pick during a spring game player draft on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Anderson Family Football Complex. by Nick Krug

Reply

Top 10 most important members of KU football program in 2016

Kansas head coach David Beaty runs off the field with his first win after beating Rhode Island 55-6 on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty runs off the field with his first win after beating Rhode Island 55-6 on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

According to the most important numbers — the ones corresponding with wins and losses — 2016 didn’t look too remarkable for the University of Kansas football program, as the Jayhawks won two games and lost 10.

Using only those digits, the season seemed similar to the six before it for KU, during which three head coaches and one interim coach led the team. In a seven-year stretch from 2010 to 2016, Kansas never won more than three games in a season, and finished with an average record of 2-10.

So it’s easy to lump the latest campaign with the rest of the ugly falls that preceded it. However, doing so doesn’t take into account the context of watching David Beaty’s second KU football team far outperform his first in terms of competence and competitiveness. The numbers 2 and 10 don’t factor in the many talented players who improved this past season, positively impacting the product on the field and giving the fan base some signs of real progress

Here is a look at the 10 Jayhawks who made the biggest impact for KU football in 2016 — a year that could end up marking a turning point for a long-struggling program.

No. 10: Running backs coach Tony Hull

Kansas running backs coach Tony Hull encourages his players as they warm up during practice on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Kansas running backs coach Tony Hull encourages his players as they warm up during practice on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. by Nick Krug

For all the work assistant coach Hull put in during practices and with game preparation for the team’s running backs, he also quickly established himself as an important individual in KU’s recruiting strategy during his first year with the program.

A former high school coach in New Orleans, Hull’s ties to the region already have helped Kansas bring in talents such as safety Mike Lee, who became a key defensive starter, and quarterback Tyriek Starks, who took a redshirt season. Hull also served as lead recruiter on Class of 2017 commitments Takulve Williams (two-star receiver) and Travis Jordan (three-star athlete). Plus, his presence has helped the Jayhawks earn consideration from still available touted prospects, such as Brad Stewart, a four-star defensive back.

With Hull in place, Kansas seems in position to target quality recruits in a part of the country where it otherwise might not have been able to get involved.

No. 9: Offensive tackle D’Andre Banks

D'Andre Banks

D'Andre Banks by John Young

During his senior season at Kansas, the 6-foot-3, 305-pound offensive lineman played anywhere position coach Zach Yenser needed him. Banks began the year playing left tackle, because Jordan Shelley-Smith was injured and true freshman Hakeem Adeniji wasn’t ready yet. The Killeen, Texas, native even started a game at right guard at Memphis, as KU continued to tweak its O-line combinations.

The final eight games of the year, Banks returned to his rightful spot at right tackle, and down the stretch KU’s O-line became more effective, with the help of the senior leader.

No. 8: Quarterback Carter Stanley

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) heaves a pass around Baylor linebacker Raaquan Davis (19) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) heaves a pass around Baylor linebacker Raaquan Davis (19) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

True, the redshirt freshman quarterback only started three games for Kansas this past season, but Stanley’s presence on the field coincided with by far the best stretch of 2016 for the Jayhawks.

Stanley, of course, controlled the offense during the team’s overtime victory over Texas — KU’s lone Big 12 victory. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound QB actually had better individual numbers in KU losses against Iowa State (26-for-38, 171 yards, TD, interception) and at Kansas State (24-for-44, 302 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions).

With Stanley at QB, KU consistently competed, and that couldn’t be said for other stretches of the season.

No. 7: Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen

Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen celebrates with linebacker Courtney Arnick after a defensive stop  during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen celebrates with linebacker Courtney Arnick after a defensive stop during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

In 2015, the Kansas defense routinely blew tackles and coverages, contributing mightily to a woeful 0-12 campaign. A year later, Bowen and his assistants turned the Jayhawks’ defense into a strength.

In Big 12 play this past year, KU ranked first in the conference in third-down conversion defense (37.4 percent), second in pass defense (248.0 yards allowed a game), third in red-zone defense (78 percent), and fifth in interceptions (eight), sacks (22) and opponent first downs (24.2 a game).

The work Bowen, linebackers coach Todd Bradford, cornerbacks coach Kenny Perry and D-line coach Michael Slater did with their players set the tone for a season highlighted by headway.

No. 6: Safety Mike Lee

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) intercepts a pass during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) intercepts a pass during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

When the true freshman safety graduated early from high school and arrived on campus ready to play a year ahead of schedule, no one expected Lee to transform so quickly into a play-maker.

The 5-foot-11, 176-pound defensive back from New Orleans came off the bench in his first three appearances for Kansas and did not play at all in Week 2. But Lee’s hard hits became one of the consistent bright spots for Kansas, beginning with the team’s Big 12 opener at Texas Tech.

From that point on, while at times learning on the fly, the first-year safety started the final eight games. Lee, whose overtime interception versus Texas will be remembered for a long time at Memorial Stadium, finished second on the team in total tackles (77), while tying KU’s leader in that category, senior safety Fish Smithson, for the most solo tackles (70).

No. 5: Wide receiver Steven Sims Jr.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) puts a juke move on Texas cornerback Kris Boyd (2) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) puts a juke move on Texas cornerback Kris Boyd (2) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

The Kansas offense often didn’t look pretty this past year, but when it peaked Sims often played a prominent role. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound wide receiver became someone opposing defensive coordinators had to game-plan to stop.

Sims’ breakout sophomore season included four games of 100-plus yards, as he led KU in receptions (72), yardage (859) and touchdowns (seven). His confidence and maturity showed on the field and off, as he worked to become an impact player as an underclassman while operating in a system that used three different starting quarterbacks and ranked eighth in passing (231.9 yards per game) and last in scoring (17.8 points a game) in Big 12 play.

No. 4: Head coach David Beaty

Kansas head coach David Beaty gives a pat to Kansas cornerback Marnez Ogletree (10) as the defense leaves the field following a Memphis touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.

Kansas head coach David Beaty gives a pat to Kansas cornerback Marnez Ogletree (10) as the defense leaves the field following a Memphis touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. by Nick Krug

The head coach’s first season doubling as offensive coordinator might not have gone as well as he wanted, but ultimately the notable overall progress within the program happened under his watch, and Beaty deserves credit for the strides made by the players and in recruiting.

Beaty’s undying positivity trickles down throughout the team, and that showed during the final month of the season. Although the Jayhawks struggled much of the year, they finally began playing at a higher level in the final weeks, when players under a lesser leader could have mentally and physically checked out.

Day after day, Beaty found ways to win over players and prospects, building momentum for a 2017 with increased expectations.

No. 3: Safety Fish Smithson

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon (25) works to make a catch as Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct.29, 2016.

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon (25) works to make a catch as Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct.29, 2016. by Alonzo Adams/The Associated Press

Speaking of positivity, you won’t meet many more upbeat players than Smithson, a defensive captain and outgoing senior. Week after week for the past couple of seasons, the safety had to answer media questions about KU’s shortcomings, and never did he let it impact him negatively.

Smithson’s personality helped his production on the field, too. Even when he made a mistake on one snap, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound safety would come back the next ready to demand more of himself.

As he walks away from the program, the Jayhawks will not only miss his 93 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and seven pass breakups, but also his leadership and ability to get his teammates in the right spots.

No. 2: Defensive tackle Daniel Wise

Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96) looks to bring down Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson (32) during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96) looks to bring down Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson (32) during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

When the Kansas defense needed a stop, the man breaking through with a crucial push at the point of attack tended to be Wise, the powerful, 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive tackle form Lewisville, Texas.

The talkative sophomore had the sills to back up any in-game (or pre-game) chatter he sent in the direction of the opposition, thanks to an offseason filled with work toward vastly improving his strength and technique. Playing a position where it can be difficult to accumulate much statistical proof of one’s worth, Wise finished seventh on the team in total tackles, with 38, while making 10 tackles for loss and three sacks, and even blocking two extra points.

Wise’s presence made it easier for his teammates around him to do their jobs, too, as offenses game-planned to limit how the tackle could impact the line of scrimmage.

No. 1: Defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) puts Texas running back D'Onta Foreman (33) on the ground after recovering a fumble during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) puts Texas running back D'Onta Foreman (33) on the ground after recovering a fumble during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

In his sophomore season at KU, Armstrong transformed into one of the most feared defensive ends around, easily making him a consensus All-Big 12 first-teamer.

Fittingly, the 6-foot-4, 246-pound lineman from Houston’s most complete performance came in the Jayhawks’ victory over Texas — the program’s beacon of better things to come. Armstrong not only made 11 total tackles, but aded two sacks, three tackles for loss, while both forcing and recovering a fumble.

Armstrong’s 20 tackles for loss on the season made him the Big 12’s leader in that category, and he finished second in sacks (10) to Kansas State senior — and fellow all-league D-lineman — Jordan Willis (11.5).

If Kansas, under Beaty, can start climbing out of the ditch it has lived in since Mark Mangino left, Armstrong is the type of star player the coach needs to make it happen.

Reply 5 comments from Bob Bailey Dirk Medema Jim Stauffer John Brazelton

Examining where Jayhawks ranked among Big 12 football leaders

Now that the 2016 Big 12 football season is complete, all the numbers have been totaled and averaged and sorted nicely for consumption, and postseason honors are starting to get handed out.

So it’s a good time to review the league’s individual statistical leaders and see where Kansas football players landed among their peers.

As one might guess, the Jayhawks, who used three different starting quarterbacks, didn’t show up with this year’s passing leaders.

Perhaps head coach David Beaty will find a QB he can count on throughout 2017.

Still, KU had plenty of individuals stand out over the past few months, despite a 2-10 overall record and 1-8 mark in the Big 12.

What follows is a review of the categories in which Jayhawks ranked among the conference’s best, with a look at the numbers produced by the league-leader for context.

How did the Jayhawks stack up? Some of them finished higher than you might have guessed.

Rushing

Kansas running back Ke'aun Kinner (22) tries to cut around the Kansas State defense during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Kansas running back Ke'aun Kinner (22) tries to cut around the Kansas State defense during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: D’Onta Foreman, Texas, 193.3 yards a game

- Ranked Jayhawk: 10th — Ke’aun Kinner, 61.5 yards a game

The senior running back often shared rushing duties with teammates, but Kinner averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns for Kansas in 2016. He looked even stronger late in the season, when he produced a season-best 152 yards on the ground against Iowa State.

Receptions

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) tears down the field as he is trailed by the TCU defense after a catch during the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) tears down the field as he is trailed by the TCU defense after a catch during the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: KD Cannon, Baylor, 6.6 a game

- Ranked Jayhawks: 4th — Steven Sims Jr., 6.0 catches a game; 9th — LaQuvionte Gonzalez, 5.2

Sims emerged as the top target for Kansas quarterbacks this season, but Gonzalez was as solid a second option as the offense could hope for during another rebuilding season.

Sims scored seven touchdowns, with a long of 74 yards. And while a No. 4 ranking in this category is impressive, Sims fared even better within the conference. Looking only at league games, Sims led the Big 12 with 6.8 catches an outing. Even OU star Dede Westbrook only caught 6.3 a week against league foes.

On the season, Gonzalez tied for 9th with Oklahoma State’s James Washington (5.2 catches). Gonzalez reached the end zone three times as a junior, including a 95-yard score in the finale at K-State, thanks to a deep ball from redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Stanley.

Receiving Yards

- Big 12 leader: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 122.1 yards a game

- Ranked Jayhawk: 9th — Sims, 71.6 yards a game

During his breakout year, Sims, a 5-foot-10 receiver, hauled in 72 catches, averaging 11.9 yards a reception.

Total Tackles

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon (25) is tackled by Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct.29, 2016.

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon (25) is tackled by Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct.29, 2016. by Alonzo Adams/The Associated Press

- Big 12 leader: LB Travin Howard, TCU, 10.4 a game

- Ranked Jayhawks: 6th — S Fish Smithson, 7.8; 13th — S Mike Lee, 6.9; 30th — LB Courtney Arnick, 5.5; 47th — DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., 4.7; 47th — S Tevin Shaw, 4.7

As he did in 2015, Smithson led Kansas in tackles. The senior safety made 93 total stops. As the season progressed, Smithson's young apprentice in the secondary, true freshman Lee, developed into a presence, as well. After graduating high school early to join Kansas this season, Lee made 69 solo tackles (76 total) in 11 appearances and eight starts.

With Kansas missing key linebackers Joe Dineen Jr. and Marcquis Roberts, senior ’backer Arnick contributed 66 total tackles for the defense.

Both Armstrong, on the D-line, and Shaw, in the secondary, made 40 solo tackles apiece and 56 total.

Sacks

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) celebrates after a tackle for a loss during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) celebrates after a tackle for a loss during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State, 0.96 a game (11.5 total)

- Ranked Jayhawks: 2nd — DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., 0.83 (10.0 total); 16th — LB Cameron Rosser, 0.33 (4.0)

With 10 quarterback takedowns behind the line of scrimmage, Armstrong produced all one-man sack attacks, without an assist, during his outstanding sophomore campaign.

Rosser, a senior who played a hybrid linebacker/end position, made all four of his sacks during a two-week span in the first couple of Big 12 games. Rosser made one at Texas Tech and three versus TCU.

Tackles For Loss

- Big 12 leader: DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas, 1.67 a game

- Another Ranked Jayhawk: 15th — Daniel Wise, 0.82 a game

Simply put, Armstrong was the Big 12’s best at creating chaos in the backfield. With 20 solo tackles for loss as a sophomore, Armstrong beat K-State’s Willis in this category by 3.5.

Although Wise didn’t have the numbers to match Armstrong, the defensive tackle had as much to do with the Jayhawks’ success on the defensive line as anyone. Wise made 9.0 stops behind the line, all solos, when he wasn’t disrupting offenses in other ways.

Passes Defended

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon (25) works to make a catch as Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct.29, 2016.

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon (25) works to make a catch as Kansas safety Fish Smithson (9) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Oct.29, 2016. by Alonzo Adams/The Associated Press

- Big 12 leader: D.J. Reed, Kansas State, 1.5 per game

- Ranked Jayhawks: 6th — Fish Smithson, 0.92 a game; 17th — Marnez Ogletree, 0.67

Not only did Smithson finish plays with tackles, the senior safety found his way to the ball when quarterbacks passed in his direction. While captaining the KU defense, Smithson broke up seven throws and came away with interceptions on four other occasions.

At corner, Ogletree, another senior, didn’t pick off any passes, but he broke up eight while defending the Big 12’s many talented receivers.

Interceptions

- Big 12 leader: Rasul Douglas, West Virginia, 0.67 a game (eight total)

- Ranked Jayhawks: 4th — Fish Smithson, 0.33 a game (four total); 10th — Brandon Stewart, 0.25 (three)

Averaging a pick every three games in 2016, Smithson took away four as a senior. But he actually vastly improved his average in November, with an interception apiece against Iowa State and Texas.

Stewart wasn’t far behind Smithson with three passing takeaways of his own during his senior season. Few of KU’s 10 picks on the year were as critical as Stewart’s 55-yard INT return for a touchdown during the Jayhawks’ upset victory over Texas.

Fumbles forced

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) puts Texas running back D'Onta Foreman (33) on the ground after recovering a fumble during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2) puts Texas running back D'Onta Foreman (33) on the ground after recovering a fumble during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: Five-way tie, three

Armstrong’s three forced fumbles on the season tied him with K-State’s Willis and Reggie Walker, Baylor’s Patrick Levels and Texas Tech’s Jah’Shawn Johnson for the top spot in the category.

- Another Ranked Jayhawk: 10th — Smithson, two

The other most active defender on the KU roster, Smithson knocked the ball out of an opponent’s grasp twice this season.

Fumbles Recovered

- Big 12 leader: Patrick Levels, Baylor, four

- Ranked Jayhawks: 5th — Dorance Armstrong Jr., and Damani Mosby, two

Twice this season, Armstrong, the Jayhawks’ most disruptive defender, found his way to a loose ball to recover it for Kansas. So did the man lining up on the other edge of the D-line, senior end Mosby.

Scoring (Kickers)

Nearly all of the fans are on their feet for Kansas place kicker Matthew Wyman's game-winning field goal during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Nearly all of the fans are on their feet for Kansas place kicker Matthew Wyman's game-winning field goal during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State, 9.1 points a game

- Ranked Jayhawk: 9th — Matthew Wyman, 5.4 points a game

West Virginia’s Mike Molina and Texas kicker Trent Dominigue both missed seven field goals on the season — more than Wyman’s six — but, like most of the conference’s kickers, benefited from their teams reaching the end zone for far more extra-point opportunities than Kansas. Five of the league’s kickers, including top scorer Ben Grogan of Oklahoma State (55-for-56), got to kick at least 49 PATs. Wyman only had a crack at 26 kicks following a TD.

Kick Return Average

Kansas wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1) runs back a kickoff for a touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1) runs back a kickoff for a touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: Byron Pringle, Kansas State, 28.7 yards per return

- Ranked Jayhawk: 7th — Laquvionte Gonzalez, 21.5 per return

Gonzalez proved a better kick returner than punt returner for Kansas. On 28 occasions during his junior season, the speedy receiver fielded a kickoff and decided to go and attempt to make something happen. Gonzalez totaled 601 return yards, and housed a 99-yarder against Ohio in Week 2.

All-Purpose Yardage

- Big 12 leader: Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, 195.5 yards per game

- Ranked Jayhawk: 7th — Laquvionte Gonzalez, 109.2 yards per game

With his kick return yardage added to his 729 receiving yards, Gonzalez’s numbers ranked among the Big 12’s best, even though he finished the season with negative totals in punt returns (-10) and rushing (-9).

Punting

Kansas' Cole Moos (36) punts from the Jayhawks' end zone late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Kansas' Cole Moos (36) punts from the Jayhawks' end zone late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: Michael Dickson, Texas, 47.4 yards per punt

- Ranked Jayhawk: 4th — Cole Moos, 41.4 yards per punt

For KU junior punter Moos, 14 of his kicks traveled 50-plus yards, including the longest in the Big 12 this season, an 82-yarder at Baylor.

Field Goals

Kansas place kicker Matthew Wyman (7) and holder Cole Moos (36) go wild after Wyman's game-winning field goal in overtime against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas place kicker Matthew Wyman (7) and holder Cole Moos (36) go wild after Wyman's game-winning field goal in overtime against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

- Big 12 leader: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State, 1.5 field goals per game

- Ranked Jayhawk: 6th — Matthew Wyman, 1.08 per game

Wyman tied for 6th with Texas Tech’s Clayton Hatfield in field goals per outing. The Kansas senior made a season-high three versus Texas at Memorial Stadium, including the game-winner in overtime.

Field Goal Percentage

- Big 12 leader: Cole Netten, Iowa State, 94.1%

- Ranked Jayhawk: 6th — Matthew Wyman, 68.4%

Beaty sent Wyman out for 19 field-goal tries this year, and his kicker nailed 13 of them, including a season-best 50-yarder versus TCU.

PAT Kicking Percentage

- Big 12 leaders: Mike Molina, West Virginia; and Matthew Wyman, Kansas, 100%

When Kansas reached the end zone and called upon Wyman’s services, the trusted kicker never missed. Wyman went 26-for-26 on PAT’s.

Reply 2 comments from Marcus  Balzer Brett McCabe

David Beaty enters offseason optimistic about KU’s player development

Kansas head coach David Beaty looks up at the scoreboard during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty looks up at the scoreboard during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. by Nick Krug

David Beaty’s first fall as Kansas football coach went pretty miserably. Twelve games. Twelve losses. Minimal hope for the future for a frustrated fan base.

Only someone as positive as Beaty could come away from the 2015 campaign feeling optimistic, and, of course, he did.

So it came as no surprise this past weekend, upon the conclusion of Year 2 for Beaty, the man running the program sounded even more fired up entering the offseason. Asked to assess his second year compared to his first, Beaty didn’t reference the Jayhawks’ 2-10 overall record or 1-8 mark in the Big 12.

“One of the best things that we’ve done is I think we’ve developed the guys that we have in our program,” Beaty offered. “There’s two ways I think you get better: you recruit and you develop the one’s you’ve got. ’Cause you’re not gonna get any more — they’re not gonna give you any more. You have what you’ve got and then you get to go get 25 (in recruiting), is what you get to get.”

The progress Beaty alluded to showed up in 2016 thanks to freshmen and sophomores making significant on-field contributions.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) is brought down by Baylor safety Davion Hall (2) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) is brought down by Baylor safety Davion Hall (2) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

A year ago, receiver Steven Sims Jr. caught 30 balls for 349 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. His production leapt to 72 receptions, 859 yards and seven touchdowns — all team-highs — as a sophomore.

A true freshman who graduated a year early to join KU football ahead of schedule, safety Mike Lee tied senior safety Fish Smithson for the team lead with 70 solo tackles. Lee’s 77 total tackles trailed only Smithson (93) and he didn’t become a starter until October.

Defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., while expected to play a key role for Clint Bowen’s defense, turned into one of the Big 12’s most disruptive forces. Armstrong likely will finish the year as the league’s top tackler for loss. His 20 stops behind the line of scrimmage lead Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis’ 15 — though the Wildcats’ end still has a Saturday date at TCU to try and catch up. Plus, Armstrong finished his second season with 10.0 sacks, currently second in the Big 12 to Willis’ 10.5.

Mostly playing as a replacement starter for Marcquis Roberts, who missed five games, sophomore linebacker Keith Loneker Jr., in his first season of FBS football, finished sixth among KU defenders in tackles, with 43, while also breaking up four passes.

Second-year defensive tackle Daniel Wise, who looked the part of a future impact interior lineman as a freshman, fulfilled that promise. Wise came through with 10 tackles for loss and 38 total stops playing a spot where it’s difficult to produce many statistics.

Redshirt freshman Carter Stanley took over starting quarterback duties with three games left and Kansas experienced the best stretch of its season to close it. In his three starts, Stanley completed 71 of 124 passes (57.3 percent) for 693 yards, with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Freshman defensive end Isaiah Bean, in limited playing time, finished with 3.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.

“And the thing that I’m very proud of our strength staff, our coaches, is they develop those guys,” Beaty said of the program’s youngest talents. “They’re a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, a little bit faster. … They’re all very young, which they’re gettin' something we can’t give ’em, which is experience. Unfortunately sometimes it comes with growin’ pains when you’ve got a bunch of ’em out there at once. Maybe sometimes not so much when you’ve got one or two of ’em, but if you’ve got a bunch of ’em out there, there’s some growin' pains that come along with that.”

The hope for Kansas is less of those aches will show up in 2017, with Armstrong, Sims, Lee, Wise, Stanley and Loneker returning, with running backs Khalil Herbert and Taylor Martin, and offensive linemen Hakeem Adeniji, Mesa Ribordy and Larry Hughes among the promising underclassmen.

Plus, upperclassmen such as receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez, O-lineman Jayson Rhodes, defensive tackle DeeIsaac Davis, linebacker Joe Dineen, cornerback Derrick Neal and safety Tyrone Miller Jr. will continue to play big parts in the Jayhawks' plans.

“But, man, I think the thing that I’m most impressed with is the way that we’re developing ’em,” Beaty said. “I think if we can continue to do that we’ll have a chance to be a very competitive ball club here in the future.”

Reply 8 comments from Stupidmichael Perses Michael Maris Texashawk10_2 Brett McCabe Benton Smith Dirk Medema Jayhawkninja