Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Column: Three football red shirts stand out


The same question has been asked late in the season of every Kansas University head football coach in recent years:

What players who are red-shirting this season have stood out in practice?

Turner Gill turned his head to the side, paused, smiled and said something to the effect of, “I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”

His response lent credence to my suspicion that he didn’t spend much time thinking about his roster.

Charlie Weis, of course, loved to tackle that question and answered with hyperbolic praise for Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and other transfers he was convinced were a year removed from record-breaking, All-American seasons that would expose their previous coaches as charlatans whose football minds were as empty as their Super Bowl jewelry cases.

Clint Bowen, then the interim head coach and defensive coordinator and now assistant head coach and DC under friend David Beaty, gave an honest answer, and not a very encouraging one. Bowen, like Beaty, enjoys evaluating talent. If he had the names of several deserving players, he would have shared them. Instead, he mentioned three.

Center Jacob Bragg, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound center from Nacogdoches High in Texas, was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2014. He played in the prestigious Under-Armour All-America game.

If Bragg can earn the job at center, Joe Gibson could move to guard, provided he adds strength. Junior Visinia, impressive as a true freshman, should be able to lock down the other guard spot, giving KU a solid trio. At tackle, however, the search continues.

In addition to Bragg, Bowen mentioned tight end Kent Taylor, a Florida transfer with a better reputation as a receiver than blocker. Ranked No. 1 at tight end in the Class of 2012 by, he caught two passes as a true freshman, including one for a five-yard touchdown in a Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville. He did not play in any games as a sophomore and transferred to KU, citing Weis as the reason.

No surprise, Bowen also mentioned defensive tackle D.J. Williams, 6-5, 292, from Lufkin, Texas. Williams drew so many raves during practice that credit goes to the coaching staff for having the discipline to resist activating him midway through his freshman season. Now he has four remaining years of eligibility. Williams drew scholarship offers from Miami (Florida), Missouri and Oklahoma, according to Rivals.

Others who sat out 2014 will emerge during spring football, where more intense evaluations take place.


Dirk Medema 7 years, 11 months ago

We will need DJ to step up in a big way, as well as a couple more players on the DL. It was thin to begin with in 2014, and we lost a chunk of what we did have to graduation as well.

It would be nice if Bragg could step in and live up to his UA AA status. My guess is that the staff is not nearly as sold on the scenario with him, Gibson, and Jr, since we have several OG's, and JC's at that. Never enough meat on the OL.

There are also a couple young TE's, but it would be huge if Kent could replace Mundine. Nigel will need lots of help. It will be interesting to see if one of Avery's other TX classmates steps up to contribute, as well as a Kevin Thomas (HS) and Raeshawn Lee (JC). Like the Hudl highlights of the new RB recruit Kinner. Can he bring a couple from his OL with him?

DL & OT's are still definitely the biggest need.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. Kinner looks like Sims in a lot of ways but has a little better burst of speed. I also watched Willis' senior season Hudl highlight real. He very well may battle Cummings for the top QB spot. Our OL is going to have to be much better for either of them to have big years though.

I like Kent Taylor, but I'm not sure that he's going to get a lot of snaps if he doesn't do the blocking as well. Beaty might by the right guy to show him the light. We will see.

There are a couple of positive things for the O-line. Visinia saw quite a bit of action this past season along with Gibson.

At wide receiver, Nigel is going to need some help for sure. The redshirts along with the newcomers are going to compete for spots on the game day roster. I think we have some guys that can do it. It's going to take a little bit to adjust to a new offense, but this time around I think that we're going to have more consistency because we'll have a dedicated OC and won't worry about guys transferring in that aren't a fit. I think Cummings and Willis are good fits. I'm not sure about Millweard but it would be great to see him play a little more during the spring. Maybe provide the Spring Game for free on all-access(or whatever it's called now).

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 11 months ago

It sounds like Beaty is leaning towards running a variation of the Air Raid offense and if that's the case, KU needs as many WR's as they can get.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 11 months ago

I couldn't figure out what caused the diff in the totals between ESPN & Rivals. Thanks.

That hurts. He was supposed to be good. I have a hard time imagining anyone looking at our roster/games and thinking there wasn't opportunity for multiple WR's in this class and at least a couple more. It will be good to see what more magic Beaty can work to start next year.

Chuck Woodling 7 years, 11 months ago

Is Joe Dineen a red-shirt freshman, and is he still listed as an RB?

Michael Maris 7 years, 11 months ago

No, he was originally targeted to be a red-shirt candidate. But, when the injuries happened to the RB's position. Dineen was asked about switching to the RB's side. So, he did. And, he appeared in games. So, he lost his red-shirting year. Perhaps, he's a candidate for the 2015 season? But, I'm sure that Matt Tait would have a better feel for that scenario.

Michael Maris 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, after he had his short tenure at RB position. Then, they moved him to LB and Crawley was moved to RB position (after Dineen moved to LB position).

kellerman411 7 years, 11 months ago

"Charlie Weis, of course, loved to tackle that question and answered with hyperbolic praise for Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and other transfers he was convinced were a year removed from record-breaking, All-American seasons that would expose their previous coaches as charlatans whose football minds were as empty as their Super Bowl jewelry cases."

Hahaha! Keegan, I was drinking my coffee when I read this!

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 11 months ago

That paragraph should earn Keegan an award somewhere.

Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 7 years, 11 months ago

Schyler Miles did not play this season. I know he was a Weis recruit so I wonder if he will be back next year. He has shown promise.

Michael Maris 7 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps, Tait can make a statement about your posting. Be interesting to hear what Tait has to say.

Michael Maris 7 years, 11 months ago

Well earlier today, Tyler Moore (Galena Park) verbally committed to U. of Minnesota. So, lost out on that kid.

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