Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sophomore linebacker Kyron Watson leaving KU

Kansas University linebacker Kyron Watson, (6) center, tackles running back  Brandon Bourbon (25) during a team practice Thursday, August 14, 2014. Linebacker coach Clint Bowen is at left.

Kansas University linebacker Kyron Watson, (6) center, tackles running back Brandon Bourbon (25) during a team practice Thursday, August 14, 2014. Linebacker coach Clint Bowen is at left.


Sophomore Kyron Watson revealed on Twitter on Sunday night that he will not return to play for the Kansas University football team in 2016.

“I will not be attending The University of Kansas anymore,” Watson wrote. “I will truly miss it though.”

The reserve linebacker from East St. Louis, Illinois, played in 15 games during his two years in Lawrence, but did not make the kind of impact many expected when he signed with the Jayhawks in February of 2014.

He played in 11 of 12 games as a true freshman on defense and special teams but never seemed to possess the speed and mobility to warrant a heavy workload in the Big 12 and played in just four games during the winless 2015 season.

The 6-foot, 225-pound big hitter earned a four-star rating out of high school from and was a labeled three-star prospect by both and Rivals ranked him as the 22nd best outside linebacker in the nation in the Class of 2014 and he chose KU over offers from California, Cincinnati, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, Syracuse and TCU.

There is no word yet on where Watson will transfer, though it seems likely that he could look for a school closer to his hometown and young daughter.

Watson's departure is the second piece of linebacker news to come out of the KU football program during the past week. Earlier in the week, linebackers coach Kevin Kane officially left KU to become the defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois, where he worked before coming to join David Beaty's staff at his alma mater.

Even with Watson leaving, the KU linebacking corps will return second-leading tackler Joe Dineen and veterans Marquis Roberts and Courtney Arnick in 2016. The coaching staff also has high hopes for Baker transfer and Free State High grad Keith Loneker, who sat out the 2015 season after transferring, and Kendall Duckworth, who played as a walk-on in 2015.


Austin Lopez 6 years, 11 months ago

As much as I love the returning pieces at linebacker I was really looking forward to the improvement of Kyron, I always thought he was the X factor at linebacker, so much talent, will I guess somebody else will tap that potential out of him

Dirk Medema 6 years, 11 months ago

It would be instate for him, so an easy transfer, but maybe even farther away from EStLouis than Lawrence.

{Google says 275 vs. 290 miles}

Michael Maris 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Lindenwood University. LOLLOLLOLLLOLLOLLOL..............

Tom Keegan 6 years, 11 months ago

I would think that would be a strong candidate. I would be surprised if any FBS or FCS schools would show interest. He lacks the size and speed to play D-1 at any level, which is not a knock, just a realistic look at the degree of athletic ability/talent he possesses. I thought that a recent Super Bowl that included so many 2-and-3 star starters would drive home the point that assigning stars to high school football players is akin to playing darts blindfolded. Guess not.

Sean Kelly 6 years, 11 months ago

So Tom,

You believe that all of those schools that offered did so based solely on his ESPN 4 star ranking? Is he not a legitimate 6'0 220? I seem to recall lots of positive news on him coming out of fall camp 2014, do you think he simply lost whatever ability he had over two seasons?

Tom Keegan 6 years, 11 months ago

He's not 6-feet tall but is listed as that. He is 225, but not a lean, muscular 225. Guessing how the body of an age 17/18 athlete changes is just that, a guess. Some fill out with muscles. Others grow out. Not necessarily their fault. When they grow out, they lose speed. Lists of schools that "offer" also is inexact. Some coaches/athletes/others will count a school from which they receive a letter as an "offer." Others only will count it as an offer if in fact it was an offer. He looked like a guy who knew how to play football in the fall camp of 2014. His body changed for the worse and instead of gaining speed, which they had hoped, he lost speed. Many 4-star prospects, even some recruited by winning programs, never improve and are not up to D-1 football. I'll be surprised if he plays D-1 and would feel good for him if he had a good career/education at a school such as Lindenwood. That education/playing career has served David Beaty well.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 11 months ago

Kansas has a gold nugget freshman lined up to come in to play LB. Houston Northshore's QB, Miciah Long, is the real deal when it comes to being a player. I was super impressed with him as he led Northshore to the Texas 6A, Div 1 Championship in NRG Stadium. Long is tough, gritty and plays with tons of heart. I'm not sure how those stars are awarded but there is no doubt Long, MVP in the State Championship game, is the best player on the best HS team in TX (although Katy might argue otherwise).

We went to NRG to watch Katy play in the Div 2 Championship game but stuck mourned to watch Long and Northshore. I left NRG on Cloud Nine.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like Kyron is homesick.

These are the things that make it so difficult to turn a struggling program around. Every program loses a coach, a player, etc., but it hits harder and hurts more when you are already way behind.

Apparently, the weekends of the 22nd and 29th are big visit weekends at KU. Let's hope that some good news comes out.

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