Thursday, April 8, 2021

KU football’s 2021 roster features an abundance of sophomores, freshmen

Kansas receiver Steven McBride runs through a drill during a spring practice at the Jayhawks' indoor facility on March 30, 2021.

Kansas receiver Steven McBride runs through a drill during a spring practice at the Jayhawks' indoor facility on March 30, 2021.


Whether it’s Emmett Jones or someone else leading the Kansas football program when the season begins in September, the Jayhawks will be taking a youthful roster into their 2021 schedule.

Even counting the eight players who used the NCAA’s blanket waiver for an extra year of eligibility, KU will have just 20 seniors on a team brimming with sophomores and freshmen.

As the Jayhawks go through spring practices, the underclassmen easily outnumber the veterans, and the disparity will only grow this summer, when the bulk of KU’s 2021 signing class arrives on campus.

The roster is skewing particularly young because the coaching staff, once Les Miles was hired in late 2018, started putting a genuine emphasis on signing high school players — KU didn’t have any junior college transfers in either their 2020 or 2021 classes.

Now the Jayhawks are seeing the results of that shift. They have 24 sophomores on their roster, a whopping 24 redshirt freshmen and once the rest of the freshmen arrive before preseason camp they should have 22 true freshmen, as well (not counting new walk-ons that will be added).

There are some key contributors among KU’s eldest players, such as super-seniors Kwamie Lassiter II, Chris Hughes and Kyron Johnson; seniors Earl Bostick Jr., Caleb Sampson and Malcolm Lee; and juniors Velton Gardner, Kenny Logan Jr., Colin Grunhard and Jacobi Lott.

But it would appear Year 1 of the latest version of the KU football rebuild will again involve a heavy reliance on young players.

In their 0-9 2020 season, the Jayhawks played 27 true freshmen and 11 of them started at least one game — Karon Prunty, Jalon Daniels, Daniel Hishaw Jr., Luke Grimm, Armaj Adams-Reed, Steven McBride and Taiwan Berryhill are sophomores this year; Lawrence Arnold, Bryce Cabeldue, Garrett Jones and Amauri Pesek-Hickson are redshirt freshmen.

Plus, the defense has some other sophomores who could play crucial roles in 2021, including Marcus Harris, Da’Jon Terry, Jereme Robinson, Duece Mayberry and Steven Parker.

Eight true freshmen — Ben Easters, Conrad Hawley, De’Kedrick Sterns, Larson Workman, Jacobee Bryant, OJ Burroughts, Jayson Gilliom and DeVonte Wilson — already are on campus and competing during spring practices, perhaps giving them a better chance to contribute immediately in the fall.

KU football 2021 roster

Super-seniors (8)


WR - Kwamie Lassiter II

OL - Chris Hughes

OL - Malik Clark

OL - Adagio Lopeti


OLB - Kyron Johnson

LB - Nate Betts

S - Ricky Thomas

NT - Sam Burt

Seniors (12)


QB - Miles Kendrick

OL - Earl Bostick Jr.

FB - Ben Miles

QB - Miles Fallin

RB - Gayflor Flomo

OL - Joseph Gilbertson


DL - Caleb Sampson

DE - Malcolm Lee

S - Takulve “TK” Williams

DL - Jelani Arnold

LB - Jay Dineen

OLB - Hayden Hatcher

Juniors (15)


RB - Velton Gardner

QB - Jason Bean (joining KU this summer)

OL - Colin Grunhard

OL - Jacobi Lott

TE - Mason Fairchild

WR - Jamahl Horne

OL - Nick Williams

FB - Spencer Roe

TE - Mac Copeland

RB - Rob Fiorentino

WR - Kevin Terry


S - Kenny Logan Jr.

LB - Gavin Potter

LB - Nick Channel

CB - Kwinton Lassiter

Sophomores (24)


QB - Jalon Daniels

WR - Luke Grimm

RB - Daniel Hishaw Jr.

OL- Armaj Adams-Reed

WR - Steven McBride

WR - Tristan Golightly

QB - Torry Locklin

QB - Jordan Preston

OL - Jack Werner


CB - Karon Prunty

DE - Marcus Harris

DT - Da’Jon Terry

DL - Jereme Robinson

CB - Duece Mayberry

OLB - Steven Parker

LB - Taiwan Berryhill

CB - Valerian Agbaw Jr.

DL - Kenean Caldwell

OLB - Dylan Downing

DL - Jack Stallard


K - Jacob Borcila

K - Tabor Allen

P - Reis Vernon

LS - Luke Hosford

Redshirt freshmen (24)


WR - Lawrence Arnold

OL - Bryce Cabeldue

OL - Garrett Jones

RB - Amauri Pesek-Hickson

TE - Will Huggins

TE - Trevor Kardell

OL - Nicholas Martinez

DL - Caleb Taylor

WR - Malik Johnson

WR - Jordan Medley

WR - Kyler Pearson

OL - Jackson Satterwhite

WR - Jordan Brown

WR - Quentin Skinner

OL - Joe Krause

OL - Danny Robinson

FB - Jared Casey

RB - Jack Codwell

OL - Ronaldo Sigers


LB - Krishawn Brown

CB - Ra’Mello Dotson

OLB - Alonso Person

CB - Johnquai Lewis

S - Donovan Gaines

Freshmen enrolled this spring (8)


QB - Ben Easters

QB - Conrad Hawley

OL - De’Kedrick Sterns

OL - Larson Workman


CB - Jacobee Bryant

S - OJ Burroughs

S - Jayson Gilliom

CB - DeVonte Wilson

Class of 2021 signees who aren’t enrolled yet (14)


RB - Devin Neal

OL - Corey Robinson II

WR - Majik Rector

WR - Kelan Robinson

TE - Mason Brotherton

WR - Tanaka Scott Jr.


CB - Cam’Ron Dabney

DL - Tommy Dunn Jr.

DL - Deldrick “D.J.” Withers

S - James Wright

LB - D’Marion Alexander

LB - Trey Staley

LB - Andrew Simpson

S - Edwin White


Dale Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

I am really excited about the direction this football program is headed. Yes, it will be another 2 or 3 years before we see bowl eligibility but we are moving in the right direction and with a really good foundation.

I just hope the decision is to stick with Emmett Jones through this coming season before making a permanent HC decision. Not only does he deserve that opportunity, to put in a new coach with all the expected changes that brings would be so disruptive at this point it would be almost tatamount to 2020 when we had no opportunity at all to get young players up to speed and to install the new offense. Let's be smart and go with Jones.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Or smarter still and hire a permanent coach. Panic is not a good strategy.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

Not sure what you mean by permanent coach.

But panicking is not the answer. And to me the first thing Goff should really be doing is talking to the players. Of course he probably won't. But, the program is on the verge of turning a corner and is in a fragile position. In his first two years, Miles had added a bunch of young recruits to Beatty's now Junior Class and Redshirt Sophomores. There is some talent in there. And, this team is growing up and Goff needs to keep the family together, let the group grow and finish together, and fill up KU's scholarships. Hiring in a new coach with a new system and scaring off players that feel they don't fit is not the answer. KU needs at least two years of keeping the recruiting classes together. Otherwise, KU will be back to 60 scholarship players, no different from when Weiss was fired. IMO, give Head Coach Emmett Jones a two year contract. Continue recruiting Freshman and not transfers. Give this group a chance to be sucessful. Get KU back up to 80+ scholarship players

Doug Roberts 1 year, 7 months ago

This is a great, young group of talent that needs an experienced head coach and staff to reach its potential.

This is not the time, in my opinion, to give someone a "chance" because it's their turn, or they're a really cool guy. No disrespect to Jones, but KU simply CAN'T screw up again.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

IMO, an experienced head coach with only 60 scholarship players is going to LOSE! Maybe we should take a new and refreshing approach. Maybe we should hire someone that players like and want to play for. And, if that is Emmett Jones, then maybe we should listen for once and give him a chance.

David Robinett 1 year, 7 months ago

I agreed with Dale, and then with Doug. Heart versus Mind.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Panic is not a good strategy.

Hiring a new coach now, massively outside the hiring cycle, simply because the last one left sounds like panic.

Good thing Goff agrees with Brian and has planned to talk with the players and everyone else.

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