Jason Bean named KU football's starting QB for opener vs. South Dakota

during the first quarter on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)

during the first quarter on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)

Friday, September 3, 2021

Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold and his staff didn’t need to spend the final hours leading up to the Jayhawks’ season opener further contemplating who would be the No. 1 quarterback. KU announced Friday afternoon, roughly six hours before kickoff, that junior Jason Bean would start in his debut with the program.

Bean emerged from a QB competition that lasted throughout preseason camp and remained unresolved entering KU’s game week preparation for South Dakota. The 6-foot-3, 189-pound junior, who started previously at North Texas, beat out KU’s two returning starting QBs from 2020, senior Miles Kendrick and sophomore Jalon Daniels.

Before the competition completed, Bean recently shared his perspective on what he showed during August practices that could help him win the job.

“I think obviously my legs, being able to get out of the pocket and run, and some of the run game stuff. I think that’s been the main thing,” Bean said. “But also just being able to throw the ball just as well, too.”

Bean gave UNT a rushing element as a QB last year, averaging 6.2 yards per carry and running for five touchdowns. He started in seven of North Texas’ 10 games as a redshirt sophomore before deciding to move on from the Conference USA program.

The QB from Mansfield, Texas, said during his most recent interview session in mid-August that he was hopeful the Jayhawks would have a clear No. 1 QB entering the season.

Leipold said during his weekly press conference on Monday he felt satisfied with how the competition was working itself out.

“I really tried to come in with clearly an open mind of what to expect. I’ve kind of gone through these before,” Leipold said. “There’s so much to look at, that we talk about as a staff.”

The newest QB on the roster — Bean joined the program early this summer — credited Kendrick and Daniels for helping him elevate his play during the preseason.

“Us being three guys in the battle, I think it’s creating more competition and is making it more exciting,” Bean said. “Knowing you’ve got to be on your toes all the time, staying on top of your game, studying the playbook a little extra more. I think it’s great having more competition. Those guys, they’re really good competition.”

Familiar with QB battles before he arrived in Lawrence, Bean was involved with a competition at North Texas throughout much of what would be his final season with that program. He finished 2020 with a 54.5% completion percentage, and threw for 1,131 yards and 14 touchdowns in eight appearances. Bean went 79-for-145 through the air, with five interceptions.

This past December with the Mean Green, Bean turned in two of the better statistical games of his career. He went 17-for-30 passing in a loss to Louisiana Tech, throwing for 231 yards, with three TDs and one interception. In his final game in a UNT uniform, Bean finished 21-for-36 through the air, for 251 yards, two TDs and an interception in a bowl loss to Appalachian State.