Monday, April 18, 2022

Kansas safety Johnquai Lewis is 8th football player to transfer in 5 days

Redshirt freshman safety Johnquai Lewis intercepts the ball in the Kansas Football Spring Game. The White team defeated the Blue 74-42 Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Redshirt freshman safety Johnquai Lewis intercepts the ball in the Kansas Football Spring Game. The White team defeated the Blue 74-42 Saturday, May 1, 2021.


Free safety Johnquai Lewis became the most recent Kansas football player to decide to leave the university on Monday morning when he wrote on his Twitter account that he has entered the transfer portal.

Lewis, who will be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, played in one game for the Jayhawks last season and two in 2020, his first. He noted in a highlight reel that he included with his announcement that he had three interceptions, the most of any defensive back, during the Jayhawks' spring practice session.

A three-star recruit out of Champagnat Catholic School in suburban Miami, he had scholarship offers from Michigan, Louisville, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Indiana, among others, according to 247Sports.

Lewis is the eighth player to decide to leave Kansas since the spring game was held on April 9, though none of them were expected to play a significant role next season. Coach Lance Leipold said after the spring game that he and his assistants would meet with players to offer evaluations and provide feedback over the following weeks.

Players have until May 1 to enter the transfer portal in order to be eligible to play next season.

Among the others who will leave the Jayhawks are cornerback Duece Mayberry, who played in all 12 games last season and started four, and wide receiver Tristan Golightly, who played in 10 games and started one. Both will be juniors in the fall.

Running back Gayflor Flomo, who sat out of spring practice with an unspecified injury and will be a fifth-year senior in the fall, shared his intention to transfer on Friday. So, too, did wide receiver Kyler Pearson, who played in 11 games over two seasons and will be a redshirt sophomore.

Tight end Mason Brotherton and offensive linemen Corey Robinson II and Larson Workman, all of whom redshirted as freshmen last season, will also transfer.


Alex Berger 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This is either a sign that things are going right in implementing a new culture, or very wrong. I'm cheering for the Leipold era, but all these transfers plus not very many recruits seems like we're headed back down the player deficit road. Time will tell.

Dale Rogers 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Although there is no way for me to know for sure, I'd bet the evaluations told them they won't see significant playing time, for whatever reasons, and they decided to move on in hopes of finding more PT. It is noted none of those leaving were expected to play much next season. This is not at all unexpected and I see it as upgrading.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Alex - “not very many recruits” is the result of both getting an exceedingly late start on HS recruiting and filling many spots with transfers. Our transfer class was considered among the best in the nation.

The roster deficit was a result of losing 50% or more a class by CW. The roster situation has been moving in the right direction since then. Even when DB recruited JCs, most of them were on the team and most played for 3 or more years.

Remember, we’re just now getting to the 1 year anniversary for the staff. They still haven’t been through a complete cycle.

While it hurts to lose players, at the end of the day you still need to have a team full of players that are fully committed to doing whatever is needed to win, and then some. If they’re not fully committed, then we’re better off without them. There was a lot of improvement even during the season last year so I’m still excited to see what the staff can do following a full offseason.

Alex Berger 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Dirk, that's a fair point, but Texas Tech currently has 15 recruits for next year (and KU has 0) and they just hired a coach ~6 months ago. Also getting transfers are going to help immediately but most of the players being pulled in have 2-3 years of eligibility left. I'm not saying the staff isn't strategically making these decisions, especially in light of the new transfer world we live in. And I'm not saying the culture change won't outweigh the player kids. But currently our roster position seems vulnerable. Perhaps other programs are seeing the same transfer portal movement and KU brings in more players the next few months from that though.

Andy Godwin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Unlike a basketball team where a coach can rebuild his program overnight by recruiting 2 to 5 good players from the transfer portal, football requires many more capable bodies due to the size of the team and the frequency of injuries in a violent contact sport. The past practice of giving a kid out of high school a scholarship and allowing them to grow both mentally and physically over 2 to 3 years is gone. Historically when a football team was full of redshirt juniors and senior, they were the most competitive. How is the transfer portal any better than going the junior college route which past KU coaches failed to build a sustainable program? For some top program they can cherry pick players to fill holes, but for KU, the portal continues to create challenges to develop and retain their best players and find some talent willing to come to a program that is constantly rebuilding. College athletics as we know it is gone. The most recent information suggests that this year, there are already “more than 3,600 FBS players in the portal”. Many because they were being recruited to better programs, others because they did not feel special at their current schools, and others because they were run off. I hope someone is tracking how many kids eventually graduate and how many never found another school to continue their education. The fact is more and more kids never get out of the portal and loss their scholarship. I like Leipold and his staff, but the transfer portal might be the worst ruling for a coach trying to rebuild a football program from the ground up. "I think it's dangerous to live in the portal world”, said Ryan Day head coach of Ohio State. “I don't think it's sustainable for the chemistry and culture of your team to be doing that”. Time will tell.

Dave Roberts 3 months, 3 weeks ago

We see 8 players leaving due to the evaluations, but no players incoming, yet. Give 'em a chance, folks. They'll recruit replacements soon enough. Then everyone will be cheering about how wise the staff is to recruit all these great new players. Incidentally, all the evaluations told the players; how they did last year, what they need to improve on over the next year, and where they stand currently on the depth chart. No players were asked or told to leave.

And remember, we went 2-10 last season. We need to improve the quality of our team!

Mike Mainzer 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The transfer portal is such a two sided coin. It's great for a player to not be locked into a scholarship and lose eligibility if they'll never see the field or court. We definitely benefitted with Remy coming to KU through the portal but that's as a destination program. Hopefully Liepold can pick up some "free agents" in the portal that fit his coaching style and culture. I'm optimistic - he wouldn't have had former Buffalo players transfer to KU if he didn't create an environment to succeed.

Matthew Roesner 3 months, 3 weeks ago

As you evaluate next season and the state of the team, read KU has the most returning starters out of any of the Big 12 teams. While many of the others are a production line with the next in training/development, this at least indicates an experience level that is being supplemented with a top-rated transfer class. Liepold is trying to do this right, with his type and quality of players. Having numbers doesn't mean you have the right personnel. Keeping my trust in an excellent coach and a proven history of building programs.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Alex - Though it seems obvious, there’s a little bit of difference between TTU and KU, both in geography and culture. Also, part of the current recruiting class were the transfers last summer that have already played a season at KU. It’s part of what makes tracking recruiting so much crazier. Gone are the days of a recruiting class being neatly packaged in February.

Andy - Everyone needs the portal to fill holes. 2 years ago we didn’t get a LT even though we were losing a 4 year starter to the nfl and it decimated the OL. Conversely, the year before we got another WR that was a game changer, though it helped to have a QB who consistently delivered the ball and stayed healthy.

I think it was Coach Leipold that commented on the majority of portal players never get another scholarship. There’s all sorts of tracking being done, but that can’t force a player to listen to the coach and work through what’s in front of them.

After listening to Coach Peterson, I think there are some insights into Lewis and Mayberry. Lewis “flashed”, as he self-noted in his “team leading int” stat, but Coach emphasized consistency. It would appear that maybe the consistency was lacking and under appreciated by Johnquai.

For CBs, Coach commented on cycling through 6. That’s a lot. Mayberry was fairly highly recruited, so maybe he didn’t appreciate sharing time, and being recruited over via the portal; Gervin. He likely would have seen significant PT again, but maybe not as much as desired. It would also seem noteworthy that his brother transferred and did get picked up last year. Maybe there’s some family recruiting.

Dane Griffith 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I haven't seen Lance and Co make many missteps so far so it is my opinion if this group of 8 are transferring out, it is probably for opportunities to play more elsewhere. Also, I'm not sure many if any of the kids that have left are actual recruits of the current coaching staff and/or high impact players. Everything I hear and see is positive and I imagine there will be some additions to this class through late signees and/or portal additions. One thing is clear, it's Liepold's show and he looks for a specific type of player and doesn't sign players just to have another body around. Depth is important but when you are digging out of the hole this program created over 12 years, it takes some time to do it correctly - I'm looking forward to see what this team can accomplish this year. I estimate 2-4 wins but also playing more competitively will be a sign how the program's progressing. The fight this team displayed in the last 3 games last year and against OU while being well undermanned w injuries etc. gives us a glimpse of the future and I believe it will be good -- Rock Chalk

Mike Barnhart 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Before the portal, college football teams carried 20-30 guys on scholarship that were locks to never see the field. These guys were just scholarship fillers. No-Star to 2-star “fliers” and 3-star washouts. Unfortunately, you couldn’t get rid of them. In those days, Alabama’s bench-warmers certainly could have helped Iowa, Iowa’s could have helped KU and KU’s could have helped Emporia. Now they can move where they’re needed.

Dale Rogers 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Keep in mind we, last season, had the youngest team in Division 1, out of 130 teams. The coaches see a need to blend in some more experience, more maturity, more leadership. That, along with quality play and personal fit are what they are looking for. Thus, more heavy on the portal and less on high school recruits. As our team gels and gains those other qualities I expect we'll see more movement towards high school recruits. Remember, these coaches clearly have their fingers on the pulse of the team and are looking to strengthen the team through all available means. Note, also, the transfers all have at least two years' eligibility remaining. Some have more. When those transfers leave in the future, our young guys have gained the experience, the maturity, to take their place. I am pleased with the approach our coaches are taking.

Dirk Medema 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Just noticed that TTU has the biggest recruiting class in all of college football, by far. The next biggest class is 10. Most schools only have 2 or fewer recruit, and even Bama only has 3 recruits. Recruiting the ‘23 class is only beginning and we’re a lot closer to normal than the TTU outlier. That’s not to say that having recruits committed now is bad; just that not having any isn’t bad. It’s fairly normal.

It would also be reasonable for recruits to have more of a wait and see approach to KU. Most have no recollection of anything even remotely resembling a winning team at KU; even local kids. There were positives happening at the end of last year (against the bottom of the league), but that needs to carry over and grow to start the season for new recruits to have confidence. The first 4 games will be crucial.

Rodney Crain 3 months, 3 weeks ago

It is hard to know if they do not see a path to play, or they do not want to be part of a rebuild that could take 2 or 3 more years.

Coach L is experienced and given the time will raise our program to a respectful level.

Trust in Leipold.

Glen Miller 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Remember, Texas Tech now has coach Jones recruiting there and we all saw first hand his recruiting prowess........ However, Tech typically recruits decently and doesn't really do a whole lot with it. I will wait to see what our staff can do with recruiting and development before I get too worked up about all these losses. Coach talks about culture a lot and I would venture to guess many of these guys leaving aren't bought in to that, because let's be honest. Athletes today are mostly about ME ME ME. A majority of the guys we're losing came while Miles was here and I don't think his culture had a lot to do with accountability and work ethic as much as number of stars and projections.

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