Two football difference-makers needed in every freshman class
Kansas football coach David Beaty has recruited three classes, run three spring football sessions and opens his third season on Sept. 2 at Memorial Stadium against Southeast Missouri.
He’s still a year away from fielding a roster with a full complement of scholarship players, but he’s getting closer.
Beaty has said in the past that he likes to recruit a minimum of two difference-makers per year from the high school ranks.
He certainly did so his first year on the job and it didn’t take long for a pair of high school recruits from Houston to establish themselves as difference makers.
Defensive end Dorance Armstrong became the first Kansas football player to earn unanimous All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore the same year that Steven Sims produced Kansas decade highs in receptions (72), receiving yards (859) and touchdown receptions (seven).
Sims and Armstrong both showed terrific potential as freshmen and made big leaps in their sophomore seasons.
Two players from Beaty’s second recruiting class showed difference-maker potential as freshmen and are candidates for big improvements as sophomores.
Safety Mike Lee quickly gained a reputation as a hard hitter during his true freshman season and had the game-clinching interception in KU’s first victory against Texas since 1938. Lee cemented the hard-hitting rep by slamming teammate Ryan Schadler in the spring exhibition.
Lee was named KU defensive player of the week against Iowa State and Oklahoma and he had 12 tackles and a forced fumble to go with the big pick vs. Texas. He started the final eight games of his freshman season and will start every game for the rest of his career, barring injury.
Left tackle Hakeem Adeniji, simply by showing enough smarts and toughness to start all 12 games in his true freshman season despite carrying just 265 pounds. He has grown to 290 pounds and if he continues to refine his technique and carry the weight without slowing down, he has the potential to become a difference-maker.
It’s too early to say call him that yet. Antoine Frazier, another offensive tackle recruited out of high school the same year as Adeniji, is another potential difference-maker. The coaching staff is excited about how well he moves his feet and he already is up to 285 pounds, quite impressive considering he was at 250 a year ago. Running back Khalil Herbert and cornerback Kyle Mayberry also are worth monitoring closely.
It will be interesting to see which true freshmen show the most potential during the upcoming season.
Linebacker Kyron Johnson moved well and hit hard during spring football. Shifty running back Dom Williams has extremely impressive highlights. Big wide receiver/potential tight end Kenyon Tabor plays with a physical edge and has great hands. Speedy Quan Hampton, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound receiver, has big-play potential.