No shortage of bodies at O-line for Kansas in 2018
More than two-thirds of the starts at offensive line during the 2017 Kansas football season were made by players expected to suit up for the Jayhawks this coming fall.
Those players should benefit from an extra year in the weight room and perhaps from their new offensive line coach, A.J. Ricker.
Several newcomers will vie for snaps as well. Plus, KU might not be done recruiting. Adding a body or two via the graduate-transfer route remains a possibility.
Four different players made starts at right tackle, a position that appears up for grabs.
David Beaty gave a shortage of bodies at offensive line as the reason for not having a spring game. With so many reinforcements on board, quantity won't be an issue, although center remains a cause for concern.
Improving the quality of the line from the past few seasons will be the main issue.
A look at 18 offensive linemen expected to be on the 2018 roster, provided they are physically and academically healthy and in the case of the potential blueshirts, provided either they or the coaching staff does not end the relationship:
Possible role: Barring a last-minute addition of a talented graduate transfer, Adeniji should start at left tackle for the third consecutive year.
Possible role: Not likely to appear on the two-deep, Bragg has made starts at center and guard during his career. After he started at center vs. Iowa State, three players were juggled to different positions vs. TCU to avoid starting Bragg at center.
EARL BOSTICK JR.
Possible role: If he doesn’t battle his way onto two-deep at one of the tackle spots, he could redshirt, which would make up for the year of eligibility he burned as a freshman, when he appeared in the Rhode Island game and didn’t play in the remaining 11 games. Lined up as second tight end multiple times and caught one pass, a touchdown. Could still be a year or two away.
Possible role: Cited by coaches for making progress during spring football, Clark is a candidate to start at left guard, but if Andru Tovi doesn’t have to move to center, Clark likely will end up on second team.
Possible role: Looks like a Big 12 tackle coming off the bus but only on-field action came vs. Rhode Island during freshman season. Might still be a year away.
Possible role: Foot injury sidelined him first two years at Ohio State and he was medically cleared for third season but didn’t play. Has two years of eligibility remaining. If healthy, could compete for starting assignment at right tackle.
Possible role: Appeared in season opener vs. Rhode Island in 2017 and didn’t get in another game. Started the three nonconference games in 2018, but appeared to be a couple of years away from being ready. Could benefit from redshirt year, if not part of competition to start at right tackle.
Possible role: Has long-range promise but probably not at center, where he played some during the spring and appeared to struggle with snaps. Lauded for hard-nosed attitude.
Possible role: Started 10 games at right guard, missing two games and time in the spring because of injury. If he stays healthy should lock down right guard spot for remainder of career.
Possible role: Has appeared at guard and tackle throughout career and strives to get stronger each year in the weight room. In event of injury to a starter, his experience makes him a candidate to stand in at multiple positions.
Possible role: Potential blueshirt from College of San Mateo played right tackle in juco and will, along with several others, be given a shot to win the position during camp.
Possible role: Big recruiting score. Remained committed to KU despite late scholarship offer from Texas and late attempt by Oklahoma State to get him to make a visit. Has potential at both guard and tackle. Might be able to get on the two-deep as a freshman. If not, would benefit from redshirt season.
Possible role: Potential blueshirt from College of San Mateo will try to earn snaps at guard. Played left guard at CSM.
CLYDE McCAULEY III
Possible role: Has chance to serve as backup at both tackle spots in event he doesn’t make a big enough improvement to win a starting job. He, Larry Hughes and Bragg (five years) are the only O-linemen who have been in program more than three seasons.
Possible role: Former walk-on appeared in two games at center last season but is not likely to crack the two-deep.
Possible role: Potential blueshirt from College of San Mateo played mostly at guard but did play a game at center and played some there in high school, so if he can prove reliable enough there to win the starting spot that would enable Tovi to stay at guard. If staff doesn’t like him at center he’ll supply depth at guard.
Possible role: Made eight starts at left guard last season and will remain there if he’s not needed at center, where he played during the spring out of necessity.
Possible role: An impressive recruiting score, Williams enrolled early and impressed with his enthusiasm during the spring. Turned down offers from Central Florida, Illinois and Minnesota to become a Jayhawk. Ideally, KU will be able to redshirt him and start him down a development path that leads to multiple years as a starter at tackle.