Kansas football's top 25 difference-makers: No. 24, Ryan Schadler
Tom Keegan and I collaborated on a list of 25 potential difference-makers for the Kansas football team in 2017 and will release one each weekday leading up to the Sept. 2 season-opener vs. SEMO, at Memorial Stadium. We will list them in reverse order of how indispensable/potentially impactful they are for KU's hopes of having a more competitive season.
After a rare health-scare involving an organ disorder sidelined him for the entire 2016 season, Ryan Schadler is back with the Jayhawks ready to make a bigger impact than ever.
A former running back and kick-returner with a 104-yard touchdown return on his KU résumé, Schadler left a potentially crowded backfield before spring practices began to become a receiver.
At an early-morning offseason run this past spring, new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham walked over to Schadler and told him, ““Hey, we’re going to put you at slot.”
“Yes,” he recalled. “Finally.”
Back in his hometown of Hesston, Schadler’s friends and family members often saw who the called “little receivers” playing on Sundays. Think 5-foot-10 Patriots standout Julian Edelman. “You should be doing that,” they would tell Schadler, listed at 5-11 and 191 pounds.
He mostly played running back in high school so Schadler had to learn all the Air Raid plays from a different position. What he had already picked up from KU’s system made that part easy.
“It’s the same offense,” Schadler said of Meacham’s approach, “so I kind of knew the gist of everything.”
Through the spring, he proved effective in the slot, paving the way for him to possibly start with Steven Sims Jr. and Daylon Charlot this fall in KU’s revamped passing attack.
A three-time high school state track champion (Class 4A) inspired to do something special with his second chance after surgery repaired a malrotation of his small and large intestines, Schadler also is in the mix as a punt- or kick-returner in 2017.