During the Big 12 media days, Kansas head coach David Beaty had very high praise for injured quarterback Michael Cummings. But, unfortunately he had bad news as well. Beaty confirmed that Cummings officially had a torn ACL. The loss of Cummings will mean that one of the backup quarterbacks on the roster will get a chance to start this year.
Of the quarterbacks from the roster, the most likely to start the season at QB will be returning junior Montell Cozart. Cozart was originally named the starting quarterback last year by former head coach Charlie Weis, but was later benched because of poor decision-making and performance. Even though coach David Beaty has hinted at Cozart having an early lead in the quarterback competition, he also had high praise for incoming freshmen Carter Stanley and Ryan Willis. When asked about the two freshmen at media days, Beaty noted the arm strength of Willis and the athleticism of Stanley, as each QB’s biggest asset this early in their young careers. But, he also noted that he hasn’t been able to directly watch them (as the NCAA doesn’t allow it yet).
Another quarterback that could make a push for some playing time this year is junior T.J. Millweard. Millweard has one thing that neither of the freshmen competing for the spot has: experience. Overall, the competition will probably end up forcing a situation where Cozart starts the season as the starting QB, but is only starting on a game by game basis, with either Carter Stanley or Ryan Willis ready to take over if Cozart has struggles similar to last year.
That being said, Cozart is an athletic quarterback and if he can show an ability to pass with more accuracy and run effectively, he could win and keep the spot all year. Whichever quarterback wins the competition will have a chance to control the game with the Jayhawks new air-raid offense.
Another position that will shape out interestingly this year at KU is running back. In recent years, even though the team has struggled the running backs have produced. Taylor Cox, a 6th year senior, due to transferring and twice medically redshirting, is the early favorite to start. Also, returning senior De’Andre Mann figures to get a good amount of carries, as he impressed when he saw the field last year averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Other backups who could see playing time are freshman Taylor Martin and junior college transfer Ke’aun Kinner.
Overall, both the quarterback and running back situation at KU should be interesting to watch this year. And although the wins and losses may not show, fans should hope and look for development and positive play from young players to build off of for years to come.
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