David Beaty and the Kansas Jayhawks football team are back from spring break and getting back into spring practice. While the secondary is an issue, Beaty did bring up Hasan Defense by name as a player he’s excited about.
The head coach did begin by expressing concern over the cornerback position, saying, “I’ll feel a lot better when we have our corner situation settled cause we lost two guys that played the majority of the snaps there.”
Beaty was referring to Brandon Stewart and Marnez Ogletree, who were both seniors in 2016. Stewart played in all 12 games last season, finished with 25 total tackles and was second on the team with 3 interceptions. On the other side, Ogeltree also played in all 12 games and had 34 tackles on the season.
A closer look at the numbers and you’ll see the Jayhawks pass defense struggled throughout the season. KU allowed 220 passing yards/game, which was tops in the Big 12. But that was primarily driven by the fact that the Jayhawks trailed most of their games so teams preferred to run the ball against them. When looking at the pass defense efficiency, Kansas was the second-worst in the Big 12, only in front of Texas Tech.
So while bringing back experienced veterans is always preferred in college sports, maybe moving on isn’t such a bad thing.
Coach Beaty made sure to point out some of the guys he’s really been fascinated by, especially one in particular, saying, “I’ve been impressed with Hasan Defense. I think he’s got a good body for the position, he’s big, he’s very aggressive. Sometimes you don’t find guys that play on the edge like that that are aggressive guys. He’ll hit you and he’s athletic and has some potential to him.”
Hasan Defense (oh, the irony) is a newcomer to Lawrence by way of Kilgore College (Texas). You know how this guy likes to hit? He racked up 7 tackles for loss as a defensive back. Overall, Defense had 57 tackles on the season, along with 5 interceptions for the Rangers. He was a consensus 3-star prospect by all the major recruiting services.
Beaty also brought up Kyle Mayberry, a sophomore from Booker T. Washington HS in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who played sparingly in 8 games last season, wrapping up two tackles. Other names mentioned by Beaty included sophomore Julian Chandler, who played last year as a freshman in the opener against Rhode Island, but missed the rest of the season due to injury.
Meanwhile, Shola Ayinde tore his ACL in preseason camp last year and Beaty is hoping to get him fully back and healthy this spring because he believes the the redshirt freshman can be an impact player as well. Ayinde came out of high school as a top-100 player in the Houston area.
Also coming back from an ACL injury is reshirt sophomore Justin Williams, who Beaty has high hopes for once he gets back healthy.
So while the Jayhawks have lots of options at the cornerback position, the question will be, “who steps up?”
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