To nobody’s surprise, the Kansas Jayhawks are not projected to be a good team in 2018. Throughout head coach David Beaty’s tenure, the Jayhawks have been in rebuild mode, and the staff is doing the best they can to add talent to the roster. Rebuilding a college team is not an easy task, but Beaty has proven to be a big-time asset.
Kansas’ 2018 class is undoubtedly Beaty’s best recruiting class during his tenure at the school. According to Rivals, the Jayhawks’ 2018 class ranks as the nation’s No. 48 class. It includes two four-star recruits — cornerback Corione Harris and all-purpose back Anthony Williams.
The 2018 signing class can make a significant difference at Kansas, but it will take some time for that to translate into wins. Here is an early outlook at some signees who can make an impact on the football program:
Corione Harris is easily the top prospect in Kansas’ class. Harris has an opportunity to be the starter from day one, especially in the Nickel. Current starter Bryce Torneden has flashed potential but is too inconsistent to be a reliable starter.
Kyle Mayberry, another starting corner, has had his share of struggles, which Harris could also capitalize on. Hasan Defense, the number one cornerback on the roster, will keep his job, as he has proven to be one of the better defensive backs in the Big 12.
Harris could potentially be the best defensive back Kansas has had since Aqib Talib (Chris Harris Jr. was not great during his time as a Jayhawk), but he will need time to grow and develop as a player. Similar to Dorance Armstrong, Harris could leave after his junior season for the NFL Draft, but it’s a bit soon to place those expectations on someone who has never played a college game.
Anthony Williams, the Jayhawks’ other four-star commitment, could also make an impact from day one. Kansas has no idea who their starting running back will be next season, as both Khalil Herbert and Taylor Martin have flashed potential. As for Williams, he may not be the starter, but his athleticism and ball-handling skills should be enough to secure him opportunities on third down.
At 5-8, 165 pounds, Williams will be the most athletic back in Kansas’ arsenal, but he is not an every-down ball carrier. Expect him to show plenty of flashes of potential his freshman year, especially towards the end of the season.
While there weren’t any marquee signees along the defensive line, this is another area where Beaty will be looking for someone to contribute early. The Jayhawks lost three defensive linemen after the 2017 season, including NFL prospect Dorance Armstrong Jr.
With five freshmen arriving to bolster the unit, it’s anybody’s guess who will step up. While there will be ample opportunities for the new arrivals to earn rotational snaps, it’s unlikely that any freshman tackles get starter minutes, as J.J. Holmes and Daniel Wise have a firm grip on the starting roles. Still, Kansas’ defensive line will be weaker this season, giving any one of the incoming freshmen an opportunity to make a name for themselves.