(Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by my fellow KU alum, @thelachmantest. Good buddy from college and huge KU football fan. Give him a follow on twitter and look forward to future posts from him here at JHT. Rock Chalk!)
2013 FOOTBALL STARTING LINEUP
HEY TURNER, THANKS FOR (ALMOST) NOTHING
With a program like KU, you would expect most starters to be in their 3rd to 5th year in school — guys who have developed through the strength and conditioning program and have some playing experience. For 2013, these would be the recruits from the classes of 2009 up to 2013. The 2009 class were true freshmen during Mangino’s last season. The 2010 class was a mix of Mangino/Gill guys. 2011 were all Gill guys. 2012 were a mix of Gill/Weis guys. 2013 was all Weis guys.
While putting this lineup together, I was not surprised how Charlie Weis has revamped the roster and has a lot of his guys starting or fighting for a starter’s spot. I was surprised to see Mark Mangino still having an impact on the roster and on the flip side the lack of impact by Turner Gill. On second thought, I’m not surprised by the lack of Gill guys in the lineup given the complete lack of discipline, accountability, and an overall lackadaisical attitude under his charge.
To come up with lineup, I used the spring depth chart, various articles and quotes along with some educated guesses to come up with a starting lineup. I used Jayhawk Slant to gather commitment dates and other recruiting information.
Some dates to keep in mind:
Mark Mangino fired resigned: 12/3/09
Turner Gill hired: 12/15/09 and fired: 11/27/11
Charlie Weis hired: 12/9/11
Let’s take a look the potential starting lineup. Starters are in BOLD.
QB: Jake Heaps: a BYU transfer brought in by Weis. This year we will go only as far as “The Mormon Cannon” will carry us. His backup is Michael Cummings, a Gill recruit. I was part of the #freemichaelcummings campaign last year, so it saddens me to say I only see him being used as part of running/option package.
RB: James Sims: committed to Dave Beaty on 7/13/09 under Mangino. Ran for over 1,000 yards in only 9 games, with most defenses knowing that we are running the ball 9 out of 10 plays. I’m excited for his senior campaign. Taylor Cox is JUCO transfer brought in by Coach Weis, and will be a great change of pace backup.
RB/WR: Tony Pierson: He committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill. No question, the best player on the field. We should all expect big time plays from this guy all season long.
WR: Andrew Turzilli: Turzilli has all the physical tools to be a standout at WR, showing some flashes last year. He committed to Dave Beaty under Mangino. His backup is most likely Christian Matthews, who is versatile enough to play QB in the “Jayhawk” formation. During the spring game, he also filled in at CB for a couple of plays. Matthews committed to Dave Beaty on 6/20/08.
WR: Justin McCay: McCay is a transfer from OU brought in by Weis, and is another guy with good physical tools to play the position. Tre Parmalee is a Weis recruit who saw decent playing time as a true freshman last year, and he’ll play the slot position.
All other WRs who could see playing time are recent transfers (thus all Weis guys).
TE: Jimmay Mundine: Mundine showed flashes of his full potential and the expectations are even higher this year. He committed on 7/31/09 under Mangino. His backups are a JUCO transfer, Charles Brooks, and a redshirt freshman, Jordan Shelley-Smith, both Weis recruits.
LT: Pat Lewandowski: From the sound of it, there is a 3-way battle. Lewandowski may have the upper hand over Riley Spencer and Zach Fondal. He is a local kid who committed to KU in January 2010 under Gill. Weis & Co. converted him from a DE to LT. Riley Spencer committed in Jan 2009 under Mangino. Fondal is a JUCO transfer brought in by Weis this year.
LG: Ngalu Fusimalohi: Penciled to start is Fusimalohi who is a JUCO transfer under Weis. Damon Martin is a Gill recruit, most likely the backup.
C: Dylan Admire: Another battle for the starting spot, Admire is penciled in as the starter for now, over Mike Smithburg and Gavin Howard. Admire is a local kid who committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill. Smithburg is a JUCO transfer under Weis, Howard is a Mangino commitment.
RG: Randall Dent / Mike Smithburg: Tough call between these two. Smithburg is an incoming JUCO transfer, who has been on campus for winter conditioning and spring ball, while Randall Dent played a lot last year but could end up splitting time with Smithburg. He originally committed to Dave Beaty under Mangino.
RT: Aslam Sterling: Sterling is a JUCO transfer brought in by Weis last year. He has dropped weight and gotten in better shape and is a lock for the starting spot. Brian Beckmann, who committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill, should be the backup.
With the offensive line we’re looking at 2 Weis guys (Fusimalohi & Sterling). Then there are 2 players connected to Gill — one of whom was recruited by Reggie Mitchell (Admire), the other a converted defensive end. Randall Dent will be the one starter recruited by Mangino. If Fondal (left tackle) and/or Smithburg (center) get the starting nod, Gill gets credit for only one starter on the entire offensive side of the ball.
Offense total: Mangino: 4, Weis: 4 (could be up to 6), Gill: 3 (could be 1)
LE/T: Jordan Tavai / Tendarian Johnson: Both are JUCO transfers under Weis. Tavai should be the starter as he was here last year, and held up okay while under a steep learning curve. Johnson arrived in time for spring ball and should get to see the field this fall.
NT: Marquel Combs/ Ty McKinney/ Tyler Holmes: Combs is the #1 rated JUCO recruit in the country this year, and penciled in as a starter. Mckinney was supposed to be a JUCO transfer last year, but academic issues pushed it back to this year. Both are Weis recruits. Holmes is a redshirt freshman, who was being recruited by Buddy Wyatt under Gill and finally committed in Jan 2012 under Weis.
RE/T: Keon Stowers/ Keba Agostinho / Kevin Young: Stowers is a JUCO transfer under Weis, and should be the starter. Agostinho is a Gill recruit under Buddy Wyatt, while Kevin Young is a holdover from the Mangino days.
BUCK: Chris “Robin Hood” Martin/ Andrew Bolton/ Ben Goodman / Michael Reynolds: Bolton is a JUCO transfer this year under Weis who also had SEC offers. I would guess his athleticism lends him some playing time. Goodman was recruited by Buddy Wyatt under Gill, and has continued to improve every year, really coming on late last year. Reynolds is also a Gill recruit, and should be a situational pass rusher.
The D-Line was a big focus for Weis and Co., and they have definitely built depth at that position. No matter the starters, I expect a lot of rotation to keep fresh legs in the game.
OLB: Courtney Arnick / Marcus Jenkins-Moore: Arnick is a redshirt freshman who committed under Weis; Jenkins-Moore is a JUCO transfer, who arrived on campus in June 2013. At this time it is a toss-up who will start.
MLB: Ben Heeney: Heeney should/will be the starter. Recruited by Gill, he earned 2nd team All Big 12 as a sophomore starter last year. His backup will be Darrius Willis who followed Gill from Buffalo, redshirted and then had to prove himself again to Weis to stay on this team.
OLB: Jake Love / Samson Faifili: Recruited by Gill and Co., Love played a lot as a redshirt freshman last year, and should be the incumbent starter. Faifili is a JUCO transfer who should be on campus as of June 2013. He’ll compete for playing time at either of the OLB positions, similar to Jenkins-Moore.
CB: Dexter McDonald/ JaCory Shepherd: McDonald is a local kid who committed to Reggie Mitchell under Gill. After leaving the team for one year, he was brought back by Weis. Shepherd was recruited as a wide receiver under Gill but was converted to DB by Weis & Co. I would say whichever guy does not start will be the nickel cornerback.
SS: Isaiah Johnson: Johnson is a JUCO transfer and brings considerable hype with him. He should be on campus at the start of July, and is penciled in as a starter. Tevin Shaw is a redshirt freshman who committed under Weis and will get a chance to prove himself. Ray Mitchell, while listed on the spring depth chart, is not listed on the official roster on the KU athletics website.
FS: Dexter Linton / Greg Allen / Kevin Short: Linton committed to Dave Beaty under Mangino, and brings the most experience as a senior. Allen is a redshirt freshman who committed under Weis, while Kevin Short is a JUCO transfer, who may see time all over the defensive backfield.
CB: Cassius Sendish / Nas Moore / Tyree Williams: Sendish is a JUCO guy who has been here for spring practice and should be a starter. Backups may include Moore, a JUCO transfer last year or Tyree Williams, a redshirt freshman. All are Weis guys.
It is a little harder to break down the defense since more positions are up for grabs, but there are at least 6 Weis guys (LE, NT, RE, OLB, SS, CB); at least 2 Gill guys (MLB, CB); 1 Mangino guy (FS) and tossups between Weis and Gill guys at the BUCK and other OLB position. Let’s assign one to each.
Defense Total: Weis: 7, Gill: 3, Mangino: 1
K/P: Trevor Pardula: The spring depth chart has Pardula, a JUCO transfer, listed as a starter at both positions. Eric Kahn, a transfer from Mid America Nazarene may also get a shot at being the kicker. Both of those guys were brought in under Weis. Either way, Ron Doherty has good competition at both positions.
Snapper: Zachary Young / Reilly Jeffers: Young is a transfer from Indiana. Jeffers played as a freshman last year. Both are Weis Guys.
Not surprisingly, Turner Gill recruits have zero impact on special teams.
Reggie Mitchell and Buddy Wyatt: There is a reason Weis only kept these two from the prior staff. Almost all the Gill guys on the list above are linked to those 2 guys. They may have been the only 2 coaches on staff who knew what to look for in a potential recruit.
Dave Beaty: His name came up a lot as well. The dude could and can recruit. I wish Weis would’ve kept him. Instead he’s at Texas A&M as an assistant coach & recruiting coordinator. A&M’s 2012 recruiting class was ranked: #15 in the country. 2013: #11, 2014: #6 and rising. Sigh.
What does it all mean?
Well, for one thing, Turner robbed us blind. For his $10 million, we’re getting maybe 4 starters on this year’s team, when it should be close to half. During his opening statements he said a lot of things, which were essentially just a lot of hot air and B.S (by the way, be careful reading that transcript, it may induce excessive eye rolling and possibly vomiting). Gill pretty much did the opposite of what he promised, running a loose program with no discipline or accountability. There is a reason Weis had to kick out nearly a third of the team, and that is also the reason he has had to bring in so many JUCO guys, players with experience and physical development, to fill in all the gaps.
Having said all that, I think Weis has us on the right track, with a potential bowl season in 2013.
Season breakdown next?
Photo Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE