The biggest weakness on the Kansas Jayhawks is at defensive tackle, a position that has long been one of need for this team. The team added a few recruits at DT, with newcomer Jordan Tavai looking like a first-year starter for the Jayhawks.
Kevin Young is a 6’3″, 277 pound presence who is the most talented of the DTs on the roster, but he is best suited for a move to the defensive end spot. I have a feeling that Young will become a quality player at end and one of our best defensive players by moving to the outside of the defensive line. He is a good pass rusher and doesn’t fit on the inside too well. That’s not to say that he is a poor defensive tackle- he’s our second best- but he’s better off at end.
This will be a critical year for the former Olathe High star, as he had offers from over ten teams as a 2009 recruit. Young was even offered by Nebraska and Arizona, and he was viewed as one of the best five recruits in the state of Kansas.
Pat Lewandowski was a three-star recruit coming into Kansas and was rated by Rivals.com as the 43rd best DT in the 2010 recruiting class. This is also a critical year for Lewandowski, and the future looks bright for him. He was put under too much pressure as a freshman and had a disappointing season, but he was hampered by an injury and will respond better to the new coaching staff in Lawrence. Again, we’re going to see if Lewandowski can take his good work ethic and solid talent and turn it into something more.
Junior nose tackle Randall Dent has never found his niche yet, and the former top 30 DT recruit was offered by Arizona, Nebraska, Texas Tech, and even Oregon as a member of the 2009 class.
Despite his raw talent and popularity as a recruit, Dent has never put it together- much to every Jayhawks fan’s dismay. He has terrific strength and solid athleticism, and he has the potential to be solid against both the run and pass.
However, Dent had just six tackles, two for a loss, and one sack last season. He has never looked like a quality player thus far, but he has the total package in terms of talent, size, and athletic ability. Under a much better coaching staff that fits him better, Randall Dent should be able to become a solid DT for this team. If he doesn’t show signs of improving, then Dent might be yet another talented defensive lineman whose potential was never realized.
I hope that isn’t the case, because we need Dent to improve and show that he can be the best interior DL on this team. Young is best served to drop some weight and play outside, and moving Lewandowski to the outside is also a solid plan of action if the young DL can’t get things going at tackle.
There are too many question marks with this unit, and nobody is confident in Kansas’s defensive line on a whole. I wish it wasn’t this way, but there might only be one tackle who is at least average next season; the solid John Williams.