Kansas football quarterback battle will heat up following Leipold hire

Kansas football’s spring game showcased a lot of improvements on both sides of the ball, including an interesting look at the ongoing quarterback battle.

Recently hired head coach Lance Leipold was on-site for the annual spring game and will influence quarterback decisions alongside offensive coordinator Mike DeBord.

Senior Miles Kendrick saw a bulk of the snaps out of the gate and would alternate the job regularly to sophomore Jalon Daniels.

Miles would complete 17 of his 29 throws for 103 yards and an interception. Daniels, the younger option, went 11 of 23 on the evening for 93 yards and an interception of his own.

This pair handled a large portion of the job in 2020, however, the upcoming season will provide the Jayhawks with plenty of potential at the quarterback position.

Since the departure of former quarterback Carter Stanley, Kansas hasn’t been able to find a consistent starter.

This offseason, a few new names have come onto the scene and will be looking for the starting job.

Finding “our guy”

Kansas struggled out of the pocket in 2020, often costing the Jayhawks offensive opportunities to break out of their shell.

Sure, there are a lot of other factors surrounding Kansas’ issues but the quarterback position is a vital part of any offense and will be crucial to have this team win again.

Considering DeBord is still on Leipold’s staff by the start of the 2021 season, the quarterback race should run well into August.

Both incoming three-star freshman candidates, Ben Easters, and Conrad Hawley have been on campus since the spring semester began.

Despite not seeing much action in the spring contest, they’ve made progress under former interim head coach Emmett Jones’ leadership.

Another candidate, senior transfer Jason Bean, could have his eye on the starting role. He held the starting job at North Texas for the bulk of their 2020 schedule and has shown some flashes along the way.

Regardless, we won’t see our Week 1 options emerge until Leipold becomes more acquainted with the team and summer kicks into high gear.

What goes around comes around

Kansas has had a tough time sticking with a starter over the years, this is a trend that incoming head coach Lance Leipold might want to break.

While a decent amount of potential has come through Lawrence over the years, many have tried and failed to find the right spark offensively.

Kansas passing yards by starting quarterback since 2013
  • Mike Cummings, 1,759 (2013-2015)
  • Montell Cozart, 2,755 (2013-2016)
  • Ryan Willis, 2,530 (2015-2016)
  • Peyton Bender, 3,503 (2017-2018)
  • Carter Stanley, 5,035 (2015-2019)
  • Miles Kendrick, 747 (2018-present)
  • Jalon Daniels, 718 (2020-present)

Data courtesy CFB at Sports-Reference.com

Finding a consistent starter in 2021 would allow Kansas to exercise some of the promising receivers we have in Luke Grimm and Steven McBride, two young playmakers who saw their potential limited in the winless/shortened 2020 season.

If Kansas wants to develop a starter for the long term, maybe this should consider this “potential” principle.

If there is a young player on this roster who can become reliable in the pocket during the 2021 season, Coach Leipold should be looking to him for development and consistency. Anything less is only going to hold this team back.

Summer will make for an interesting quarterback race and whoever lands the job will be tasked with ushering in the Leipold era at Kansas.