Kansas football: Jason Bean’s final game as a Jayhawk will be an emotional one

KU's bowl game on Tuesday will mark the last game Jason Bean plays in a Jayhawk uniform
Oklahoma v Kansas
Oklahoma v Kansas / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

With the Guaranteed Rate Bowl approaching in a few days, Kansas football fans will have the privilege of watching quarterback Jason Bean one last time.

The supersenior quarterback has endured an up-and-down stint with the Jayhawks. He transferred from North Texas for the 2021 season and immediately took over starting duties for then-first-year head coach Lance Leipold. But after suffering an injury against Kansas State, Jalon Daniels came in and impressed the coaching staff, later leading KU to its magical upset win over Texas in Austin. Bean eventually ceded his spot to Daniels for the next season.

A similar situation occurred in 2022 when Daniels went down against TCU while the university hosted College GameDay. Bean nearly led Kansas to a victory, throwing for four touchdowns. Although he did fine as a backup and helped KU secure bowl eligibility for the first time in 14 years, the Jayhawks went 1-4 with him playing full games, and Daniels reclaimed his starting spot.

Bean sat behind Daniels for the remainder of the season but was called upon for a trick play for a 2-point conversion in the third overtime of the Liberty Bowl. Daniels would fake a handoff to Devin Neal and pitch it to Bean on an end around. He rolled out to the right and had a wide-open Mason Fairchild in front of him. Instead, he sailed it out of the end zone — an extremely ill-advised decision in a do-or-die moment — and the game was over.

He and the Kansas football fanbase were devastated. It seemed at that moment that his career as a Jayhawk was over. Bean was the clear second-string option and had just one year left of eligibility. In the new age of college football, almost any other player would have fled for the next best opportunity. But rather than give up on KU, he decided he had something to prove and spent his last year in Lawrence.

Doing so might have been the best decision of his career. He started eight of Kansas' 12 games due to Daniels' lingering back injury. Bean threw for 1,681 yards, 12 touchdowns, and a 61.4% completion percentage, adding 259 yards and three more scores on the ground. He led a game-winning drive against College Football Playoff hopeful Oklahoma, giving the Jayhawks one of the program's best upsets in school history.

Bean is penciled in as the starter for Dec. 26 when Kansas football takes on UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. It will be the final time he laces his cleats as a collegiate athlete. He and the rest of KU's offense have a chance to win the college's first bowl game in 15 years.

The Texas native has given his all to the University of Kansas since he arrived three years ago. He is a huge part of why his team won eight games this year and has shown tremendous improvements. No matter what he pursues after his eligibility is up, KU fans will support him along the way for his contributions to this football program.