An underlying issue for Kansas football was its lack of depth on the interior of the defensive line, but positions coach Jim Panagos addressed that hole in a big way by adding North Dakota State transfer Javier Derritt.
After losing Devin Phillips to graduation and Gage Keys to the transfer portal, the Jayhawks once again found defensive tackle depth in Derritt. Entering his sixth campaign in NCAA football, the 6-foot-2, 280-pound unit has totaled 55 tackles and six sacks over the past two seasons.
NDSU is a powerhouse in the Football Championship Subdivision, so Derritt was playing amongst some of the best competition at the FCS level. He had been a full-time starter for the Bison since 2022 and is using his final year of eligibility at KU.
The coaching staff was able to fend off programs such as USC and Missouri, two universities Derritt had taken visits to. He opted to transfer to Lawrence in hopes of bolstering his chances of making the NFL.
Derritt praised D-line coach Jim Panagos for how he handled his recruiting process. He spoke with Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant about his relationship with him.
“He's awesome,” Derritt said. “When we first talked, he really seemed very excited to speak with me and pretty hyped. He was coming off a big bowl game win and stuff and we had some great conversations, and I had a great visit with him.”
“It's definitely a weight off my shoulders, for sure,” he later said about committing to the Jayhawks. “It was definitely a stressful process, having to go through it again twice. It's a good stress, though. I'm just happy to know where I'm going to be and I'm really excited to get to work.”
Kansas football also received a commitment from Youngstown State transfer Dylan Wudke in the portal, though the impact of having Derritt on the roster is much more likely to be felt. DJ Withers, Tommy Dunn Jr., and Kenean Caldwell will compete for snaps with the newest Jayhawk during the offseason.