With the end of the season approaching, it's time to appreciate the Kansas football seniors. Some of these players have spent their entire collegiate career in Lawrence, while others have transferred in from different schools. But regardless of how long they have played or what they did on the field, they played a massive role in the surge of this program.
Tonight at 8:00 p.m. CT, the Jayhawks and UNLV Rebels will square off in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. These 16 scholarship players run out of eligibility once the game concludes. We'll give thanks to these senior Jayhawks.
Let's start off with Jason Bean. The former North Texas quarterback has spent three years with Kansas and is having his best season, starting eight of KU's 12 games and leading his team to several interconference victories, including the upset win over No. 6 Oklahoma in October. Between his electric speed and knack for late-game moments, he will be missed under center.
At the running back position, former 1,000-yard rusher Dylan McDuffie will cap off his career tonight. He scored four touchdowns this year. Another player leaving is tight end Mason Fairchild, a local guy who has been at KU for five years. Fairchild is the top tight end on the team and will be missed dearly.
On the offensive line, center Mike Novitsky and left tackle Dominick Puni are set to graduate. Puni is skipping the bowl game because he is expected to be a high pick in the NFL Draft. The former Division II lineman has been a sensation over the past two years. Novitsky transferred in from Buffalo when Lance Leipold became the Jayhawks' head coach and has never missed a game at KU.
The defensive line also has a handful of key contributors set to graduate. Hayden Hatcher, Patrick Joyner, and Devin Phillips will run out of eligibility after tonight. Phillips was the top nose tackle on the team this season and stuffed the run at an elite level. All three were important rotational pieces in 2023.
Linebackers Craig Young and Rich Miller will be gone next year. Miller was another player to follow Coach Leipold to Lawrence. He is a terrific open-field tackler and one of the defense's captains. Young, an Ohio State transfer, plays the HAWK position and is capable of just about anything on the field.
Perhaps the most painful loss of them all is Kenny Logan Jr. He has been a foundational piece to the rise of Kansas football and spent all five years of eligibility with the team. He is KU's all-time tackling leader for defensive backs and one of the best players in recent history. Also set to leave are defensive backs Kwinton Lassiter and Kalon Gervin. Lassiter is the brother of Kwamie, who was a wide receiver at KU and now plays in the NFL.
Seniors, the Jayhawk faithful thank you for your contributions to the university and wish you the best in your future endeavors!