Kansas football reportedly loses top-rated Jayhawks transfer to torn Achilles

The Jayhawks just lost a projected starter to a serious injury
Ohio v Iowa State
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The Kansas football team is entering the 2024 season with hefty expectations after finishing 9-4 with a bowl victory last year. Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks retained star players such as Jalon Daniels, Devin Neal, and Cobee Bryant, who should help lead KU to its most successful campaign in a long time.

In addition to the players who returned to the university, Kansas reeled in several transfers to fill the voids of others. Spring ball recently began and practices are under way, but the Jayhawks did receive some unfortunate news yesterday. KU's top-rated offseason transfer has reportedly suffered a season-ending injury.

Kansas football loses its projected No. 1 tight end to Achilles tear

According to Bleacher Report's Bryson Stricker, DeShawn Hanika tore his Achilles in practice on Saturday. The Iowa State transfer was projected to be the primary tight end target this upcoming season after Mason Fairchild ran out of eligibility, but he will likely miss the entire year before even stepping onto the field as a Jayhawk.

Hanika caught 17 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns in 2022 for the Cyclones. He and several other ISU players were suspended last year for an illegal sports wagering scandal involving the football team. However, he was able to participate in NCAA athletics for one more year because he played in the 2020 COVID-19 season.

While all injuries are different, the timetable for a torn Achilles is 10-12 months. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end could apply for a medical redshirt to spend another year in college at Kansas or another school.

Since Will Huggins entered the transfer portal, Kansas only has two tight ends with collegiate experience on the roster. Trevor Kardell and Jared Casey were supposed to see significant snaps in 2024, but they could take on an extended role with Hanika absent from the gridiron.

Hanika is not the only Jayhawk starter dealing with an injury. Projected starting left tackle Calvin Clements underwent surgery on his lower leg, while defensive end Jereme Robinson had "cleanup surgery." However, both players are expected to be ready by the time fall camp arrives.