Kansas football: Lance Leipold’s ability to retain talent shows plan for long-term success

In an era where the transfer portal dominates college football, Lance Leipold and the KU football program have done a tremendous job retaining talent
Texas Tech v Kansas
Texas Tech v Kansas / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Whether you like it or not, college football runs through the transfer portal nowadays — especially in big-time SEC and Big Ten programs. It's become the nature of the game.

Kansas football was hit with some unfortunate news over the past few days now that offensive linemen Ar'maj Reed-Adams and Spencer Lovell hit the portal. Yet even with the loss of those two players, Lance Leipold and his coaching staff have fared better than others during the offseason.

The winter transfer portal window closed on Jan. 2 of the new year, and the Jayhawks managed to escape with only five departures (Gage Keys, Tanaka Scott, and Will Huggins being the others). Perhaps that was a lot a couple of decades ago, but that is tremendous today. In fact, it is practically a historic number.

Two universities have had fewer scholarship players enter the portal — Washington (3) and Michigan (4). What do those two have in common? They're playing in the College Football Playoff on Monday. That number will surely rise considering the Huskies and Wolverines players have an additional five-day window to do so once the CFP finishes.

Kansas doesn't have any business being in the same sentence as some of these schools, but here we are. All of this can be attributed to the newfound culture Coach Leipold brought to Lawrence three years ago. And while the program isn't retaining dozens of 5-star recruits coveted by every school in the country, some considerable talent (who could have started at much more prestigious programs) is returning to play for KU.

A good portion of KU's production will graduate after 2024, but Leipold's ability to retain talent has given the Jayhawk faithful no reason to fret. With a top-50 recruiting class and all but one of last year's class maintaining a redshirt, he has shown time and time again that he can make do with what he has.

Players can still enter their name in the transfer portal if they completed the paperwork in time and have yet to file it. Regardless, significant contributors such as Jalon Daniels, Cobee Bryant, Devin Neal, Lawrence Arnold, and Luke Grimm have confirmed their statuses as Jayhawks for next season.

There is clearly something about the way Leipold conducts his business that makes KU less prone to transfer portal drama. Needless to say, players and coaches are finally buying into Kansas football in a huge way.