Kansas football to be without top offensive lineman in UNLV bowl game

Dominick Puni will sit out KU's bowl game against the Rebels next week
Kansas redshirt senior offensive lineman Dominick Puni (67) hikes the ball during practice Thursday.
Kansas redshirt senior offensive lineman Dominick Puni (67) hikes the ball during practice Thursday. / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

Dominick Puni has been a fantastic success story with the Kansas football program. After spending four years at Division II Central Missouri, he transferred to the Jayhawks for the 2022 season with two years of eligibility remaining.

Last year, he was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention at left guard. He was then moved to left tackle due to the graduation of Earl Bostick Jr. Puni's versatility was displayed on the outside, and he had the best season of his career in 2023.

He established himself as one of the best players at his position in 2023, earning All-Big 12 First Team honors and an invite to the Senior Bowl. The redshirt senior was also selected as a finalist for the Polynesian Player of the Year award in college football. Unfortunately, it seems that he has played his final game at KU.

According to Bryson Stricker of Bleacher Report, the star O-lineman has opted out of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, which the Jayhawks are scheduled to play in on Dec. 26 against the UNLV Rebels. Puni will look toward the Senior Bowl and his NFL career.

Being without Puni might leave the offensive line looking shaky heading into next week's contest. However, he clearly has a future in the NFL as an offensive guard and wants to focus his attention to that. He could be the first Kansas Jayhawk we see selected come April 25-27.

In his absence, true freshman Calvin Clements will get his first collegiate start. Even though he is inexperienced, the former 3-star recruit is regarded highly by the Kansas coaching staff. It should give them some film to work with over the offseason. Offering him a chance to play on the big stage should also help retain the talented offensive tackle for years to come.

We wish the best of luck to Dominick in his future endeavors! Go be great at the next level.