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How Kansas football’s top wide receiver trio is hoping to secure its ‘legacy’

As the Jayhawks prepare for their spring showcase on April 12, three returning veterans headline the wide receiver group: Luke Grimm, Lawrence Arnold and Quentin Skinner.

That trio combined for 1,924 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in the 2023 season, helping Kansas win its first bowl game since 2008.

The three fifth-year seniors have a combined 119 games of college football experience, so it’s easy to say there’s not much more for them to learn. Just don’t tell Kansas wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel that, as he’s constantly challenging them to improve.

“The biggest thing at the moment is I’m trying to get them to understand what the quarterback sees,” Samuel said. “When you start to understand from the quarterback’s perspective and now you run a route, you get yourself open a little bit easier. And timing-wise, you’re right there when the quarterback needs you.”

Also on the to-do list: improving how the KU receivers run routes when the quarterback might be on the move.

Between starting quarterback Jalon Daniels and freshman Isaiah Marshall, the Jayhawks’ QB group has signal callers who can make plays with their legs.

“When you’ve got athletic quarterbacks that can improve and do different things, do things off schedule, there are huge plays for wide receivers,” Samuel said. “You really have to try to embrace that.”

Arnold is currently out for the spring with an injury. He was seen at Tuesday’s practice wearing a boot and riding a scooter.

His absence has led to opportunities for KU’s younger wideouts, such as redshirt-freshmen Keaton Kubecka and Isaiah Coppage.

“Guys — what they don’t know we are finding out,” Samuel said. “They’ve got to understand: You’ve got to study the plays. You’ve got to be on top of it because of the opportunity. … You’re going to make a good reputation off this or bad reputation off this one opportunity.”

Samuel also hopes to see more from his younger wide receivers.

“I need them to start making more plays,” Samuel said. “I don’t think we’ve caught the ball as well as I wanted to. … They’re just numbers right now. I don’t want to put no names to them just yet because we’ve got a lot to get done.”

If there is a standout from the group, it appears to be Kubecka, a class-of-2023 wideout who arrived at Kansas as a three-star prospect.

“Keaton is a really, really, really confident guy, and he will watch this and say, ‘Coach loves me,’” Samuel said. “I’m trying to keep him humble. He’s just one of those guys that works hard. He’s got a million questions and you’ve just got to keep him growing.”

Ultimately, Samuel believes the wide receivers’ collective future is bright because of the veteran leadership of the starting trio.

Those three players take pride in it, too.

“Its been pleasant to be able to just sit back and watch these guys push,” Samuel said. “They push themselves, they push the guys behind them. When they leave, I think they’re going to feel like the place — the wide receiver room — is going to be in a good place moving forward. That’s important to them. Their legacy is important to them.”