Jayhawks have enough bodies to create linebacker competition

Jon Kirby, Editor
Jayhawk Slant

Both David Beaty and Clint Bowen have said one of the important parts of the defense through spring football is identifying cornerbacks for the future.

While a lot of talk has been on the secondary the Jayhawks return some key players in the front six/seven that could be the staple of the defense in 2017.

Both Marquis Roberts and Courtney Arnick are gone from last year’s linebacker group. Bowen was asked if there are enough to bodies to fill out the depth chart. Since the Jayhawks only play two linebackers in most of their schemes he isn’t worried about the linebackers.

“We’re okay there,” Bowen said about linebacker group. “With as much and nickel and three safety looks we use, we are only playing with two of them at a time. There are some kids in that group that have some talent.”

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With the numbers at linebacker there are enough players to create competition.

“You take Denzel Feaster who came along at the end of last year,” Bowen said. “Dru Prox had a good redshirt year and shows some potential. We got Kyron Johnson at midyear and combine that with Dineen, Keith Loneker, Osaze Ogbebor, and Maciah Long. “

Long was a highly regarded freshman who led his team to the Texas state title. But his last three years in high school he was a quarterback so there is an adjustment period moving back to linebacker.

“With Maciah we’re trying to find out the best fit for him and his body type,” Bowen said.

Last year Long played offense and defense. This spring Bowen and the defensive staff are trying to find the position he fits best.

“He’s a bigger kid around 250 pounds,” Bowen said. “He moves well and does some things well. We can use him a few different ways. We can play him as a true mike linebacker and get a little bit bigger in there on occasions.

“With some of the things we do in our defense he could be a standup defensive and. We did it last year with Cam Rosser. He didn’t play a ton of defense for us last year. There are a lot of things to look at like seeing how a guy reacts and moves. We will see by the end of the spring but with 250 pound kids who can move you want to try and find a spot for them.”

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