Tim Biere noticed it the first day of summer conditioning.
The team was laboring through a session of wind sprints, and a few of the upper-classmen were starting to huff and puff a little bit, lagging behind. But a pair of freshmen - Olathe (KS) North teammates Adonis Saunders and Victor Simmons - were still working on legs that seemed almost fresh by comparison.
And they weren't shy in letting everyone know about it.
"That was kind of cool to see from freshmen ," said Biere, a senior tight end and four-year starter with the Jayhawks. "They're not being cocky about it or anything, they're just proving by their work that they belong on the field."
Youth was one of the dominant themes among the Kansas contingent Tuesday in Dallas, as they took their turn at the microphone during Big 12 Media Days.
Last season, a lack of playmakers - particularly on the offensive side of the ball - was one of a number of factors contributing to a 3-9 finish for the Jayhawks. Head Coach Turner Gill and his staff have spent the past two signing classes working to rectify that lack - and early indications are they have succeeded.
By redshirting a significant portion of the Class of 2010, and inking more than 20 talented freshmen as an encore in February, the Jayhawks will have legitimate competition at virtually every position on the field when fall camp opens in August.
That competition is a valuable commodity, Gill explained, and a key ingredient in building a successful football team.
"We got some guys that can definitely come in here and help our football team and be productive," he said. "And that's the key. The freshmen can come in here and be productive."
"At every position you can find some freshman or redshirt freshman pushing an older guy," Biere added. "If not, they've already taken the spot from him. The young guys are in there and they're hungry for playing time, and that makes the seniors and juniors better because they have to improve to get the playing time they've had in the past."
In February, Gill said he expected many of the freshmen to see the field immediately - possibly even a majority of the class. Tuesday, he reiterated that the best would play, regardless of age or experience.
"I feel pretty good about that," Gill said. "But again, what that number is I don't know. Again, I think the thing I'm reflecting on there is competition. We do know that our incoming freshmen and the redshirt freshmen, they are bringing some speed."
"And that excites me," he added. "Because when we have some speed then I'm going to give you more opportunity to showcase your skills."