Kansas intercepted 10 passes in the 2016 season. Eight of those were picked by departing seniors Fish Smithson (4) Brandon Stewart (3) and Greg Allen (1).
Also gone from the secondary are graduating seniors Tevin Shaw and Marnez Ogletree. Together, those five upperclassmen accounted for 213 tackles in 2016 — nearly one-fourth of the total stops for the Jayhawks all season.
Aside from returning safety Mike Lee, who earned All Big 12 Freshman Honorable Mention honors, there's some gaping holes in the two-deep depth chart in the Jayhawk secondary. With good size and a pair of JUCO additions that have already enrolled, it's safe to say you will see some of these four additions make plays this fall for KU.
Let's take a quick look at the safety and three cornerbacks Kansas coach David Beaty added on National Signing Day 2017 earlier this month, including comments from the Kansas head coach from his signing day press conference.
Antonio Cole - Safety - 6-0, 198 / Tulsa, Oklahoma - Edmond North HS
Beaty on Cole: "This next kid, man, you're going to love getting to know this guy because he's a character. Antonio Cole out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Antonio went to Highland Junior College, he bounced around a little bit. But terrific kid, terrific kid. One of the things that really stuck out to me when I was watching this tape is this kid's ball skills from a defensive back standpoint. He's always around the ball. He's got a good nose for it. He's got great burst after he catches it. He's got natural ball skills and natural skills with running with the ball after he catches it.
"But he does a terrific job in covering. He can open his hips really well. That right there is an extremely good example of the guy who is flexible enough to open those hips and make a terrific play when it's needed. He does a terrific job of understanding what they're doing defensively. If you talk to their coaches, visit with those guys just a little bit about what he knows, Coach Berger, Coach Arnold up there. Those guys just rave about this guy's football IQ, which is something that we look forward to. Guy makes a lot of plays. This is against the national champions there in Garden City. You can see him close, and that closing speed is very valuable in this league. Because you've got to be able to do that. Guys are not going to stay open, and we need to find guys that won't let him stay open."
Hasan Defense - CB - 5-11, 185 / St. Augustine, Florida - Atlantic Coast HS
Beaty on Defense: "I always mess around with our coaches and I ask them -- we do a little deal where we say who is your dark horse in the class? And it's amazing how many people said this guy right here. Hasan's a talented dude now out of Kilgore, but out of Florida, Jacksonville, got to meet his mom and dad. His dad is an official for one of the college leagues out there.
"But this guy's a talented dude. We hope that great things are in store for him, and I know he's going to compete like crazy. J.J. Eckert, long-time friend of mine, a head coach down there at Kilgore was really helpful for us in that."
Shakial Taylor - CB - 6-0, 175 / Lakeland, Florida - Chaparral HS
Beaty on Taylor: "Shak started for South Dakota State in our first game here. Excited about having this guy here. Long guy. His brother plays in the NFL for the Houston Texans. His grandma, just great. Great people, man. She came on the visit, and this guy does a great job, man. We went back and watched that tape against us, and for a guy that was a true freshman, he played really well in that game, did a good job. We're excited about him being here."
Robert Topps III - CB - 6-2, 190 / Chicago, Illinois - Marist HS
Beaty on Topps: "When we met Robert, Robert weighed about 172 pounds. He came in the other day at 196. He's about 6'2", 196. Plays safety. Dad's a coach, mom is the matriarch, awesome family. Lives in the Windy City, in Chicago. Really cool house. Made great food when we went up there. Terrific kid. Great student. Signed alongside one of his teammates today who is going to Kansas State. So kind of great to see two Chicago guys going to Kansas and Kansas State.
"This guy's a long guy that can play corner, can play safety. He always has a nose for the ball when you watch him on tape. The thing you can't do is you can't make him longer. And he's long. We needed some length in that back end, and we think he can do that. We think he's going to be a guy that can cover, so we can use him at corner. We think he might be a guy that can be an All-League safety. That's what I like to see. I like to see you turn on a tape and see a guy make a special teams play. The thing that helps you do that is his length. That's one of the things you need to do is get the profile of our team longer. He does a nice job of triggering, making plays. Really like this guy, Robert Topps, a lot. He stayed with us for a long time, been committed forever, terrific kid."