The Jayhawks played a ton of youth on the offensive line in 2016, which is less than optimal. However, as that talent on the line goes through the rigors of physical play in the Big 12 and they come back for their sophomore, junior and senior seasons — that becomes a huge benefit.
Kansas will return five players on the offensive line who started five games or more in 2016. The biggest (and only) loss from that group is departing senior D'Andre Banks, who started all 12 contests at right guard.
Although none of the three incoming offensive linemen will likely be called upon for immediate action, with both Jayson Rhodes and Joe Gibson playing their final season for the Jayhawks in 2017, development will be crucial because impact opportunities could arise in 2018.
Earl Bostick - OL - 6-6, 270 / Barnwell, South Carolina - Barnwell High School
Kansas coach David Beaty on Bostick: "He's from South Carolina, Barnwell High School. Coach Garrick out there turned us on to this. This dude's a gigantic dude now. Sitting right here in the middle. Does a lot of things on tape. He was the MVP of the All-Star game, of the game he played there in that state. Kid can run. He's long, he's big. We feel like this guy can do a lot of things from playing on the defensive line for us and possibly being a guy that could be a major offensive tackle down the road and might be one of those guys that could possibly be playing on that Sunday.
"Really excited about this kid. His mom, a terrific lady. Miss Evelyn, we spent some time with them this weekend. Just a great family. Really enjoyed having these guys here this last weekend. Terrific player, the guy can really run. When you watch this tape right here, this kid's 270 pounds and outrunning these DBs and getting into the end zone, which is pretty impressive. He's already 270 pounds. So those are some things that we look for, obviously. We're looking for lengthy guys that we can put weight on that can move their feet already."
Joey Gilbertson - OL - 6-4, 285 / Wichita, Kansas - Wichita Northwest
Beaty on Gilbertson: "This is a big dude now. Big wrestling guy, very strong. As you watch him on the tip and watch him strike low to high, I think one of the things that stands out to me is his wrestling prowess. He does a nice job of really striking on the rise and rolling his hips when he. He's kind of a nasty guy. He'll get his hands moving a little bit. And that's one thing we like to see with our offensive linemen. Do they have a nasty streak and will they finish plays with their hands? A good look at Joey right there. He's a nice, big kid. More of a guard type. But I think the kid's athletic enough to be played inside at center. He can snap for us. He with do a lot of different things. He's very, very strong. I love his wrestling background."
Jack Williams - OL - 6-3, 270 / Argyle, Texas - Argyle High School
Beaty on Williams: "Another guy out of Argyle, Texas. Todd Rodgers, a long-time, old-time buddy of mine. We coached against each other for a long time. He won a state championship at Marcus and I was at Naaman Forest way back in the day. He's done a terrific job with this program. They've won a lot of games, been to a lot of state championships. This kid is a center that we've really been needing some depth. And this guy is a guy that can provide it for us. He's a long guy, he is very strong. If you know anything about Texas off-season, those guys are going to go through the off-season every day, it's going to be a grind and they're going to be strong. Those linemen are going to go through power lifting, and they're going to be in the weight room.
"So this guy is strong. He played on one of the more productive leagues in that level of play there in 4A in Texas. But this guy does a lot of great things. Some of the great things that we really like about him is his ability to get out on screens and still be able to control his body to log people. Understands pass protection. A really talented player and excited about having Jack."