The Jayhawks lose a ton of production at linebacker with the graduation of Courtney Arnick, who was third in the team in tackles (66) and tied for third on the squad in TFL with seven.
Returning junior Keith Loneker started all 12 games last season, and finished with 43 tackles for the Jayhawks. Also returning are back-ups from last season Osaze Ogbebor and Denzel Feaster, who played in a combined 13 contests in 2016.
There could be a potential for early playing time from the incoming linebacker class, particularly Kyron Johnson.
Jay Dineen - LB - 6-2, 235 / Lawrence, Kansas - Free State High School
Kansas coach David Beaty on Dineen: "This kid obviously is a legacy. His brother plays for us. But this kid right here, there are a long line of Dineens, and a lot of you guys know. He's just the next in the process. Joe and Jodi are terrific parents, man, and I'm going to urge them to continue having children, because they keep producing KU football players for us, and this one is no different. I love this kid, man. What a great, great energy guy and a dude that can really play now. He will knock you out.
"That dude is physical now. He will knock you out. That's one thing he'll do. He'll knock himself out every now and then. But, man, physical guy, a lot faster than he looks. Go look at him on the basketball court, and I'm not sure you'd think you'd be getting the production he gets out of himself on that court.
"But I love this kid. What a great energy he brings, great teammate, just a lot of people in this town that know this kid, and we're excited to be adding that Free State guy. Coach Lisher, a terrific friend of our program. Added one last year, we're going to continue to add guys from that school. They do a terrific job over there. Those guys I think went to the semifinals, if I'm not mistaken, before getting beat by Derby."
Kyron Johnson - LB - 6-1, 200 / Arlington, Texas - Lamar High School
Beaty on Johnson: "This dude can run. He's a legit 4.3 guy. There are very few 4.4s out there, and few 4.5s, this guy can flat fly, and he will knock you out. We've discovered him in a practice, and he's already bigger. He's 6'2", closer to 265 pounds now. This guy is the type of guy that you want. TCU had a guy a number of years back named James Washington that played in Irving High School. Took him, and he played in the NFL for a long time. And he looks a lot like that guy. He looks a lot like him. He had a lot of the same attributes. So like that guy."
Cooper Root - LB - 6-2, 220 / Wichita, Kansas - Wichita Collegiate High School
Beaty on Root: "This guy's another long, good-looking guy. Could play tight end, H-back. But also is a really, really dynamic linebacker that we like. This kid comes from Collegiate High School, Coach Gehrer, a dear friend of ours, has been good to this program for a number of years. This guy has done a really nice job for them over the last three years playing for them. He's big enough to play the Mike, but he's also fast enough to lineup out there at the Sam and match up with tight ends and things like that as well. He'll hit you. He'll come downhill and do the things that you need him to do, and he's got plenty of size to do it.
"He starts on the basketball team that I think is undefeated. I'm not sure what they did last night, but terrific player, terrific player. Got a great mom and dad. I think the mom told me that's where all the athletic ability came from was Miss Root, if I'm not mistaken. I think she was a big-time track star. But great family, really, really good family."