Foes to Know: Kansas

RaiderPower.com is taking a closer look at Texas Tech's 12 regular season football opponents in 2015. Senior writer Joe Yeager will spotlight two players who could pose problems for the Red Raiders. One will be on offense and the other will be from the defense. Up next in the series is Kansas, led by coach Clint Bowen (pictured above).

Given that Kansas football has never been what one would call a traditional powerhouse, it might be a bit of a stretch to say the program is suffering from the “curse of the Mangino.”

Yet, the reality is that Mark Mangino led the Jayhawks to a BCS bowl game in 2008, and that KU has returned to the dumpster since Mangino was fired. Mangino’s replacement Turner Gill was a disaster, and recently departed Charlie Weis was a fiasco.

But the times, they may be a-changin’ in Lawrence. In David Beaty the Jayhawks appear to have a real football coach again. At the very least, Beaty will be an improvement over his two immediate predecessors, and should eventually make Kansas competitive again.

Eventually is the key term there, however. For the time being, Beaty must work with the least talented roster in the Big 12, and that means at least one more rough year for the KU faithful. All 78 of them.

Offensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTNOTEWORTHY
Kent TaylorTEJRTampa, FL6-5220Transferred from Florida

It is an index of Charlie Weis’ poor recruiting that transfers may be the best players on both sides of the ball for the Jayhawks. On the offensive side, that transfer would be tight end Kent Taylor.

Coming out of high school in Florida, Taylor was generally regarded as the best tight end prospect in the nation. He initially signed with Florida and played sporadically as a freshman. As a sophomore, however, he didn’t see the field, but did see the writing on the wall. What he read precipitated a transfer to Kansas where he will be eligible this season.

Although technically a tight end, Taylor’s speed and finesse style mean that he is more like a very large receiver. Taylor will spend most of his time in the slot of Kansas’ new spread offense, but will also be split wide occasionally to create matchup problems.

If Taylor comes anywhere close to living up to his high school credentials, he will not only be Kansas’ best offensive player, but one of the better receivers in the Big 12.

Defensive Player to Watch
NAMEPOSCLASSHOMETOWNHTWTNOTEWORTHY
Marcquis RobertsLBSRPowder Springs, GA6-1220Graduate transfer from South Carolia
As much as Kansas will count on Kent Taylor to add a spark to the offense, the Jayhawks will count equally on Marcquis Roberts to shore up a depleted linebacker corps.

Kansas lost Ben Heeney, one of the best linebackers to ever suit up in the Big 12, to the Oakland Raiders. They also lost Heeney’s sidekick, Jake Love, who himself was a pretty darned good ‘backer. Unsurprisingly, the Jayhawk roster featured no replacements remotely as talented as Heeney, and the situation looked grim.

Enter Marcquis Roberts. He is a graduate transfer from South Carolina who battled injuries for most of his career in the SEC. When healthy, however, Roberts started 14 games in Columbia.

Now it looks like a cinch that he’ll be a starter in Lawrence. Roberts has already caught the eye of defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, and if injury doesn’t bite Roberts again, he will not only start, but could star.

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