A week after signing day, the composition of Big 12 rosters is starting to come into focus for 2016.
Some programs used the class of 2016 to address needs, while questions about other positions are poised to linger into the spring and beyond. Now is the perfect time to take a closer look at each program in the Big 12 including the strength and weakness of each team post-signing day.
We continue the series with Kansas:
Biggest need heading into signing day: Defensive line
The Jayhawks lost multiple contributors along the defensive line, including defensive end Ben Goodman Jr. and defensive tackle Corey King. Goodman was particularly key; in addition to his 51 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks this past season, he was a veteran presence on a young defense. Kansas needs playmakers here, even though David Beaty’s team has some promising young defensive linemen on campus, led by Daniel Wise and Dorance Armstrong Jr.
How it was addressed: Kansas signed a pair of junior college defensive tackles in Isi Holani and DeeIsaac Davis. Both are three-star players with good bulk to provide some weight and competition in the middle of the defense. Davis is the higher-rated of the duo as the No. 14 junior college defensive tackle in the nation.
“He's a big dude. He's quick off the ball. He can be disruptive in the middle. We really do need that,” Beaty said of Davis. “I really like this guy. Very instinctual, very intelligent. Kansas guy. Like him a lot.”
Prep defensive end Isaiah Bean has terrific length at 6-foot-5 and is a raw talent who played quarterback his junior year in high school.
“A lot of upside about this guy,” Beaty said of Bean. “We had a real need for a pass-rush[er]. We lost Ben Goodman, who was a big pass-rush guy for us. We're looking for more dynamic than that. We need long and fast."
The Jayhawks didn’t load up at the position, but they may have gotten immediate help in the defensive interior and a raw talent on the outside who could turn out being a hidden gem.
Position of strength: Linebacker
Kansas didn’t have a single player step up to replace Ben Heeney. Yet the Jayhawks had a solid linebacking corps thanks to the growth of Joe Dineen and the influx of intensity from South Carolina transfer Marcquis Roberts. Dineen and Roberts combined for 157 tackles in 2015. Beaty and the Jayhawks have plenty of holes to fill throughout the roster, but the linebacker spot brings peace of mind.
Biggest remaining weakness: Receiver
A lot of spots still need to be filled, but the Jayhawks could really use a playmaking receiver, particularly in the up-tempo spread attack Beaty has installed. Kansas has some young pass-catchers on campus, and added a pair of prep receivers —Evan Fairs and Keegan Brewer —in the class of 2016. It doesn’t matter who steps up so long as someone does.