Senior in the spotlight: Kansas

We see it every season. A player who has flashed dynamic playmaking ability, but without consistency.

Then, finally, with only their senior season left, the light bulb turns on and we see player we haven’t seen before. Last year Texas Tech wide receiver Jakeem Grant fit the mold perfectly, a guy who had always put fear in defenders' hearts but took his game to a different level as a senior.

In our “Senior in the spotlight” series we’ll be singling out one senior at each Big 12 school who could be poised for an exceptional final campaign thanks to a combination of opportunity and desire to turn up their game.

We kick off the series with Kansas:

Linebacker Courtney Arnick

Career stats: 125 tackles including 8.5 tackles for loss, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, one sack and one interception

Summary: Arnick has started games in each of his first three seasons yet hasn’t solidified himself as an unquestioned starter. The Dallas native has played 35 career games with 14 starts heading into his final season in Lawrence.

His senior year is critical, as his production has gone backward during his career with 51 tackles as a freshman, 45 tackles as a sophomore and 29 tackles as a junior. With Marcquis Roberts and Joe Dineen Jr. returning as Kansas’ most productive linebackers, Arnick will need to make an impact as a role linebacker and special teams standout to finish his career strong.

Best-case scenario for 2016: Arnick returns to his freshman production level, forcing the Jayhawks coaching staff to find ways to get him on the field more often behind or even alongside Dineen Jr. and Roberts. Arnick also separates himself as a core member of the Jayhawks' special teams.

Worst-case scenario for 2016: For the first time in his career Arnick doesn’t even start a game, as the downward slide in his production continues. The senior finishes his career making a minimal impact as a backup linebacker and special teams player as other linebackers pass him on the pecking order.