Big 12: Tre Parmalee

Spring game review: Kansas

April, 14, 2014
4/14/14
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The time is now for the Kansas program under Charlie Weis. The Jayhawks head coach made several changes to his coaching staff this offseason, including the addition of new offensive coordinator John Reagan. Saturday’s spring game was unique, with the Blue team featuring KU’s first and second-teamers and the White squad featuring the third and fourth-teamers. In addition, all quarterbacks were live, meaning they could be hit, as KU tries to find its starting quarterback. Here’s what happened:

Best offensive performance: After entering the game alongside Jake Heaps as dual front-runners to start at quarterback, Montell Cozart was the best signal-caller on the field. The sophomore finished with 70 rushing yards and two touchdowns along with a game-high 58 passing yards, completing 6 of 10 passes. Cozart didn’t lock himself in as the Jayhawks starter, but Weis was pleased with what he saw.

[+] EnlargeMontell Cozart
AP Photo/Orlin WagnerMontell Cozart made several plays with his legs and showed poise in the pocket in Kansas' spring game.
"I was pleased to see him sit in the pocket,” Weis said. “We know he can bootleg and run on the edge, but it was good to see him show some poise in the pocket."

Best defensive performance: Linebacker Jake Love is a quiet playmaker alongside fellow linebacker Ben Heeney, who garners most of the headlines. Love finished with a game-high 10 tackles, including six solo stops. Love, who averaged 4.8 tackles per game in 2013, picked right up where he left off during the spring game. He could join Heeney to give KU one of the better linebacker duos in the conference.

Best debut: Receiver Nick Harwell’s final numbers were uninspiring. Four receptions for 31 yards won’t send fear into the hearts of Big 12 defensive coordinators. Those same coordinators would be wise to learn the name of the Miami (Ohio) transfer. His playmaking ability was evident and, if the spring game is any indication, Reagan’s offense is likely to try to put the ball in his hands often this fall.

Notable play: Cozart’s 60-yard run in the fourth quarter was the longest run of the game and was a glimpse at the reason why he could have the edge in the quarterback race if he continues to develop as a passer. He’s far from a finished product, but the sophomore could be a playmaker for Reagan’s offense.

Developing storyline: Michael Cummings has been the forgotten name in KU’s quarterback battle, yet he looked like the second-best quarterback on the field, outperforming Heaps and UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard. Cummings, playing on the White team, which featured third and fourth-teamers, led his squad on a 12-play, 74-yard drive against the No. 1 defense that resulted in the only points of the first half, a 26-yard receiver pass from Tre’ Parmalee to Andrew Turzilli. Cummings didn't finish with great numbers (3-of-10, 42 yards, INT) but looked like his name should be alongside Heaps and Millweard behind Cozart.

Biggest question answered: The Jayhawks have some playmakers emerging on offense to help offset the loss of running back James Sims. Harwell will be a threat at receiver, Tony Pierson is one of the Big 12’s most explosive threats when healthy and running back Brandon Bourbon more than held his own at Sims’ former spot in the backfield with 12 carries for 96 yards. KU’s offensive line and quarterback play will decide how explosive this offense can be, with multiple playmaking options starting to emerge at running back and receiver.

Quotable: “We still have questions, but we also have a lot more answers now than we did in the beginning of the spring. We've implemented a new offense and we still have a ways to go, but I think it's positive at this stage. We've got to continue raising the bar around here." -- Weis

Kansas Jayhawks spring wrap

May, 1, 2013
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2012 record: 1-11
2012 Big 12 record: 0-9
Returning starters: Offense: 5; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners: RB James Sims, RB Tony Pierson, LB Ben Heeney, LB Jake Love

Key losses: OL Tanner Hawkinson, DL Toben Opurum, DB Bradley McDougald, WR Kale Pick, QB Dayne Crist, DB Lubbock Smith

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Passing: Dayne Crist (1,313 yards)
Rushing: James Sims* (1,013 yards)
Receiving: Kale Pick (390 yards)
Tackles: Ben Heeney (112)
Sacks: Kevin Young* (2)
Interceptions: Bradley McDougald, Tyler Patmon (3)

Spring answers

1. No questions at quarterback. As expected, there's not much of a quarterback competition this spring. Michael Cummings stepped in last season and earned a few starts after Dayne Crist struggled, throwing nine interceptions to just four touchdowns, but BYU transfer Jake Heaps has claimed the job this spring. He had to redshirt last season after transferring, but dominated on the scout team. The former blue-chip recruit started two seasons at BYU before transferring.

2. Big growth at linebacker. Kansas needs improvement everywhere, so anywhere it happens is a welcome development. Defensively, linebacker should be a clear strength for a KU defense that improved last year but still struggled. Linebackers Ben Heeney and Jake Love had strong springs and looked much improved. Heeney already played well last season, but he may be a serious All-Big 12 first-team talent next season considering the amount of talent at the position that's left the league since 2012.

3. Defensive playmakers emerging. Kansas brought in tons of junior college talent this offseason, but a few have already stood out in the spring. Defensive back Dexter McDonald left the team and went to junior college last season, but he's back and making an impact, and defensive lineman Ty McKinney stood out during the spring, along with defensive back Cassius Sendish, one of the nation's best juco players at Arizona Western a year ago.

Fall questions

1. Will the streak end? This is by far the most important question of Kansas' 2013 season. The current Big 12 losing streak stands at 21 games, and odds favor it ending before too long. If we're still talking about a 30-game losing streak in Big 12 play this time next year, coach Charlie Weis will be on very, very thin ice. KU came close in losses to Texas Tech and Texas last season, but a win is a win. The Jayhawks haven't experienced that in Big 12 play since a 2010 win against Colorado, and haven't beaten a current Big 12 team since beating Iowa State in the 2009 conference opener.

2. Is Jake Heaps really any different from Dayne Crist? Optimism is high around Heaps after KU's other transfer quarterback, Crist, flamed out last season and lost his starting job to a freshman. Heaps has better weapons than Crist, highlighted by Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay, but KU's offense is short on depth at the offensive skill positons, and the offensive line has to prove it can block for him and create holes for the running game to soften up defenses. We'll see how well Heaps ultimately does.

3. Can Kansas find offensive weapons? McCay is a big upgrade, but you can't hide from the fact this team went 12 games last season without a touchdown catch from a receiver. That's simply not good enough in the Big 12 and not a problem one receiver can solve. Tony Pierson and James Sims offer a great 1-2 punch in the running game, but will other receivers like Tre Parmalee or Andrew Turzilli step up?

Weak and Strong: Kansas Jayhawks

April, 2, 2013
4/02/13
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Turnover is an annual tradition in college football, but with that, teams' strengths and weaknesses constantly shift, too. Today, we'll continue our look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses for each Big 12 team.

Next up: Kansas.

Strongest position: Running back

It seems like this has been the case for awhile at KU, but don't expect it to change in 2013. Say what you will about Turner Gill, but the man recruited the heck out of the running back position, and the Jayhawks are reaping the benefits now. James Sims and Anthony Pierson highlight the group, and both were among the Big 12's top 10 at the position. Before Lache Seastrunk's late-season emergence, Sims had a pretty good case ahead of Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle as the Big 12's best back.

Sims topped 1,000 yards on just 218 carries and scored nine times, averaging better than 4.5 yards per carry with an offense that had zero passing threat for opposing defenses. The closest thing to a passing threat was the Jayhawks' No. 2 back, Pierson, who ran for 760 yards and four scores on just 117 carries, averaging better than 6.5 yards a touch. Pierson helped the passing game tremendously, catching 21 balls for 291 yards and two scores. KU's backs run pretty deep, too. Taylor Cox added 464 yards on 91 carries, scoring three times. Brandon Bourbon has had issues staying healthy, but he can provide even more depth.

KU's still trying to get over the hump and end its 21-game Big 12 losing streak, but without the running backs, the close calls in 2012 like games against Texas and Texas Tech wouldn't have been possible. If KU wins a league game this time around, the running backs will be a huge reason why.

Weakest position: Receiver

If I told you a Big 12 team fielded an offense in which no receiver caught a touchdown pass in 12 games, I'm betting you wouldn't have a hard time believing that Big 12 team won exactly zero conference games. You've got to be able to produce big plays and score points in the Big 12 to be competitive, and KU couldn't do that with its passing game.

The lack of a passing threat was something of a chicken-and-egg situation last season, but as much as Dayne Crist struggled, he got zero help from his receivers. Kale Pick led the unit with 390 yards on 26 catches, but he's gone this year and Pierson's actually the team's leading returning receiver. So is Daymond Patterson and D.J. Beshears, but KU's got to restart at the position and find a new set of threats. Returning players Andrew Turzilli and Tre Parmalee have some potential, but for KU, now is the time for Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay to step up. New quarterback Jake Heaps needs all the help he can get, and McCay's the most physically gifted player in the group. Newcomers Rodriguez Coleman, Mark Thomas and Ishmael Hyman don't have much standing between them and playing time, though. Receivers across the Big 12 are great. KU doesn't have anyone who fits that bill. It needs to change fast.

Breaking down spring camp: Kansas

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
9:00
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Kansas will be the next Big 12 team to take the field for spring practice later today. Time for a closer look.

Schedule: The first of KU's 15 NCAA-allowed practices will be today, leading up to a spring game in Lawrence on April 13.

What's new: Kansas made some minor shifts in its coaching staff, but the real attraction in Lawrence this spring is the influx of junior college talent. We'll get to that a bit later. The biggest staff change is Clint Bowen stepping up to coach the linebackers, replacing DeMontie Cross, who left for TCU this offseason.

New faces: This list is about to get serious, so buckle up. That's what you have to expect when about three-fourths of your class is junior college transfers. Kansas is bringing in 11 players early this spring.
  • CB Colin Spencer
  • DT Marquel Combs
  • OT Zach Fondal
  • OG Ngalu Fusimalohi
  • DT Tedarian Johnson
  • DE Chris Martin
  • CB Dexter McDonald
  • DT Ty McKinney
  • P/KOS Trevor Pardula
  • CB Cassius Sendish
  • OL Mike Smithburg

That's obviously a big haul, and KU's focusing on grabbing an immediate talent upgrade. Whether they have one in reality will show up this spring.

All eyes on: Quarterback Jake Heaps. KU seemed like it was set at the position after Heaps and Dayne Crist transferred from major programs following Charlie Weis' hire. Last year's campaign with Crist went poorly and he was benched midway through the season. Heaps would like better results and has already entrenched himself as a leader like Crist did. Will it lead to better results on the field? We may get a feel for that this spring.

Question marks: Kansas needs receiver help and needs it badly. But I like the defense's chances to make some further strides after some improvements last season under Dave Campo. The receiving unit having no touchdown catches last season is inexcusable, though. It just has to be better. Juco transfer Rodriguez Coleman won't be there in the spring, but guys like Chris Omigie, Tre Parmalee and Andrew Turzilli need to show progress this spring and fill in for the losses of Daymond Patterson and Kale Pick.

Breaking out: Defensive tackle Jordan Tavai. There will be a lot of attention paid to Marquel Combs this spring, but Tavai showed up midway through fall camp last season and earned a starting spot by season's end. After going through the offseason program and having a season under his belt, he could be a new man next fall for the Jayhawks. The senior juco transfer could show off some of that progress this spring.

ESPN.com's All-Big 12 Freshman Team

December, 11, 2012
12/11/12
9:00
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We ran down our All-Big 12 team yesterday, but here's my best of the bunch among freshmen.

Learn these names. You'll need to in the future.

Let's take a look:

OFFENSE

QB: J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
RB: Johnathan Gray, Texas
RB: B.J. Catalon, TCU
WR: Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
WR: LaDarius Brown, TCU
WR: Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech
OL: Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL: Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
OL: Ty Darlington, Oklahoma
OL: Aviante Collins, TCU
OL: Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech

DEFENSE

DL: Devonte Fields, TCU
DL: Malcom Brown, Texas
DL: Davion Pierson, TCU
DL: Branden Jackson, Texas Tech
LB: Dalton Santos, Texas
LB: Isaiah Bruce, West Virginia
LB: Jake Love, Kansas
CB: Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State
CB: Dante Barnett, Kansas State
S: Chris Hackett, TCU
S: Karl Joseph, West Virginia

SPECIALISTS:

PK: Jaden Oberkrom, TCU
P: Ethan Perry, TCU
KR: Tre Parmalee, Kansas
PR: Deante Gray, TCU

Updated 2012 Big 12 recruiting scorecard

December, 20, 2011
12/20/11
9:00
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So, the season gets, you know, kind of crazy. It's unrelenting, and recruiting plummets in priority. Thus, we haven't had a recruiting update since before the season.

Time to update.

Signing Day is less than two months away, and here's where each Big 12 team sits as we hit the recruiting home stretch before the big day in February.

All commit totals, rankings and stars via ESPN Recruiting, which updated its national recruiting rankings this week.

1. Texas Longhorns

National ranking: No. 1
Total commits: 25
ESPNU 150 commits: 10
Key commits: RB Johnathan Gray, DT Malcom Brown, WR Cayleb Jones, QB Connor Brewer
Class notes: Four of Texas' top five commits are skill position players, a huge need for the Longhorns. They're one of a handful of schools still chasing one of the nation's top recruits, too, receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Gray will come to Texas as the Gatorade National Player of the Year. Texas also has two juco transfers coming next year, OT Donald Hawkins and DT Brandon Moore, a rarity for the Longhorns.

2. Texas A&M Aggies

National ranking: No. 8
Total commits: 22
ESPNU 150 commits: 4
Key commits: OLB Jordan Richmond, RB Trey Williams, ATH Bralon Addison, QB Matt Davis
Class notes: Texas A&M's class is being spearheaded by Davis, who's spreading the "Agg Swagg Movement" via social media, and Texas A&M will enter the SEC with one of its best classes in recent history. It's a deep class, too. Eleven of the 22 commits earned four-star status on ESPN.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

National ranking: No. 9
Total commits: 17
ESPNU 150 commits: 5
Key commits: RB Alex Ross, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Durron Neal, OL Ty Darlington
Class notes: The Sooners are after DGB, too, but may have a sudden big need at running back after a handful of transfers over the past few months. ESPNU 150 signee from 2010 Trey Metoyer, a receiver, is expected to be in Norman next year after spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy. He'll offer some nice help, but will Landry Jones be throwing him the ball?

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders

National ranking: No. 17
Total commits: 22
ESPNU 150 commits: 3
Key commits: WR Reginald Davis, WR Dominique Wheeler, OT Michael Starts, QB Clayton Nicholas
Class notes: The Red Raiders added five commits since our last update, but Davis, Wheeler and Starts should all be nice pickups and additions to an offense that lacked a big-play threat this year when Darrin Moore was battling injuries. Tech is also adding five juco transfers, including two more receivers and a pair of pass-rushers.

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Total commits: 16
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: TE Dominic Ramacher, OLB Jeremiah Tshimanga, QB Wes Lunt
Class notes: Texas swiped CB Kendall Sanders with a late recruiting push, following a few high-profile former OSU commits to go elsewhere. This year's class won't make many headlines, but it'll be interesting to see if the 2011 Big 12 title pays off in the 2013 recruiting class. OSU knows definitively now that it can be better than OU and Texas. Lunt, an Illinois native, is an uber-productive dual-threat. Former blue-chipper Calvin Barnett, a DT from Tulsa, spurned OSU for Arkansas on Signing Day 2010, but he's committed this year via junior college.

6. Baylor Bears

Total commits: 19
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: ATH Corey Coleman, OT Kyle Fuller, CB Terrell Burt, WR Kiante' Griffin
Class notes: Baylor added a handful of recruits just before the season to reach 18 commits, and added just one commit over the course of the season. Baylor's grabbed big-time recruits like Ahmad Dixon and Kendall Wright in the past that have been productive, but there's no big name in this class just yet.

7. Missouri Tigers

Total commits: 15
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: DT Donald Hopkins, QB Maty Mauk, ILB Donavin Newsom
Class notes: Missouri is chasing DGB too, but the story this season has been class attrition for the Tigers. They were in the top 20 but lost ESPNU 150 commit Evan Boehm, who decommitted. The Tigers fell out of the top 25 and fell behind Oklahoma State and Baylor. Running back Jonathan Williams took his four stars to Arkansas and OT Germain Ifedi moved to fellow future SEC member Texas A&M. Mauk, Hopkins and Newsom are the only remaining four-star recruits in the class.

8. Iowa State Cyclones

Total commits: 20
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: OT Daniel Burton WR P.J. Harris, WR Quan West, QB Grant Rohach
Class notes: The Cyclones added 11 commits since our last update. Three of the Cyclones top four commits are offensive skill position players, but Burton is the class' top commit. He committed on Sept. 29. A second QB, Luke Knott, committed way back in April. His older brother, Jake Knott, is a star linebacker for the Cyclones. Paul Rhoads' 10-year contract extension could help on the recruiting trail next year, too, offering parents some security that he'll still be coaching their sons for their whole careers. ISU has no four-star commits, but eight three-stars.

9. Kansas State Wildcats

Total commits: 11
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR Vernon Vaughn, DT Travis Britz, RB Jarvis Leverett, QB Tavarius Bender
Class notes: Kansas State added four commits since our preseason update. Seven of the commits are three-stars and just one is committed via junior college. Two commits are unranked.

10. Kansas Jayhawks

Total commits: 8
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: QB Seth Russell, TE Jordan Smith, OG Brian Beckmann
Class notes: ATH Bilal Marshall and DE De'Jon Wilson are no longer committed and new Kansas coach Charlie Weis has his work cut out for him. He says he doesn't want to be under scholarship numbers, but he doesn't want to offer guys just to fill scholarships with bodies. It'll be a tough balance. He's got catching up to do. WR Tre Parmalee and DT Keon Stowers are Weis' first two commits.

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