A Kansas football pre-season wouldn’t be routine without a QB race. And this year in particular could get interesting.
They currently have four QB’s likely in the mix; senior Thomas MacVittie, junior Miles Kendrick, and incoming freshmen Jalon Daniels and Jordan Medley.
The obvious front runners are MacVittie and Kendrick, but don’t look past the two talented freshmen Daniels and Medley. Daniels in particular could be an interesting addition to the QB race this summer as he’s Brent Dearmon’s recruit.
History has shown a true freshman QB starting over an upperclassman is rare, but it’s not impossible.
Here’s a breakdown of each QB and how I believe the offense would look if they are chosen as the starter:
Thomas MacVittie – Senior
Thomas MacVittie is a 6-foot-5 pro-style QB from Cincinnati and was actually listed as the 2nd best JUCO pro-style QB in his class.
Last year he was the favorite to win the starting job but senior Carter Stanley made a late push and eventually took it. MacVittie did get in on one passing play in 2019 but it ended in an interception.
While at Mesa Community College he played in six games and threw for 1,064 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a completion percentage of 53.5%. He also added 252 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
The stats aren’t flashy but MacVittie has the size and athletic ability to be a great QB. His accuracy has been erratic at practices which is possibly why he didn’t win the starting job last year, but he has the arm strength to make just about any throw asked of him.
MacVittie is comfortable in an RPO offense, but he’s not the prototypical RPO style QB. His style fits more of a pro-style offense and this could effect his chances to be named starter as the Kansas offense under OC Brent Dearmon will primarily be RPO.
If MacVittie were to be named starter the offense would be full of big plays but sprinkled with turnovers. His arm strength and athletic ability allow him to make big plays, but his accuracy could be a cause for concern. He’s also mobile for his size and can run the ball or escape pressure when needed.
Miles Kendrick – Junior
A smaller QB, Miles Kendrick is listed at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds. He’s a dual threat QB and comes from San Mateo Community College.
During his time there he played in 11 games and threw for 1,889 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a completion percentage of 57.9%. Kendrick also added 417 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
He’s also played in four games so far at Kansas all in 2018 where he’s tallied up 100 yards passing and one touchdown.
Kendrick has also had issues with throwing accuracy and his arm strength isn’t the best. But he does have the ability to make big plays outside of the pocket which is a large part of the RPO offense.
If Kendrick were to be named starting QB the offense would be run heavy. The offense would likely see a lot of RB’s Pooka Williams and Velton Gardner, but Kendrick would also run often. There wouldn’t be many big passing plays but they could see a lot of big plays from screens, short routes and run plays.
Jordan Medley – Freshman
Although Jordan Medley played at a 3A level high school in North Carolina, he still produced an impressive stat line in the 2018-19 season. He threw for 2,203 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while adding 1,062 yards rushing and 11 rushing touchdowns.
It’ll be interesting to see if Medley stays at QB, but wherever he ends up he’s one heck of an athlete. He’s fast, strong and has the size of a D-1 Power 5 athlete at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds.
Medley is particularly skilled at the QB position because of his ability to use his legs and escape the pocket. He also has a strong arm and has the ability to throw it over the top of defenses.
If Medley were to be named starting QB he’d fit right into the RPO scheme. He has the legs to extend the play and keep the defense honest and he has the arm strength to beat the defense deep.
Being a freshman and new to the Brent Dearmon offense will be difficult to overcome, but if he picks it up quickly he’ll be an exciting candidate. I’d expect a lot of exciting run and pass plays under Medley but it would be peppered with freshman mistakes due to his inexperience at high level competition.
Jalon Daniels – Freshman
Probably the most exciting QB prospect on the Kansas football roster, Jalen Daniels is a dual threat QB out of Lawndale, Calif. Most notably he’s Brent Dearmon’s recruit which could very well play to his advantage in the QB race.
In his senior year Daniels threw for 2,351 yards and 26 touchdowns, while adding 940 rushing yards and ten rushing touchdowns. His unbelievable quickness and sharp decision making is what makes him stand out.
If Daniels were to be named starting QB Kansas could be in for an exciting season. He’d have the typical freshman mistakes but it wouldn’t over shadow his ability to make big plays.
Under Daniels the offense would see a solid mix of run and pass plays, but most interesting would be to see how Daniels quickness and play making abilities would add to star RB Pooka Williams’ quickness and craftiness in the backfield. The two together could be a nightmare for Big 12 defenses.
If I were a bettin’ man I’d say MacVittie is the clear favorite and most likely player to trot out on the field come game one. He has the experience and potential to be a big time threat in the Big 12. But in order to capitalize on that potential MacVittie will have to hone in on his accuracy and put in the extra time and reps during the summer to really mesh with the RPO offense.
Having said that, my vote and hope is for Jalon Daniels to be starter come game one. He has the biggest upside in the RPO style offense and would get the future of Kansas football on track much quicker. The program needs progress as quick as possible, and I think Daniels is just the guy to give it to them.