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Need to Know

Weis Solidifies K.U.’s Quarterback Future

Kansas already has a quarterback. His name is Jordan Webb: a sophomore, Webb started this fall on a strong note but, like his team, bottomed out over the season’s final two months. Webb is a serviceable college quarterback, as his numbers indicate, and not necessarily the sort of quarterback Charlie Weis desires in his pro-style offense. So to amend this fact, Weis went out and got a quarterback. Then he got another. And in doing so, Weis solidified the position for the foreseeable future.

Seeing that Weis has already stated that he plans on being in Lawrence for only five years — calling the program a “quick stop” — reeling in two former top-rated quarterbacks means he might not experience the sort of worries and concerns that plagued Turner Gill’s two years with the programs.

Todd Reesing wasn’t walking through the door for Gill, who got little from his quarterbacks this fall and even less a year ago. The revolving door at the position eventually settled on Webb, who started the year with 11 touchdowns through his first five games but tossed only a pair the rest of the way.

Weis might not have unearthed another Reesing; those sort of quarterbacks come along not often at all, and even less for a program like Kansas. And yesterday’s pair, even if each puts up similar numbers, will differ from Reesing in one distinct manner: since arriving in college football, both have been expected to excel.

Dayne Crist was destined for Kansas the day Charlie Weis was hired, though Wisconsin, thanks to Russell Wilson’s wonderful senior season, certainly held its fair share of appeal. But heading to Lawrence reunites Crist not merely with the coach who originally recruited him to Notre Dame but also an offense best-suited for his pro-style roots; he was lost in Brian Kelly’s spread-based attack.

Thanks to an N.C.A.A. loophole, Crist, like Wilson at Wisconsin, will be eligible to play immediately. All he needs to do is find a graduate program not available in South Bend: Jeremiah Masoli broke the mold at Mississippi by selecting Parks and Recreation Management as his area of study, so it’ll be hard for Crist to top that.

Meet your new starter, Kansas. And he’s a huge upgrade, regardless of his red zone and decision-making woes for the Fighting Irish. Crist will be back in his comfort zone playing under Weis, back in a system that fits him to the letter, and he represents a significant improvement over Webb, who never gave less than 100 percent but doesn’t seem to fit into the program’s future plans.

And the Jayhawks weren’t done yet. Later yesterday afternoon, Weis and Kansas reeled in another high-profile transfer in former B.Y.U. quarterback Jake Heaps, giving the program its quarterback of the future. After starting as a true freshman, Heaps lost his hold on the starting job midway through this season, when the Cougars turned the offense over to Riley Nelson — another former transfer, but I digress.

Don’t listen to the doubters: Heaps can play, and would have played again at B.Y.U. had he so chose. He wasn’t forced out so much as wanted out, thanks to a deteriorating relationship with the B.Y.U. coaching staff and a desire for a fresh start.

Heaps will get that at Kansas, as well as the chance to spend the 2012 season along the sidelines as a redshirt. Looking back, he probably should have taken a redshirt in 2010 rather than get thrown into the fire; next year will give Heaps a chance to catch his breath, not to mention learn the intricacies of Weis’s quarterback-friendly offense.

First Crist, then Heaps, and Kansas has settled its quarterback position through the 2014 season. Crist runs the show next fall while Heaps takes a redshirt. If all goes according to plan, Heaps takes over Crist in 2013 and starts the next two seasons. In the span of four hours, Weis settled one of the program’s pressing needs — both today and the future.

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  1. Lee says:

    Weis will use these qb’s to win 6 games for the next 4 years. The problem is that Weis’s teams never play defense so he will have to outscore the Big 12 opponents. That’s not a recipe for 10-12 win seasons.

    He will get them back to a bowl though which is huge for Kansas.

  2. [...] Sad, but true:  Charlie Weis gets commitments from two quarterbacks who lost their starting spots at other schools and it’s hailed as a major step up for the quarterbacking situation at Kansas.  Too bad he can’t fix the defense like that. [...]

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