Beaty hires A.J. Ricker to coach the KU offensive line
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football head coach David Beaty has found his new offensive line coach as he announced the hiring of A.J. Ricker to his staff Wednesday. A seasoned-veteran among offensive line coaches, Ricker not only played offensive line in the Big 12 Conference, but he has coached the position in the Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Big Ten, American Athletic Conference and Mid-American Athletic Conference.
“A.J. has seen it all,” said Beaty. “He has both coached and played with the best of the best. I like the way his offensive linemen play. They are tough, gritty guys. They play with tenacity and I am looking forward to him bringing that edge to our program.”
Prior to joining the Jayhawk staff, Ricker spent the 2017 campaign on the Oklahoma State staff, serving as an offensive analyst, working directly with the offensive line. During his lone season at OSU, the Cowboys ranked second nationally in total offense, averaging 568.9 yards per game, including having the nation’s top passing offense at 389.2 yards per outing.
Ricker was in a similar role in 2016 at Houston. While he was on staff at UH, the Cougars ranked 26th nationally in scoring offense at 35.6 points per game and were 17th in the FBS in passing offense, averaging 296.3 yards per contest.
A Missouri graduate, Ricker returned to his alma mater as the offensive line coach for 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In his first year of guiding the Tiger offensive line, Ricker molded a young unit into one that improved over the course of the year and played a key role in MU’s late-season surge to claim the SEC Eastern Division title. Despite having just one player return in the same spot he manned in 2013, Ricker’s line paved the way for 5,138 yards of offense in a well-balanced attack that featured 2,648 passing yards and 2,490 rushing yards.
Under Ricker’s watch, left tackle Mitch Morse developed into a top-line performer, as Morse was honored as a 2nd-Team All-SEC player by league coaches. Morse was invited to the NFL Combine and went on to be a second round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2015 NFL Draft. Through his first three NFL seasons, Morse has played in 38 games for the Chiefs, starting all 38.
In addition, Ricker also mentored Evan Boehm, who set an MU record with 52 career starts. Boehm started all 12 games his freshman season at right guard, before moving to center for his final three seasons, starting all 40 games. He went on to be a fourth round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Ricker came to Mizzou with eight years of coaching experience under his belt. He began his coaching resume as a graduate assistant at Western Michigan, serving in that role for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, before advancing to a full-time assistant role as offensive line coach in 2008.
Ricker moved to St. Joseph’s College (in Rensselaer, Ind.) as offensive line coach in 2009, and served the 2010 season as the program’s head coach before later returning to WMU for the 2011 and 2012 seasons as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator.
Following his second stint at Western Michigan, Ricker spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the offensive line coach at Illinois.
Ricker was an All-Big 12 First Team center as a senior at Missouri in 2003, as part of the first bowl-eligible team at MU since 1998. He started 47-consecutive games at center for the Tigers from 2000-03, which established a record at any position at MU at the time, and served as a two-time team captain.
Ricker earned his undergraduate degree from Mizzou in agriculture in 2004. Following his graduation, he signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Chicago Bears and was allocated to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe in 2005. In 2006, and for part of 2007, he was a member of the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm before retiring from his playing days.
Ricker and his wife, Lauren, have one son, Andrew.