🏈 Jayhawks Set to Open Spring Practice

Nearly four months after the 2020 season finished, the Kansas Jayhawks are set to return to the field Tuesday to open spring practice.

The Jayhawks will practice 15 times leading up to the May 1 Spring Game.

The team arrived back on campus in January after winter break and have been working with strength and conditioning coach Ben Iannacchione and his staff to prepare for spring ball. The first five or so weeks of the offseason conditioning period with Iannacchione were spent building strength after the season and long winter break, while also focusing on speed and explosion.

“We really wanted to focus on getting them strong again,” Iannacchione said. “I’m also a big believer in body composition. I want our guys not to be carrying around a lot of non-functioning mass. So we focused on that during the early offseason.”

Iannacchione continued on what’s next: “We would like to continue to try to get strong, to try to get more powerful. We’ll start doing a lot more of our Olympic lifting and incorporating that into the weight room as well, and really just build upon the foundation we’ve already laid during the first few weeks.”

Iannacchione singled out the defensive line as a group that has excelled during the offseason conditioning. That group is a deep and talented one that had strong production last season. It features a mix of upperclassmen (Caleb Sampson, Sam Burt, Malcolm Lee) with several promising underclassmen (Marcus Harris, Da’Jon Terry, Jereme Robinson, Caleb Taylor and Kenean Caldwell).

“Our D-Line has been phenomenal,” Iannacchione said. “Marcus Harris, Da’Jon Terry, Caleb Sampson, Jereme Robinson, Caleb Taylor, Sam Burt, that whole group has been really, really good. I’m excited for our defensive line.”

This year’s team will also benefit from the added leadership of eight super-seniors who are using their extra year of eligibility to suit up for the Jayhawks again. On the offensive side, Kansas will welcome back receiver Kwamie Lassiter, offensive linemen Chris Hughes, Malik Clark and Adagio Lopeti, while Burt, linebacker Kyron Johnson and safeties Ricky Thomas and Nate Betts will return on defense.

On the flip side, the Jayhawks have several freshmen who enrolled mid-year to participate in spring ball. Quarterbacks Ben Easters and Conrad Hawley will both go through spring practice, as will offensive linemen De’Kedrick Sterns and Larson Workman on offense. Defensively, safeties OJ Burroughs and Jayson Gilliom will join cornerback DeVonte Wilson as enrollees. Also joining the Jayhawks this spring is transfer offensive lineman Colin Grunhard from Notre Dame and walk-ons Kevin Terry (wide receiver) and Kwinton Lassiter (cornerback).

“They’ve been awesome,” Iannacchione said of the newcomers. “We have a lot of young (defensive backs). We have some older DBs who have taken them under their wings as well. They’ve been doing a great job.”

The Jayhawks will hit the practice field at 3:55 p.m., Tuesday to start it all off. Practices are closed to the public. To keep up with the Jayhawks throughout the spring, follow along on Twitter at @KU_Football.