🏈 Mayberry Eager to Improve off Freshman Season

LAWRENCE, Kan. — When Duece Mayberry made his way up the stairs of the Anderson Family Football Complex on Thursday night after practice to chat with members of the local media on zoom, it was hard to miss the jacket he was sporting.

A true freshman in 2020, Mayberry had his brand-new letterman’s jacket proudly on, buttoned to the top with the Giant blue “K” on display for all to see.

See, when you play in eight of nine games in your first year and earn extensive playing time, while breaking up three passes and recovering two fumbles, it’s clear you earned that letter – so you might as well show it off.

Mayberry felt more comfortable as his freshman season went on, and now is looking to take that improvement into this spring and eventually his sophomore season.

“I feel like I made a lot of progress,” Mayberry said. “I feel like my feet are getting faster, I feel stronger, and the game’s slowing down for me. I think I made my biggest improvements in the middle of the year (last season). The game was slowing down for me, and I started understanding things more. It just has carried on into this year.”

Of course, just because Mayberry earned the letter and made his presence known during his first season in Lawrence, doesn’t mean he’s not ready to improve and get better for his sophomore season.

He has worked endlessly with his position coach, Chevis Jackson on how to refine his game and continue to grow as a college player.

“Me and Coach Jackon have been having a great relationship since I was in high school,” Mayberry said. “I’ve been close to him for a while now. He’s a very good coach. He’s helped me with a lot of things.”

A second-year player now with a year under his belt, Mayberry has started to look to lead more for a young group of cornerbacks that features fellow second-year player Karon Prunty, along with Ra’mello Dotson, Jacobee Bryant and DeVonte Wilson.

Like all of his teammates, Mayberry has looked to bring extra energy to practice and has seen the same from everyone around him.

“I think we’re going to grow a lot,” Mayberry said. “I believe in the offense and the defense. I think we’re going to do great things when the season starts. The energy has been great. Everyone can’t wait to go to practice after school.”

Daniels Enjoying First Spring Ball

Like Mayberry, quarterback Jalon Daniels played a lot of football during his true freshman season last year and is experiencing spring practice for the first time in his career.

Needless to say, the easy-going quarterback with a frequent wide smile, is enjoying his time on the practice fields a few months after his first season completed. Daniels played in seven games last year as a freshman and started six.

“Coming in, I learned a lot,” Daniels said. “Getting thrown into the fire, playing in my first game, starting at Baylor, learning about the defenses, and learning how to be a leader.”

And since that first season is now in the books, where has he made the greatest strides already this spring?

“My comfortability and decision-making,” Daniels said. “I was always scared about making a decision. Now I’m more decisive in practice.”

Daniels said all the Jayhawk quarterbacks have been splitting reps so far this spring, including Miles Kendrick, Miles Fallin, Tory Locklin and newcomers Conrad Hawley and Ben Easters.

“We’re all communicating with each other,” Daniels said. “We’re all pushing each other.”