When Charlie Weis took over the head coaching duties of the Kansas Jayhawks in January, 2012, he wasted no time in cleaning house to try and set the tone for the way things would be done under his watch. In all, 29 players were removed from the team by Weis since he started, but one of those exiled Jayhawks is coming back after running back Darrian Miller was reinstated to the team on Tuesday, giving Kansas one of the deepest backfields in the entire Big 12.
Miller was coming off a strong freshman campaign in 2011, rushing for 559 yards on 136 carries with four touchdowns in a backup role to James Sims. His production helped make the case that Miller could be the most talented player in the Kansas backfield, but his attitude left much more to be desired. Weis dismissed Miller from the team as one of 10 players let go in the coach’s first month on the job for off-field issues.
After a year away from football, Miller sounds like a new man, ready to focus on being the kind of person that the Jayhawks program needs him to be. Miller admits to making mistakes as a freshman that hurt himself and the Kansas program, and he has taken responsibility for those actions and is ready to work to repair his image with the team. His only goal now, according to Miller, is “to help Coach Weis return Kansas football to respectability.”
He will join a backfield that is suddenly overflowing with talent that should give Kansas plenty to work with in the running game. Sims is still entrenched at the top of the depth chart after eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in 2012 and is joined by a very talented group of backs behind him. Tony Pierson developed a role for himself in the passing game while proving to be one of the most explosive players on the offense last season. In addition, Taylor Cox and Brandon Bourbon have shown the ability to be contributors, giving Kansas some incredible depth.
With Miller in the mix, the Jayhawks boast five running backs that could provide excellent production for Kansas in Big 12 play next fall. Will they be enough to get Kansas out of the cellar next season?