Few teams have struggled as much over the last couple of seasons as the Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12. The team finally got their first win in 28 tries against Big 12 competition last season but still finished in the cellar of the standings at just 1-8 in conference play and 3-9 overall. Charlie Weis needs playmakers to step up in 2014 and spark something in Lawrence. Can receiver Nick Harwell answer the call?
Harwell is a transfer from the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks and is set to step into a featured role after sitting out the 2013 season due to transfer restrictions. He last played in 2012 when he led the RedHawks with 68 catches for 870 yards and eight touchdowns in just nine games. His experience puts him at the top of the depth chart for the Jayhawks in 2014 as they desperately look for some leaders to step up on offense this fall.
No wide receiver caught more than 11 passes last season for Kansas and only Rodriguez Coleman topped 200 yards receiving. The team relied on running backs to carry the passing attack as the team completed 69 of their 154 receptions to players out of the backfield in 2013. That led to the Jayhawks’ dreadful offensive output (dead last in the Big 12) and will be a major focal point going forward.
Harwell provides Kansas with a viable pass-catching option on offense who could help open up the offense a big more in 2014. If the Jayhawks ever hope to get out of their prolonged funk, they have to get more explosive on offense. That starts with getting playmakers who can create big gains in the passing game, like Harwell. Will he be enough for the Jayhawks to win a couple more games in 2014?