Players to Watch: Kansas

Peter Sblendorio

Sophomore QB Montell Cozart

Three games into his first season as the starter, Cozart is still trying to establish some consistency. He looked solid in two wins this season, passing for 422 yards and five touchdowns against one interception. But he struggled badly in his one loss, managing just 89 passing yards while throwing two interceptions against Duke. Cozart is an interesting matchup for Texas, as he possesses the ability to burn opposing defenses with his legs. He rushed for 214 yards and a touchdown on 66 carries last year. This season, however, he’s only gained 21 rushing yards on 25 carries. It’s no secret Texas has had trouble with running quarterbacks the last two seasons, making Cozart a candidate to break out of his rushing slump this week.

Freshman RB Corey Avery

The true freshman has impressed so far in 2014, leading the Jayhawks ground game with 213 rushing yards and a touchdown on 46 carries. He’s proven himself useful in the passing game, too, hauling in five passes for 44 yards and a score. Avery has been consistent from game-to-game, racking up at least 69 yards of total offense in each of his first three contests. Avery, a Dallas native, will look to have a big game against a Texas team that recruited him as a senior at David W. Carter High School last year.

Junior RB De'Andre Mann

Mann transferred to Kansas after a prolific sophomore season at Hartnell College in Salinas, California.  The running back rushed for 1,706 yards and 27 touchdowns for the Panthers last season, leading the team to a 9-2 record and a Coast Conference title. He’s off to a nice start with Kansas, too, rushing for 212 yards on 35 carries in his first three games. Like Avery, he’s also shown an ability to make plays in the passing game, catching four passes for 54 yards in 2014.

Senior CB Dexter McDonald

The 6-foot-1-inch, 205 pound McDonald possesses above average size for a cornerback, which helps him shadow bigger receivers. He’s put this size to good use in 2014, as he’s already recorded two interceptions and broken up three passes in just three games. McDonald only registered seven tackles in those three games, but if he continues to make plays on balls thrown his direction, he could prove to be the Jayhawks’ most valuable defensive player.