KU’s Daniels ready for return after injury-plagued 2023

After a back injury derailed him for much of the 2023 season, Kansas quarterback Jason Daniels is back in the fold as the Jayhawks gear up for a new Big 12 season.

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July 11, 2024 - 2:17 PM

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) of the Kansas Jayhawks runs for a 3-yard touchdown past Duke's Chandler Rivers (0) during the second half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Lawrence, Kansas. Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images/TNS

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels said he would be ready to play a game now. Coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks just need him to be ready for the season.

Daniels missed most of last season because of a back injury, playing in only three games before the end of September.

“I try not to ask Jalon Daniels more than once a week how is he doing because I know everybody asks him that,” Leipold said Wednesday during Big 12 media days. “He wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t think he was going to be ready to go for this season. I can tell you that.”

The Jayhawks were picked fourth in the Big 12 preseason media poll, much of that certainly based on the expectation of Daniels being healthy. They open the season Aug. 29 at home against FCS team Lindenwood.

Daniels threw for 2,014 yards with 18 touchdowns and ran for another seven scores in 2022, but was limited to 705 yards and five TDs passing with none on the ground last season.

“I’m excited to see what Jalon will do this season for us,” Leipold said. “He’s doing everything that doctors, trainers, strength coaches are having him do, and I can’t wait to get to August.”

Mountaineers finish better

West Virginia coach Neal Brown and his team remembers being picked last year to finish at the bottom of what was then a 14-team league.

The Mountaineers instead went 9-4 overall, with a 6-3 record in the Big 12.

“There’s no question we rallied around that. I stood up here a year ago, and we were picked 14th and I said we wouldn’t be there. And our team proved me right,” Brown said Wednesday. “And I said that a year ago because I knew what we had on both fronts.”

West Virginia, which finished last season on a three-game winning streak, is now picked seventh in the expanded 16-team Big 12.

The coach believes people may be underestimating his team once again.

“Now it’s similar …. with a team that finished strong last year that returns a lot of production, that has one of the most dynamic players in all of college football in (quarterback) Garrett Greene,” Brown said. “I think there’s a similar dynamic that works with this team, too. And, more importantly, to me on a personal level, I believe some of our players are undervalued.”

Big 12 Alumni Council

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and Heisman Trophy winners Robert Griffin III and Andre Ware are among 32 former student-athletes who will make up the first Big 12 Alumni Council.

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