Daniels expected to start at QB in Jayhawks’ season-opener

FILE: Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels is expected to start Friday's season-opening game...
FILE: Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels is expected to start Friday's season-opening game against Missouri State.(KU Athletics)
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 3:34 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV) - Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels, who missed parts of fall camp with a back injury, is expected to start Friday night’s season-opener against Missouri State.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Lance Leipold announced the expected start for the Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while revealing the rest of KU’s depth chart.

“We just released the two-deep, and that’s kind of where we’re at right now and where we’re going,” Leipold said. “He hasn’t practiced a lot, but he went through everything today, and yeah, we’re planning on playing everyone who is available.”

Daniels led the Jayhawks to a 5-0 start during the 2022 season before injuring his shoulder in an undefeated matchup with TCU. He returned from a shoulder injury and played in three more games, putting up historic numbers in a Liberty Bowl loss to Arkansas. In the 55-53 triple overtime loss to the Razorbacks, Daniels threw for 544 yards and five touchdowns to go along with a rushing touchdown. He was the first player in FBS history to reach each stat benchmark in a bowl game.

READ MORE: Daniels, Howard on Golden Arm Watch List

Daniels finished the 2022 season with 2,014 yards passing, 18 touchdowns and four picks while running for 425 yards and seven scores.

He was limited throughout spring football by the shoulder injury, then the back tightness popped up in fall camp. Leipold said it didn’t prevent Daniels from practicing entirely, but it was enough to limit his reps ahead of backup Jason Bean. Still, Daniels will play Friday night against Missouri State ahead of KU’s Week 2 matchup with Illinois.

“That’s the balancing act we have to do here,” Leipold said. “We’re getting him as much work as we can, as many different ways as we can. He’s been getting work; he’s been doing things. To make it sound like he’s never practiced the last two weeks is not accurate, either. We’re confident. Unfortunately for him, it’s something he’s gone through before, getting little reps and where he is at, but I think we’re in a good spot with him.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.