Kansas Jayhawks’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Jalon Daniels, Devin Neal

    Lance Leipold and these top 10 returning players set up for another strong run by the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2024 college football season.

    Lance Leipold did it again. He worked his magic with the Kansas Jayhawks, and the top 10 returning players this year should make this a compelling team again. Even with a few changes, the formula for success remains the same.

    Kansas Jayhawks’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes that were included on each team’s roster page to open fall camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Jereme Robinson, DE

    Austin Booker takes his 12.0 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks with him to the NFL, leaving an important vacancy on the Kansas defensive line. Fortunately, the Jayhawks have replacements waiting. Jereme Robinson returns 36 games of experience, and he’ll be a leader on the line for the fresh faces looking to contribute.

    Robinson posted six tackles for loss and a career-high of 4.5 sacks, and now he looks to break his career bests in both categories. The Jayhawks will go through a transition up front, but having Robinson’s experience should make that easier.

    9) Luke Grimm, WR

    When you think of the Jayhawks offense, you probably think about the rushing attack more than the passing attack. After all, they finished ninth in rushing yards per game compared to 55th in passing. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t move the ball through the air.

    Luke Grimm finished third on the team in receiving yards and led the team in touchdown catches. He’s a multiyear starter who has amassed 126 catches, 1,782 yards, and 17 touchdowns during his career, giving the Jayhawks an experienced weapon who knows how to get open.

    8) Darrell Simmons Jr., OG

    Kansas loses a few key pieces on the offensive line, but the Jayhawks’ staff hit the transfer portal to find replacements. One player they found was Iowa State guard Darrell Simmons Jr. He started his career as a second-team freshman All-American, according to The Athletic in 2020, and brings 48 career starts with him.

    7) Daniel Hishaw Jr., RB

    This year, one of the biggest questions is how different the offense will look under new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. Running the ball will still be a priority, but can this group be as efficient as they were under Andy Kotelnicki? With the talent returning in the backfield, that answer should be yes.

    Daniel Hishaw Jr. could have transferred to several schools and started, but he returned to share the backfield. He had a breakout season in 2023 with 626 yards and eight touchdowns and gets a new start to prove himself under a new play-caller.

    At worst, he brings depth to the rushing attack, and we’ve seen the quality of that depth when he’s pressed into the starting role.

    6) Mello Dotson, CB

    Throwing against Kansas is kind of like picking your poison. You can either choose to throw at Cobee Bryant or settle for Mello Dotson. Either way, you’re taking a huge risk that could result in the Jayhawks getting the ball back. Both players return in 2024.

    MORE: 2024 Kansas Jayhawks Football Roster

    Dotson has flown under the radar for a while now, but a four-interception season reminded everyone that he can play. Teams tested him a lot more last year with Bryant locking things down opposite of him, and Dotson passed with flying colors.

    5) Quentin Skinner, WR

    Certain players are proven big-play threats, and they have the stats to prove it. While Kansas isn’t going to spread teams out and take shot after shot deep downfield, they have the personnel to make big plays.

    Quentin Skinner only caught 29 passes last year, but he turned those catches into 587 yards (a 20.2 yards per catch average) and two touchdowns. Throw in that he’s 6’4″, and teams quickly realize that he’s a problem for them vertically. If he can find a way to double his catches, he’ll put together a season for the record books.

    4) Lawrence Arnold, WR

    All three of the Jayhawks’ top options in the passing game were efficient with their touches. Skinner turned 29 catches into 587 yards, Grimm turned 33 catches into 555 yards, and Lawrence Arnold caught 44 passes for 782 yards and six touchdowns.

    Arnold led the team in all three categories, and all three either tied or beat career highs. With the trio returning to the Jayhawks offense, teams must respect the passing attack as much as they do the ball carriers. Even though they don’t seem like a dangerous team in terms of explosive plays, Kansas can hit big plays when necessary.

    3) Jalon Daniels, QB

    If Jalon Daniels can stay healthy, the Jayhawks offense is in business. With Jason Bean gone, the value of his availability becomes even more important to the team’s success. We saw what Daniels can do in 2022 when healthy, as he posted his best season of his career. He just needs to be on the field to do it.

    A healthy Daniels gives the Jayhawks a dangerous dual threat who can put stress on a defense. If he can be efficient like he was in 2022, this offense should be lights out even with a new play-caller.

    2) Cobee Bryant, CB

    No, not that one (RIP Mamba). This one is a baller too, and he’s shown he can make a huge impact on games. Certain players just have a knack for taking the ball away from the other team, and Kansas’ Cobee Bryant is one of the best at it.

    His nine career interceptions put him tied for eighth all-time in Jayhawks school history, and he’s back for another year to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. With Bryant and Dotson back, the Jayhawks have one of the best cornerback duos in the country.

    1) Devin Neal, RB

    Devin Neal could have gone elsewhere this offseason but chose to stick with the Jayhawks. After three seasons and 37 career games, Neal returns to lead the rushing attack with his 3,077 yards and 33 touchdowns for his career.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big 12 RB Rankings

    His 2023 campaign was the best of his tenure in Lawrence, posting career highs in carries (203), rushing yards (1,280), yards per rush (6.3), rushing touchdowns (16), catches (25), and receiving yards (217). Even while sharing a backfield with Hishaw, Neal dominated the Big 12, and we should expect to see more of the same this year.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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