August 28, 2015

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas has settled on a starting quarterback, giving the job back to Montell Cozart.

Just who Cozart will throw to this season remains a mystery.

Jayhawks coach David Beaty announced this week the junior had regained the starting job he lost last season, emerging on top after an open competition in camp. But the wide receiver slots are still undecided with just over a week remaining before the season opener.

''They're competing. It's a battle out there,'' said Beaty, who was hired last fall to replace the fired Charlie Weis. ''There's some depth there we didn't have before. Hopefully we can find eight we can count on so we can roll eight and keep some fresh bodies in there.''

That may turn out to be quite a chore.

The only two players on the roster that caught a pass last season are Tre Parmalee and Darious Crawley, and they combined for five. Nick Harwell and Justin McCay were among those who exhausted their eligibility, while Nigel King declared for the NFL draft and was not selected.

Parmalee appears to have the inside track on one of the starting jobs.

The son of former NFL running back Bernie Parmalee was a standout at nearby Bishop Miege High School, and was good enough that he got onto the field as a freshman. But injuries have slowed him the past two seasons, and the coaching carousel in Lawrence during the senior's career has hardly helped him to become a stable part of the offense.

Still, the elusive, 5-foot-10 playmaker has enough athletic ability that Beaty - a former wide receivers coach at Rice, Kansas and Texas A&M - immediately took notice.

''Tre has been really consistent,'' Beaty said. ''He's a quiet guy. You don't hear from him a whole lot because of that. He just goes out and does his job. If the ball is close, he's making plays. We're going to have to call on him to do that.''

The other front-runner for a starting job is Josh Stanford, a transfer from Virginia Tech who set school records as a freshman with 40 catches for 640 yards.

Stanford took a leave of absence to deal with some personal issues last season, then left the school for good before the Hokies' bowl game. But when he surfaced at Kansas, he brought with him not only an ability to stretch the field but also some Division I experience.

That happens to be in short supply in the Jayhawks' wide receiver corps.

''I like Josh a lot,'' Beaty said. ''He's a good player. He's a smart, grizzled player. He's been through a lot that other players haven't.''

After Parmalee and Stanford, things get murky in a hurry. Wide receivers coach Klint Kubiak even acknowledged, ''That third guy right now is a real fight.''

The most talented of the candidates may be Steven Sims, a freshman from Houston who Beaty and his assistants were aware of even before they took over at Kansas. Beaty said he's been ''waiting on him to hit the (freshman) wall, and he hasn't done it yet.''

''Hopefully he doesn't,'' Beaty added with a grin.

Crawley and fellow sophomores Quincy Perdue and Derrick Neal are also in the mix, along with a plethora of freshmen who hope to make an immediate impact this season.

Rather, who might need to make an immediate impact this season.

''All of us want to play,'' Crawley said, ''so we're going to be on top of our game.''

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