Jalon Daniels takes scrimmage snaps as part of Kansas football spring game: Takeaways

Kansas football held its Spring Showcase on Friday, with thousands of fans in attendance at Rock Chalk Park.

It was the third event under Kansas coach Lance Leipold and first ever at Rock Chalk Park — because of ongoing construction at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

“It was a nice environment, had a great crowd, the band did a great job and it was a nice, intimate setting,” Leipold said. “Really, for these type of events at this time of year, I thought it was great. It’s something I wish we would have thought of sooner for games on grass and things. We really enjoyed being out here.”

Here are some takeaways from the scrimmage...

Grading Jalon Daniels & the KU quarterbacks

After missing most of last season due to a back injury, Kansas star quarterback Jalon Daniels played in the 11-on-11 scrimmage ... for about three plays.

Daniels threw an impressive deep ball to wide receiver Quentin Skinner, who lunged forward for a fantastic catch.

“He’s been throwing all spring,” Leipold said. “For him to get out and in front of people, I’m sure (it) makes a lot of people a little less ... speculative of things. He’s throwing it — throwing it deep, throwing it all over. He’s got a great attitude.”

KU’s likely backup, Cole Ballard, threw multiple impressive deep balls to various targets. That said, he had a head-scratching interception in the red zone.

Finally, Kansas freshman QB Isaiah Marshall had the most impressive day. He made plenty of remarkable throws into tight windows and showed off his running ability.

His only mistake? He threw an interception that wasn’t entirely his fault — KU safety Jalen Dye had an impressive strip of the receiver and turned it into a pick-six.

Ultimately, it was important to see Daniels out on the field in front of a crowd again. And one teammate noted he’s been staying sharp mentally even while he recovers from injury.

“Inside of practice, I’ve seen his attention span go to even sharper things,” Skinner said. “He may not be able to take snaps, but he’s guaranteed right behind coach (Jim Zebrowski) or coach (Jeff) Grimes, behind someone, still going through reads, still helping the young quarterbacks, too, doing everything he can in his possible power to where he’s getting back fully healthy and getting back fully and back in motion.”

Kansas safety Jalen Dye makes his presence felt

Well, Jalen Dye certainly had a spring showcase to remember. He made one of the most impressive plays of the evening with his strip/pick-six and did a great job in coverage overall.

“Heck of play by Jalen Dye, he stripped the ball,” Leipold said. “He shows some flashes of playing a little bit like Kenny Logan. A little bit physicality-wise downhill.”

Logan, a leader of KU’s defense, exhausted his eligibility after last season. The Jayhawks return safeties in Marvin Grant and OJ Burroughs, and Dye is expected to compete for snaps, too.

Spring Showcase shows KU’s growth

For the most part, the Jayhawks played high-quality football at their showcase. The starters played limited snaps, and thus the reserves played hard through a more scrimmage-like setting than last year’s event.

Leipold had said leading up to the showcase that he was hoping for a good practice. And afterward, he noted he liked what he saw ... mostly.

“We had two turnovers. That’s probably two too many there,” Leipold said. “... I thought we were a lot cleaner than we were last week.”

The offense, Leipold said, generally executed well. And the defense?

“We were very aggressive,” Leipold continued. “We played downhill, I think we played physical.”