Kansas University freshman Kerry Meier will end his three-week absence from the football field and start at quarterback Saturday against Oklahoma State.
Jayhawk coach Mark Mangino announced the news after practice Wednesday, saying Meier's health and recovery time from a shoulder injury were satisfactory enough to give him the starting job over Adam Barmann for this week's game.
"He had to be pain-free, full range of motion and be able to have good recovery," Mangino said. "He meets all three of those criteria."
Meier was not made available for comment Wednesday. But he did stay after practice and throw footballs to tight end Derek Fine on the chilly day before Fine spoke to reporters.
"The same old Kerry," Fine said. "Kerry's going to come out and play as well as he can. He's always the same guy he can be. He's going to work as hard as he can, just like everybody else, and be ready for the game."
Meier was cleared to play medically last week before the Texas A&M; game. However, Barmann started and played the whole game because of uncertainty regarding Meier's comeback. Kansas lost the game, 21-18.
"We couldn't gauge how many repetitions he could take and have full recovery," Mangino said of Meier. "You can't go into a game with a quarterback and say, 'Well, we can start this guy, but he can't finish the game.' That's not fair to the player nor the team.
"We just felt like when he was completely feeling good and his recovery was good the next day, we'd be OK to play him."
Mangino said Meier had a good practice Sunday and felt good Monday.
"That was a pretty good sign," Mangino said. "And he was absolutely fine (Wednesday)."
Meier played in KU's first three games, throwing for 538 yards and six touchdowns. He injured his shoulder during the Sept. 15 game at Toledo at the end of a fourth-quarter run play.
Meier stayed in the game, but struggled, throwing two late interceptions in KU's 37-31, double-overtime loss. Mangino revealed two days later that Meier was hurt.
Initially, the Jayhawks thought he only would be out a couple of days. But it ended up dragging out several weeks.
Barmann has started the last three games, throwing for 812 yards and three touchdowns. He'll assume the backup role he had when Meier was healthy.
Meier's return gives Kansas an extra dimension in an offense that struggled at times against the Aggies. While Barmann had minus-16 yards rushing in his three starts, Meier averages nearly 50 yards per contest running the football and has four rushing touchdowns.
"Kerry's fast. He's faster than greased lightning," Fine quipped.
Mangino said he expected no problems from Meier as he makes his first start in a month. If that were a possibility, Mangino said, Barmann still would be the team's quarterback.
"We wouldn't put him out there," Mangino said of Meier, "if he couldn't operate the entire offense."