Freshman LBs Steven Parker and Gavin Potter already impressing KU veterans
Ask senior leaders on the Kansas football team which freshmen have managed to impress them during summer workouts and the same two names emerge.
Steven Parker and Gavin Potter.
Both linebackers and two of the more hyped signees in KU’s 2019 recruiting class, neither Parker nor Potter have yet endured a true college football practice. Still, during conditioning and weigh lifting sessions and other settings since they arrived in Lawrence, both already have found ways to separate themselves.
“Just in workouts,” senior running back Khalil Herbert said, “Steven Parker is crazy energetic. I love the energy he brings. Gavin Potter. That’s two guys I’m excited to see how they look during fall camp.”
Mike Lee lifts weights at a different time than the standout freshmen, but the senior safety said it’s impossible to miss Parker, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound prospect from Dallas, and Potter, a 6-2, 205-pound newcomer from Broken Arrow, Okla., when the Jayhawks gather for conditioning work.
Lee said both of them bring the necessary “high energy” to those intense times of training.
“Steve and Gavin, they’re always in front,” Lee said of the sprints. “And that’s the type of energy that we need. They say they’re ready to work. And I’m ready to get those guys on the same page as me.”
Although Parker, a four-star prospect according to Rivals, and Potter, a three-star talent, have participated in seven-on-seven work with their new KU teammates since they got to campus, senior safety Bryce Torneden said it will be more important to see them during August practices.
“We’re still learning the schemes and everything,” Torneden said of the defense’s work against KU’s offense this summer, “putting it all together. I think by fall camp they should be ready to go.”
Plus, as Herbert pointed out, the veteran Jayhawks still haven’t seen the freshmen play in pads.
“Everybody’s making plays here and there. But you can’t really tell much from that,” Herbert added of seven-on-seven reps.
Nevertheless, Lee considers some of what he has witnessed thus far from the two freshmen as atypical. In particular, Parker already appears to be comfortable taking on some form of leadership.
Lee, a confident defensive back from New Orleans, admitted when he arrived at KU as a freshman he wasn’t exactly vocal around the team’s facilities.
“Steven is very loud,” Lee shared. “He’s willing to work and I feel like he’s going to be unstoppable in the Big 12.”
Senior left tackle Hakeem Adeniji laughed when asked whether he agreed with Lee’s assessment that Parker is loud.
“He’s probably the loudest one on the team,” Adeniji added of the newcomer from South Oak Cliff High (Texas).
The man who used to own that title, Adeniji said, was former All-Big 12 defensive lineman Daniel Wise, now with the Dallas Cowboys.
According to Adeniji, Parker helps make KU’s locker room “fun” while being loud about “everything.” The veteran offensive lineman considers that a good sign, as well.
“I think confidence is great. You see a lot of players that can be good but don’t really believe in themselves,” Adeniji said. “He’s young, so he’ll work out the little kinks and stuff and he’ll be better for it.”
Both Parker and Potter could take on significant roles for KU’s defense in their debut college season.
Torneden said what they’ve shown so far seems encouraging.
“Just their work ethic and the energy that they bring is definitely apparent,” Torneden said. “And it’s going to be good to see when they actually do put those pads on, because they have motors — they can go. That’s definitely going to be good, obviously, to have on the defense, high energy guys like those.”