Three year starting quarterback Montell Cozart is now the third QB to leave the Kansas program this offseason. Cozart announced the decision on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.
Thank you KU! pic.twitter.com/UiFZUoGknh
— Montell Cozart (@M_Cozart2) February 21, 2017
Cozart’s time in Lawrence has seen its fair share of ups and downs as he’s started a handful of games in each of the last three seasons, but struggled to hold onto the role. In 2015, he took the reins when QB Michael Cummings suffered a season-ended knee injury, but just a few weeks later, he suffered a season-ending injury (shoulder) himself. Quarterback Ryan Willis filled in when Cozart went down, and the two split time under center last season before both quarterbacks were benched in favor of Carter Stanley, a redshirt freshman. Stanley led Kansas to a big win over Texas, seemingly cementing his position as the Jayhawk’s starter moving forward.
There doesn’t seem to be any hard feelings from Cozart as he described the decision as “tough” and had high praise for coach Beaty.
“(Beaty) exemplifies the true meaning of leadership,” Cozart wrote. “The passion and the drive that he comes to work with is like no other. I believe in his plan that he and his staff is putting together at the University of Kansas.”
Coach Beaty responded to Cozart’s tweet calling him the “epitome of what a student athlete should be”.
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, the news leaves them thin at Quarterback. Which, if you look at the last couple of years, is a major concern. Keeping QB’s healthy is growing problem in the Big 12. In 2015, Willis was the their 4th option as the top three quarterbacks all went down with season-ending injuries. Now, with Cozart’s announcement, none of the four remain on the roster. Cummings ran out of eligibility, while Willis and Deondre Ford announced their transfers earlier this year.
The good news is that Washington State transfer Peyton Bender will give the Jayhawks another option behind Stanley (If he doesn’t earn the starting role himself). Hopefully, that’s all the Jayhawks will need in 2017.
Cozart is on track to get his diploma in May, and will be able to play immediately as a graduate transfer. There’s no word yet on where Cozart may wind up, but wherever he goes, he will have two years of eligibility remaining as he was granted a hardship waiver in April.