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Clearing the Air: Addressing the Lance Leipold and Jalon Daniels Departure Rumors...

There's been some rather intriguing rumors surrounding the Kansas Jayhawk football program over the last couple of months. Ever since the Jayhawks have found success and development in their football program, the topic of head coach Lance Leipold taking a job at programs such as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Texas A&M have all been brought up. Not only that but star quarterback Jalon Daniels has been rumored to be milking a back injury to sit out this season to transfer next year, with USC and Michigan State being the most talked about schools. Let's clear the air, using words from trusted insiders and the centers of conversation themselves rather than those outside their lane...

Head Coach Lance Leipold

Leipold has been known as a fantastic head coach for some time, bringing championships to DII Wisconsin-Whitewater, making Buffalo competitive for MAC titles and bowl games, and now, bringing Kansas back from the basement of the college football world. It's no wonder he's at least talked about in regards to the position at schools that have had successful football programs, yet have fallen on hard times. That's all it's been so far though, talk. Rumors, speculations, and general skepticism abound, yet one critical item missing in every headline, social media post, and hearing: Any actual proof or credibility toward the argument of Leipold leaving or even considering leaving. No evidence of interviews being conducted, no insider information that backs these claims, nothing, so why does it get talked about as something that's in the cards?

Leipold said in an interview with the Hawk Talk podcast that he wants to retire at Kansas. "One thing that happens during this time of year, is there's a lot of speculation and things are happening that are not accurate. As I said, Travis Goff and Chancellor Girod have treated Kelly and me extremely well, our family and it is our plan and expectation that we want to be here, and this is going to be the last job that we have." Leipold explained.

The only thing that any skeptics can hang their hat on is the fact that Leipold hasn't signed an extension yet, in the middle of the season, with two games and a bowl game left. Even then though, this isn't much to stand on. Leipold signed a contract extension just this past year through 2029, fully intended to keep him here for the long haul. Not only that, but Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self signed a 5 year rolling lifetime contract making him the highest-paid basketball coach in the country. You would think this would mean bad things for a potential Leipold extension but look closely. This is an AMENDED lifetime contract, Self already had a lifetime contract before this.

This is less about Self, and, in all likelihood, more about making sure that Lance Leipold is paid handsomely in his next extension. Many in the Kansas insider camp are anticipating this, but much is left to be talked about. Kansas insiders like Bryson Stricker and Michael Swain have tirelessly looked to dispel these rumors using the information they have, as once again, they're unfounded, but even they do not know when this potential extension will be coming. There is much more concrete evidence though that Leipold will be staying in Kansas for a long, long time, than leaving for another program. Contrary to "insiders" and message board users from completely different fanbases that would rather shamelessly spread gossip than actual credible information, it sounds like Leipold won't be leaving and these schools searching for coaches are actively looking elsewhere. An extension for him is more of a matter of when, not if.

Quarterback Jalon Daniels

Now let's talk about Jalon Daniels, quarterback for the Jayhawks. Jalon Daniels was widely regarded before the season as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12, being named conference preseason offensive player of the year and showing what all he was capable of last year. Daniels, however, with all his abilities and football skills, has struggled to see the field both this season and last due to injury concerns. Last year, it was his shoulder, this year, his back. Unfortunately, the young man has caught a bad break, many would love to see this guy play. He draws comparisons to Lamar Jackson and former Kansas great Todd Reesing for a reason, he can ball, which is why he's drawn these conversations toward him, for better or for worse depending on which side of the aisle you're on. However, we find once again that these rumors are simply just that. Rumors, spread by those who want to see the Kansas football program flounder, as seeing the program flounder rather than be a contender and a force to be reckoned with has been better for their own program's reputation.

Jalon Daniels is not leaving, and saying that he is milking his back injury/outright FAKING his back injury to transfer is incredibly tone-deaf, baseless, and cruel. Daniels shouldn't have to come out and make an entire video stating that he's staying. That's ridiculous, but necessary in this case where there's slanderous, contradictory "reporting" on his name for clicks. He will redshirt and play for the Jayhawks next season, with potentially two years of eligibility left. He cleared his name, and it's time to put baseless rumors to bed.

Jalon Daniels wants to play for Kansas, the love he has for the Jayhawk program is well known. He is invested in the development of Kansas, he's a team guy and isn't like Caleb Williams or any guy who is using college football solely as a jumping-off point for the NFL or an NIL cash grab. Believe it or not, there are guys like that at the FBS Power 5 level and guys who recognize that NFL scouts will look closely at that type of commitment, selflessness, and maturity level. It's why Caleb Williams has been panned for his actions as of late, it doesn't look good to scouts. Daniels cares about the direction of the Jayhawks, anyone who knows him knows this. It's ingrained in many of these guys, not just him, and part of what Lance Leipold has built here. Not only that though, back injuries are unpredictable and not to be trifled with, so the Kansas coaches and trainers have been wary of him suiting up and playing. They do not want to ruin this young man's career by sending him out to risk career-ending injury, it truly is that simple.

Talking NIL, as this is another tool those that are trying to push this narrative use, do you not think that Kansas has it in heavy amounts too? They're funding a new stadium, have the best basketball program in the nation right now, are Power 5, and are finding success on the field. That requires a huge push, which Kansas has done through initiatives such as the Mass Street Collective. The NIL argument is a moot point, not just because Kansas already has plenty of dealings for Jalon as is, $308k to be exact with deals from Adidas and others, per On3, and could easily extend that, but referencing the points made previously, Jalon is invested in this team and its development. He's not going to budge that easily to the dollar, he and his family have expressed a deep love and appreciation for the Kansas program. He will be back next year in a Jayhawk uniform, and with it now being confirmed, those who spread malicious and outright idiotic rumors have 'pie' in their faces. Kansas is here to stay, and Lance Leipold, Travis Goff, Jalon Daniels, and Devin Neal, among others, are here to see it through.

Conclusion for Lance Leipold and Jalon Daniels

These rumors were a result of wishful thinking from those who have no insider information on either of these two guys. Plain and simple, and as Lance Leipold said himself, these types of topics get thrown around with little information and backing, when in reality it's merely talk to stir up controversy and get clicks/15 minutes of fame. Derek Young and any other paid, credentialed, and "credible" beat writers and content creators who spread disinformation should feel ashamed and embarrassed for discrediting sports journalism and making this "news" to begin with. They did the university they write on zero favors, and for Kansas State, they should be worried that Kansas football has a chip on their shoulder going into Saturday. The teams are a lot closer in caliber than many think. This could have consequences, given all the talk of the Big 12 changing the title race rules to Kansas State's benefit. A loss, and none of that matters, and the Wildcat media and fanbase may have woken up the team they're most concerned about for the remainder of the season. If they do lose, Derek Young and others who spread these rumors in the Kansas State camp to fuel this fire should share the blame. Unnecessary stoking of the flames makes for ample fuel for players to take into account.

In the end, this is a Kansas program that is building upon guys who are committed to the program like Jalon Daniels, Devin Neal, and others. Guys that want to be at Kansas, not just on a successful team. The Daniels transfer talk happened last year as well, a talk that eventually was disproven with time. The same has happened here, and now Kansas State beat media has lost some amount of credibility because of it. Trust inside sources, not the chronically online, not those who are on the outside looking in...


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