Minutes before the TCU game Kansas football coaches, players and fans heard some unfortunate and unexpected news; Kahlil Herbert would be sitting out due to personal reasons.
This came as a shock to everyone.
But as soon as the news broke many fans and media were already speculating he could be red-shirting the rest of the year to transfer as a graduate transfer.
It was even said that before the game started Herbert was already on his way out of Fort Worth.
It seemed odd with how much Herbert has devoted to the team.
He was even one of four players Les Miles chose to take to Big 12 Media Days. And days before the TCU game Herbert was even selected as an honorary captain.
The decision was confusing and the timing was more than concerning.
It’s no secret that Herbert’s overall goal is to play in the NFL. It was even said by Miles more than a few times that Herbert is a guy that’ll be playing on Sundays.
But what happened? What can’t Herbert get at Kansas that he can get somewhere else?
That’s actually the more confusing part.
I understand a guy wanting to red-shirt, take the rest of the year to develop and get better, and then take a shot with a team that has a bigger need at his position. These things happen often.
But why would Herbert leave a team he was a big part of? Looking at his stats alone NFL scouts should be drooling.
Apparently that wasn’t enough. At least not for Herbert.
He has one of the premier coaches in the game in Les Miles. Add to that one of the premier running back coaches in the league, Tony Hull.
If Herbert goes to another team he’ll need to make sure the coaching staff is as good as or even better than what Kansas has assembled. He’ll also need to be sure the reps will be there and that he has a great chance at winning the starting job.
And then there’s the offensive line. Herbert won’t be able to hop onto a roster and run like he has at Kansas. There’s more to it.
Finally, he’ll need to get used to a completely differently play book, staff, and build relationships with his new teammates.
None of this will be easy. Which makes the decision all the more confusing.
And if I’m being honest, I don’t think it was just about the opportunity.
There will always be things fans and/or media will never get the full story on or fully understand. This will be one of those things. Unless someone decides to spill the beans.
But I get the sense that something wasn’t right in the locker room. Maybe something was said and disagreements turned into an argument which turned into the situation we’re left with.
It makes too much sense for something to have recklessly fallen apart pre-game than Herbert having traveled with the team just to make a last minute decision.
He’s a better teammate than that. He’s a better person than that.
The situation even caused such an uproar on social media that Kansas fans were arguing back and forth on whether Herbert was making the right decision or if he just abandoned his team.
I get both sides.
On one end you have a kid that dreams of playing in the NFL.
It makes sense that he’ll do anything he can to get there. Even if it means leaving some things behind.
On the other hand, he left his teammates out to dry.
Not telling them until minutes before the game completely changed the game plan. And it left his teammates confused and probably a bit heart broken.
To say this wouldn’t affect them during the game is crazy. It likely did and there’s plenty of proof to back that up after a 51-14 loss.
Regardless how anyone looks at this situation, though, Herbert made a decision that was probably the toughest of his life. And seeing the fans and media reactions confirm that.
I can’t imagine being faced with making a decision that you think will give you a better chance at your dream or sticking with your teammates/friends/brothers to finish what you started.
Personally, I’d always choose my brothers.
But this doesn’t make Herbert a bad person, though.
It simply makes him a football player.
And college football is a business. Even if the players don’t get paid—yet at least.
I don’t have any ill will for Herbert and I wish him the best in the future.
I’m sure I’ll even be watching him wherever he ends up next year cheering him on as if he were still a Jayhawk.
As the saying goes, “Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk.”