The third player on my incoming immediate impact list is Kenny Bastida. He’s a true freshmen inside linebacker from Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Bastida is another big high school recruit as he stands 6-2 and weighs in at around 230 lbs. It helps to have players that come in out of high school that are already college player size so more time can be spent on developing them as a player instead of initially trying to add more weight.
It’s also important to note that Kansas is deep at the LB position but it’s a position you can afford to have a lot of depth. They’ll be returning seniors Joe Dineen, Keith Loneker and Osaze Ogbebor, along with sophomore and future star Kyron Johnson. There are even a few other names that can make an impact and add some additional depth, such as John Ehambe and Jay Dineen.
But what I like about Kenny Bastida is his ability to read and react. This is something that’s hard to teach as in most cases it’s a natural ability, similar to a quarterback’s ability to read the field. This will translate into him being able to run the defense effectively and making all the players around him better. The LB position on defense is just about as important as the QB position on offense as they run and direct the defense and make sure everyone knows their positions and assignments.
Another thing I noticed on Bastida’s film is he’s patient but he’s also hard-nosed. He’s like a lion getting ready to attack its prey—he patiently waits as the prey gets into position, and then he attacks. And when he gets in attack mode there isn’t much you can do about getting away from him. He’s a strong tackler, he’s fast and he doesn’t let up. This is the type of tough, hard-nosed player that Kansas needs for the future.
Now if you look at Bastida’s 247 composite score you’ll see he’s only a two star recruit. But that doesn’t mean much because once you look at his scholarship offers you realize this guy was definitely a big time target. Just to name a few he had offers from Penn State, North Carolina State, LSU, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Every one of these programs was ranked in the top ten at some point last year, so you can easily see Bastida had his options—and a lot of them.
My fearless prediction …
I think Kenny Bastida will be an impact special team’s player for next year and I’m also confident he’ll see the field as a LB. Some people may view him as a redshirt option but I think it’ll be hard to keep him off the field with his intelligence, toughness and ability to read and react. I’m confident he’ll get at least 10-15 total tackles and maybe even mix in an interception and a sack as well. But look for Bastida to be a player in the future that opposing coaches will have to game plan around because of his ability to read and react and make everyone on defense better.