June 17, 2024

After lengthy journey, Jason Bean enjoying success with Jayhawks

Kansas Jayhawks Football

Kansas quarterback Jason Bean throws a pass downfield during the first quarter against Oklahoma Saturday October 28, 2023 at Memorial Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The former two-star prospect began his career at North Texas six years ago, and now the veteran quarterback has made tremendous strides with Kansas this season.

Although Jason Bean is navigating through his third campaign as a Jayhawk, everything appears to be coming full circle for him this fall. After all, he has started five games this season in Jalon Daniels’ absence, and came out victorious in three of those contests.

None bigger than last Saturday’s win over Oklahoma. Bean wowed the sold out Homecoming crowd with his explosive plays against the Sooners, and once the smoke cleared, the Jayhawks took down a top-10 team at home for the first time since 1984.

Bean was a big reason why Kansas led Oklahoma in total offense, first downs, time of possession and yards per play. His 38-yard touchdown run shifted the momentum of the game to the Jayhawks’ side, and they never looked back. Bean commanded the huddle, his teammates responded to his energy and he made others around him better. In his mind, that’s what great quarterbacks are supposed to do.

Bean was struck with adversity after he threw two interceptions, but kept a short-term memory and battled back. He completed 15 of his 32 passes for 218 yards against the Sooners. However, Bean’s best throw came on a fourth down attempt on the Jayhawks’ last drive of the fourth quarter. Bean completed a 36-yard pass to wideout Lawrence Arnold that set up the go-ahead touchdown. The Texas native came up huge in the clutch, put his team on his back and carried them to the finish line.

“It’s a sigh of relief, just to know that we beat the No. 6 team in the nation in that fashion that we did,” Bean said. “It wasn’t pretty, so just to stay even-kill and come out with the dub is huge.”

The Jayhawks racked up 443 yards, and their offensive line didn’t allow a single sack. After the game Bean asked the coaches for permission to speak to the team. The gunslinger told his teammates about his long journey, and how he appreciates being part of a unique brotherhood.

“I wanted to thank them, because without them I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “The main thing is I’m proud to be in this situation.”

Coach Lance Leipold finds Bean’s maturation process encouraging, and feels the best is yet to come for the signal-caller. All of Bean’s experience, leadership and production is paying off in big ways for Kansas’ offense. Leipold even finds it more impressive that Bean is accomplishing all of this with the 2023 preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year sidelined.

“As disappointed and bad I feel for Jalon not being able to play at this particular time, I’m happy and probably pulling for Jason in ways that I don’t always because he’s been unselfish,” Leipold said. “He could’ve left like a lot of guys do today in College football, a lot of things he’s been through, a lot of ups and downs, and he just keeps coming back.”

Kansas (6-2) is now bowl eligible and very much alive in the conference race. The Jayhawks still have to navigate through the Big 12 gauntlet, but Bean is confident they’ll be ready for whatever comes their way. The six-foot-three, 205-pounder just wants to build off this performance, and carry it over to the next game at Iowa State. As for now, Bean is letting everything soak in, knowing the Jayhawks are on the rise again.

“There are a lot of emotions running through my head, from where I came from, and where this team has come, those tough days, and those tough losses are the reasons that you live for days like this.”