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What this longtime Jayhawks broadcaster thinks about Saturday’s matchup with BYU

Former Jayhawks offensive lineman David Lawrence has had a front-row seat to Jayhawks football for decades

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Players for the Kansas Jayhawks take the field before game against Illinois on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, in Lawrence, Kan.

Players for the Kansas Jayhawks take the field before game against Illinois on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, in Lawrence, Kan. Saturday, Kansas and BYU square off in their Big 12 openers.

Colin E. Braley, Associated Press

When it comes to Kansas football, former Jayhawks offensive lineman David Lawrence has nearly seen it all — except for what is coming on Saturday when Kansas (3-0) and BYU (3-0) reunite after 31 years in the Big 12 opener (1:30 p.m. MDT, ESPN).

Lawrence worked the sidelines for the Jayhawk Radio Network on Dec. 25, 1992, when BYU and Kansas waged a Christmas Day battle in the Aloha Bowl. Jayhawks kicker Dan Eichloff earned hero status with his 48-yard field goal with 2:57 remaining to give the Jayhawks a come-from-behind 23-20 victory, but he wasn’t the only difference maker.

Hustling in the Kansas secondary was a newcomer to the program named Kwamie Lassiter. The transfer from Butler Community College harassed BYU with 11 solo tackles. Lassiter went on to play in the NFL for 10 seasons, including eight with the Arizona Cardinals. He died of a heart attack at age 49.

On Saturday in Lawrence, two of Lassiter’s sons will compete against each other. Darius Lassiter is a receiver at BYU. Kwinton Lassiter plays defensive back at Kansas. It’s also likely they will battle face-to-face. The reunion will be a touching moment for the family — and for Lawrence who moved into the broadcast booth as the game analyst in 2006.

“It’s very easy to get choked up thinking how proud dad would have been watching his sons play and witnessing what wonderful men they are,” Lawrence said. “It’s special to me for having the chance to know all three.”

Lawrence says the boys, including older brother Kwamie II, who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, are just like their dad.

“There are similarities across the board. Dad was quiet and polite just like his sons,” he said. “They have all been so respectful of adults in the media. They shake your hand and look you in the eye and thank you after the interview.”

Kwinton is a 5-foot-11 senior with two interceptions for Kansas this season. Darius is a six-foot-3 senior transfer from Eastern Michigan with nine receptions and one touchdown for BYU.

Lawrence on Jalon Daniels


Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels hands off during game against Missouri State Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, in Lawrence, Kan.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels earned preseason All-Big 12 honors for a reason.

“He’s pretty special. He’s at his best right now,” Lawrence said. “I call him the ‘Magic Man.’ He has a live arm. He’s very athletic. He escapes pressure and he does a good job looking downfield to find open receivers while he runs.”

Daniels is 6 feet, 215 pounds. He didn’t play in the season opener against Missouri State, but the junior battered Illinois with 277 yards passing, two touchdowns and 24 yards rushing. Last week at Nevada, he completed 21 of 27 passes for 298 yards.

“When he steps up into the pocket, he is so deadly,” Lawrence said. “He has a very strong arm and he’s good at making the first guy miss.”

Lawrence on Devin Neal

Joining Daniels on the preseason All-Big 12 honor roll is running back Devin Neal. At 5-feet-11 and 210 pounds, he has proven to be a challenge to tackle.


Cougars on the air

BYU (3-0)
at Kansas (3-0)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT
David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM

“He continues to improve. He was good when he got here, but he’s faster now. His vision has improved,” Lawrence said. “He’s made tremendous improvement from last year to this year and he was good last year.”

Neal rushed for 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022. Through three games this season, he averages 7.6 yards per carry with five touchdowns, including three Saturday at Nevada.

Lawrence on Saturday

Kansas is a 9 ½-point favorite against BYU in their sold-out stadium (47,000) on Saturday, but after watching the Cougars stun Arkansas in Fayetteville, Lawrence is leery.

“We have to pressure (Kedon) Slovis and not allow him to sit in the pocket and throw the ball down the field,” he said. “The quarterback that keeps the clean feet will be really important. He must also mix it up. That’s one thing that has been effective for us is we can run and pass.”


Kansas Jayhawks broadcaster David Lawrence, right, talks with basketball and broadcasting icon Bill Walton during a game.

Courtesy David Lawrence

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is the studio host for “BYU Sports Nation Game Day,” “The Post Game Show,” “After Further Review,” and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv. He is also co-host of “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com.