Skip to content

It's almost time for their close-ups

A quick look at the 4 Jayhawks who are headed to Las Vegas next week for Big 12 Media Days

4 min read
Kansas cornerback Mello Dotson will be one of four Jayhawks in Las Vegas next week, representing the team at the annual Big 12 Media Days. [Chance Parker photo]

With the calendar turning to July and Big 12 Football Media Days now just a week away, things are starting to get real for the 2024 college football season.

It’ll be here before we know it.

June flew by. July likely will, too. And then it’s camp time and the final countdown to the start of the 2024 season.

Big 12 Media Days will be in Las Vegas this year, with commissioner Brett Yormark moving the fun from Dallas to Sin City for a little bit of a splash and greater exposure.

The action will take place at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. And the Jayhawks will take their turn on center stage on Wednesday, July 10.

On Monday, the conference announced the players from each school who are expected to join their head coaches in representing their respective programs in Vegas next week.

For Kansas, that means two repeat performers in Jalon Daniels and Devin Neal and two newbies in cornerback Mello Dotson and defensive end Jereme Robinson.

Here’s a quick thought on each of the four Jayhawks who will be headed to Vegas next week.

• Redshirt-Junior Quarterback Jalon Daniels

Daniels was one of the stars of Big 12 Media Days 2023, in large part because he came wearing a necklace with an Apple Watch-type video player that featured his highlights from the 2022 season playing on a loop. That and the gold suit, the million-dollar smile and confidence that was barely contained by the roof of Jerry World made Daniels a natural fit for an event like this. We’ll see what he brings to the show this year in terms of flare and pizazz, but more important than any of that will be the chance to talk to him about his health and outlook for the 2024 season. Daniels did not talk with the local media throughout spring football, so this will be the first time we’ve heard from him in a while. If his past taught us anything, it’s that JD6 will have plenty to say.

KU quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) pitches the ball to running back Devin Neal (4) during a recent game in Lawrence. [Associated Press photo]

• Senior Running Back Devin Neal

This spring, Neal told me that this would be the year of lasts and that he was going to lean into every single one of them. So, let the fun begin. He’s already had his last spring practice. And his last summer workout is right around the corner. Now, it’s time for his last chance to rep his school at Big 12 Media Days and few do that better than Neal. He’s a star in the league and knows he belongs, but he’s also incredibly humble and knows he’s representing far more than himself when he’s at these types of events. He’s representing the KU program and all of his current teammates and coaches. He’s representing dozens and dozens of past Jayhawks. He’s representing the city of Lawrence, where he grew up, and he’s representing the state of Kansas, too. That might seem like quite a load for one player to shoulder, but Neal does it effortlessly and with equal parts poise and passion. In short, he’s exactly the kind of guy you want at these things.

• Senior Cornerback Mello Dotson

Dotson’s my favorite addition to this year’s list simply because he flat-out deserves this opportunity. The other guys — particularly Daniels and Neal — have had plenty of time in the spotlight, but Dotson has always lived a little bit in the shadows. Part of that is his demeanor and the way he approaches things. When you line up opposite of demonstrative and passionate corner Cobee Bryant, that tends to happen. But his teammates insist he’s much louder and funnier than his showing in media sessions and on the field might suggest. This is the perfect place for him to showcase that — in Vegas, no less — and I imagine we’ll see a Mello Dotson who is absolutely thrilled to be there and grateful for the love he’s getting during his final season as a Jayhawk.

KU defensive end Jereme Robinson (90) takes the field before a KU home game last season at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. [Chance Parker photo]

• Senior Defensive End Jereme Robinson

Robinson’s presence on the list is sort of like those lifetime achievement awards. All the guy has done throughout his Kansas career is show up, work hard, play harder and do it all with the kind of character and commitment you want to see from all of your athletes. His numbers have been good, but, as one of the top returning D-Ends, he has a huge opportunity in front of him to step into an even bigger role and deliver the kinds of numbers that we saw from recent stars Lonnie Phelps and Austin Booker. If Robinson approaches what those guys did, it’s going to be a monster season for the KU defense. At 6-3, 265 pounds, Robinson is a monster who certainly looks the part. But he’s as kind of a dude as you’ll ever talk to and a proud Jayhawk to the core. Just don’t call him "Jerome" like people have been known to do in the past.