LAWRENCE — Kansas football’s latest coaching hire is a Missouri graduate.
KU has hired A.J. Ricker to lead the team’s offensive line, the program announced in a Wednesday afternoon news release. Ricker was an All-Big 12 first team selection as a senior center for the Tigers in 2003 and has held the offensive line coach position at Missouri, Western Michigan and Illinois.
“A.J. has seen it all,” KU coach David Beaty said in the release. “He has both coached and played with the best of the best. I like the way his offensive linemen play. They are tough, gritty guys. They play with tenacity and I am looking forward to him bringing that edge to our program.”
An offensive analyst last season for Oklahoma State, Ricker also has experience coaching in the SEC and the Big Ten, among other stops. He was offensive line coach for his alma mater from 2014-15 and helped develop left tackle Mitch Morse, who converted to center and was a second-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ricker had a brief stint with the NFL’s Chicago Bears following his own graduation in 2004.
Ricker replaces Zach Yenser, who was on Beaty’s staff for the head coach’s first three seasons but was one of two assistant coaches to leave the program last week, along with special teams coordinator Joe DeForest. In 2017, the KU offensive line allowed 29 sacks and saw Jayhawk running backs average only 3.15 yards per attempt.