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Kansas Jayhawk Football Roster Breakdown: Defensive End

Apr 28, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks linebacker Toben Opurum (35) watches during the second half of the Spring Game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 28, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks linebacker Toben Opurum (35) watches during the second half of the Spring Game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Rarely has Kansas had a great pass rush. You have to probably go back to the Fort Worth Bowl season to find a team that could bring a few players off the edge and make an opposing quarterback uncomfortable. Even at the peak of Kansas football the ends were serviceable, smart players but hardly explosive off the edge.

Does this years group have the potential to create a little havoc in the backfield and force our opponent to play out of their comfort zone?

  • Toben Opurum - Opurum is the team captain, led the team in sacks last year and he's a very versatile and athletic player at the weakside end position. This is truly his second full season at the position and even at that it's been a position with a lot of ambiguity. Hand on the ground end? Stand up linebacker? Opurum will likely do both. If the defensive line around him is improved as we all hope, and Dave Campo can dial up some pressure, then Opurum could be poised for a true breakout season.
  • Josh Williams - Williams has good size for a strongside end and he has been in a situation where he's played against top competition throughout his career at Nebraska. Williams will be a huge piece to the puzzle if we're talking about defensive line improvement as this season progresses. Kansas needs Williams to start and deliver on a consistent basis.
  • Ben Goodman - Goodman was a player that received high marks during his redshirt freshman year and that has carried over into fall camp. He is still a work in progress but he's up to 260 and can compete with Williams on the strongside while he works toward being the man at this position in the future.
  • Michael Reynolds - Reynolds is your backup to Opurum and he was a hot name during spring ball. Things have been a little quiet when it comes to his name this fall but that shouldn't detract from the potential that he's already displayed. Look for Reynolds to be in the game early and often as a player that will step into the role currently filled by Opurum in the future.
  • Keba Agostinho - Agostinho has been listed at defensive tackle and end. He's played end throughout his career to date and he can slide back to the outside as needed. All indications are that he'll spend most of his time on the interior but he at least deserves mention at end as well.
  • Tyler Holmes - Holmes is a freshman and he was listed on the two deep to start fall camp. I would look at this more as a situation where Weis wanted to give him the opportunity but I don't expect that he'll be a major piece to the puzzle in 2012.
  • Neal Page - Page was a late addition to the 2012 class and he has a nice frame that he can build on. Early on he is said to have put together some nice plays in fall camp so the future looks bright, but for this year it wouldn't necessarily be a positive to see Page on the field consistently.
  • Josh Richardson - It seems as though this ship has probably sailed. Richardson was a risk and while his effort and commitment to Kansas is commendable it doesn't sound as though he's someone that will be looked to as a senior leader that can make plays on a weekly basis.

With this group we're looking at a solid four man rotation. Factor in the defensive tackles that Weis has mentioned as potential end candidates and that number fluctuates to six or seven. That mirrors the increased depth at tackle and overall we're looking at about 10 players that have been mentioned as very real possibilities along the front four. Fingers crossed that the optimism isn't all for not.