Because we live in a society where only recent achievements are remembered and a reputation can be built and destroyed in a blink of an eye, it’s easy to forget that Kansas has a pretty rich football history. Just because Kansas has recently been underperforming on the football field doesn’t take away what this program achieved just seven years ago. And before that surge, the decline that preceded it shouldn’t take the luster off of what were some pretty good Glen Mason-led teams in the 1990s. And just because the 1980’s lacked for wins doesn’t mean the 70’s and 60’s weren’t fruitful. In fact, KU’s footballing history in those decades is pretty stellar (as noted several times in these articles) and quarterback David Jaynes contributed to the winning in the early 1970’s.
The Bonner Springs, Kansas native was a bona fide star coming out of high school with teams like Stanford recruiting the young quarterback, but Jaynes ultimately stayed close to home and chose to play for the Jayhawks in college. His first season at Kansas was in 1971 and he had a pretty nice campaign going 64 of 137 for 748 yards and seven touchdowns, but KU only went 4-7 that season under first year head coach Don Fambrough.
In 1972, Jaynes was given more responsibility under Fambrough and his stats improved. Jaynes was 153 of 287 for 2253 yards that year, but his touchdown to interception ratio went the wrong way and helped Kansas stay stagnant from a win-loss perspective. That year he threw 21 INTs to only 15 TDs and Kansas finished with an identical 4-7 record.
But then came 1973, Jaynes’ senior season at KU. He threw for 2349 yards on 196 of 368 passing. He threw 14 touchdowns and only tossed 11 picks, a huge improvement on the 1972 campaign. He was the Big 8 leader that season in passing yards, passing touchdowns, total yards, pass completions, pass attempts, adjusted yards per attempt, and total plays from scrimmage.
With his stellar play at QB, KU finished with a 7-4-1 record that culminated in an appearance in the Liberty Bowl against North Carolina State. When the season came to a close, David Jaynes was named a first team All- Big 8 performer and a consensus All-American. He also came in fourth in the Heisman vote that season, the highest ever finish for a Jayhawk*.
*As a side note, it’s amazing to me that neither Gale Sayers nor John Riggins were even finalists for the award. Neither even finished in the top-10 in voting. Incredible.
Jaynes parlayed his stellar 1973 season into becoming a third-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1974. He only played in two games for the Chiefs and was done with NFL football for good after that season. He was also drafted into the World Football League but never played in that quickly defunct league.