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Know Your KU History: David Winbush

Sometimes guys toil away in obscurity on bad teams. David Winbush was one of those guys.

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At five foot seven and one hundred and eighty pounds, David Winbush did not have your prototypical body for a featured running back, especially at the Division One collegiate level. But still, the Killeen, Texas native never let his size be a factor in his play.

David Winbush arrived at KU in the fall of 1997 along with new head coach Terry Allen. Winbush made an impact right off the bat for Kansas, although he did it as a backup in his first season in Lawrence as Eric Vann was the starting tailback for KU that year as a senior. Still, Winbush got plenty of chances. During his freshman campaign, David rushed the ball 61 times for 338 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He was also used as a kickoff returner and he averaged 21.7 yards per return on 21 attempts.

With Vann having graduated, Winbush had his best season as a Jayhawk in 1998. He ran the ball 209 times for 974 yards (a 4.7 YPC average) with nine touchdowns. He also caught eight passes out of the backfield for 75 yards that season. His time as a kickoff returner dwindled a bit as he only returned eight kickoffs for an 18.3 average. He was clearly the featured running back.

His best individual effort came in that 1998 season. Against the #17 Colorado Buffaloes, Winbush rushed the ball 29 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns. At the time, it was the most rushing yards ever given up to a single player in the history of the Colorado football program. It was KU’s lone conference win that season.

His junior campaign featured another twist. KU converted Moran Norris into a fullback and he shared the majority of the carries with Winbush. With this new "thunder and lightning" approach, Winbush (the lightning) ran the ball just 123 times for 595 yards (4.8 YPC) and scored six touchdowns. Winbush also scored his first-ever receiving touchdown that season as he became more of a threat out of the backfield.

Because of an injury to Norris, Winbush was a more focal point of the Kansas offense in his senior season. He ran the ball 163 times for 701 yards (a 4.3 average) and scored five rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. He also went back to returning kicks after a year away from that duty, and ran back nine kicks for a 21.8-yard average per kick.

The shame of all this is that Winbush never got to play on a good team. Heck, he never even played on a team with a winning record. The 1997 team was 5-6 (although the game against Colorado was one that CU had to forfeit, giving KU an unearned 6-5 record that season). In 1998 and 2000, the team went 4-7 while the 1999 squad finished 5-7.

After an unsuccessful try at playing in the Canadian Football League, Winbush has settled back in his native Texas, and at last check was on the coaching staff at Reagan High School in San Antonio.