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Greatest Kansas Football Players of All-Time Bracket: Willie Pless vs Ben Heeney

(4) Willie Pless vs (13) Ben Heeney

NCAA Football: Kansas at West Virginia Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy, here we go. This one could get interesting, as Ben Heeney, the newest starting linebacker for the Raiders, is clearly a fan favorite. Heeney knocked off LeRoy Irvin by a close 5-4 margin in the preliminary round, but now has a monster challenge in front of him in the form of Willie Pless. Pless moved into the field of 64 with a clear 10-2 win over Jake Laptad.

(4) Willie Pless

If you want a linebacker who had a nose for the ball, you look no further than KU’s Willie Pless. In 33 games at KU, Pless averaged over 19 tackles per game, racking up a grand total of 633 - that would also be an NCAA record, but tackles weren’t an official statistic until the 2000 season.

He was first team All-Big 8 in 1983, 1984, and 1985. He is the career tackles leader at Kansas and a CFL Hall of Famer, where he spent 14 seasons, was an 11 time All-Star, a 5 time Defensive Player of the Year, and left the league as the all time career leading tackler.

(13) Ben Heeney

Heeney was at Kansas from 2011-14, one of the bright spots during the Gill/Weis years. He made an impact right away, playing in all 12 games his freshman year and starting from his sophomore year onward.

Heeney currently ranks 8th on the career tackles list at KU, and was drafted 140th overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He should be their starting middle linebacker when the season kicks off on Sept 11.


Who’s the greater Jayhawk? Log your vote in the comments. Check out the other matchups here.