(2) John Riggins
Centralia-raised Riggins ran for Kansas from 1968-70, and I mean he ran and ran and ran. In 31 games for the Jayhawks, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry, finishing his Kansas career with 2659 rush yards, a mark that at the time broke Gale Sayers’ rushing record and still ranks 7th in the KU record books.
He was part of the 1968 Orange Bowl team, a year in which he was named first team All-Big 8. His senior year of 1970 also saw him pick up first team All-Conference honors. Both of his All-Big 8 honors had him listed at fullback.
Riggins was drafted 6th overall by the New York Jets in the 1971 NFL Draft. He spent five years with the Jets before signing as a free agent with the Washington Redskins, where he would spend the rest of his NFL career. If you’ve got some free time, his contract dispute a few years later with the Redskins is an interesting story. He wanted to renegotiate his deal, the Redskins refused, and he sat out the 1980 season. Joe Gibbs came to Kansas to re-recruit Riggins, and click the link if you want to find out what happened.
Riggins finished his NFL career with, well, a lot of NFL records - 20 if you believe Wikipedia. He totaled 11,352 rushing yards and 104 TDs. In addition, he was the MVP of Super Bowl XVII and an NFL Hall of Famer, class of 1992.
One last thing to consider - how many players have their own ballad?
(15) Wade Stinson
Randall, KS native Wade Stinson ran for the Jayhawks from 1948-1950. Like a lot of the guys from that era, he was known as a great all-around athlete - an exceptional blocker, dependable pass catcher and a speedy, shifty runner. His senior year of 1950 was his best season; Stinson rushed for 1129 yards, setting a single-season school rushing record that stood for 20 years while being named first team All-Big 7. He finished that season as the No. 5 rusher in the nation.
Stinson was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, but opted to go into insurance instead. He had a varied career after football; after several years in the insurance industry, he became KU’s athletic director, a post he held from 1964-72. Following that, he went into banking. Stinson passed away in 2001 at age 74.
Who was the greater Jayhawk? Log your vote in the comments. Check out the other matchups here.