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Greatest Kansas Football Players of All-Time: Tony Sands vs Curtis McClinton

(5) Sands vs (4) McClinton

Oklahoma v Kansas X

(5) Tony Sands

Amassing 3777 yards on 777 carries, Tony Sands was one of the few bright spots over the 4 year period from 1988-1991. In his final season, he led the Big Eight in yards from scrimmage, rushing yards and rushing attempts, being named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year and also to the All-Big Eight First Team and Third Team All-America.

His most well-known game came against the Missouri Tigers in 1991, when he set the NCAA record for most yards in a single game with 396 yards and 4 touchdowns. The record stood for 8 seasons. He still ranks second on the career rushing yards list at KU and third in rushing TDs.

Because of his size (5’6” 175 lbs), a great pro football career was never in the cards for Sands. After a stint on the KU coaching staff, Tony now runs his own speed and conditioning program in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

(4) Curtis McClinton

Born in Oklahoma but raised in Wichita, McClinton played for Kansas from 1959-61. He was primarily a blocker, hence, did not put up the stats you might expect for a 4-seed, going for “only” 1377 rushing yards in his KU career. However, he was a 3-time first team All-Conference selection (1959-61) and along with John Hadl led KU to the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl, a huge 33-7 victory over Rice. An all-around athlete, he also won three Big-8 titles in hurdles during his time at KU.

McClinton was drafted 110th overall by the Dallas Texans (slash future Kansas City Chiefs) of the AFL. He was an immediate star, winning Rookie of the Year in 1962 and running his way to 3124 yards and 18 TDs. His rushing total is still good for 9th in Chiefs history. He also added 1945 career receiving yards.

He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame and is in the Ring of Honor at KU’s Memorial Stadium.


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