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Greatest Kansas Football Players of All-Time Bracket: George Mrkonic vs Willie Pless

(5) Mrkonic vs (4) Pless

NCAA Football - Iowa State vs Kansas - November 26, 2005 Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images

Mrkonic knocked off Nick Reid while Pless cruised past Ben Heeney to make the second round. This leads us to yet another second round matchup of Ring of Honor members.

(5) George Mrkonic

He was part of the great KU teams of the early 1950s, playing from 1950-52. George was a do-everything man for KU, playing on both the offensive and defensive lines as well as punting for the Jayhawks. He also lettered in baseball.

George was drafted 45th overall in the 1953 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in 10 games during the '53 season, his only season in the NFL.

Mrkonic's honors at KU include first-team All-Big 7 in 1951 and 1952, first team All-American in 1951, and the Ring of Honor at Memorial Stadium.

(4) Willie Pless

Pless played at KU from 1983-85. He amassed an incredible 633 tackles over three years, which unfortunately isn't recognized as an NCAA record because tackles didn't become an "official statistic" for the NCAA until 2000. But consider, the current NCAA career leader (Luke Kuechly, Boston College) only has 532.

Pless 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. He also contributed 84 sacks, 39 INTS, and 39 fumble recoveries over those 13 years. He retired from the CFL following the 2000 season, leaving the league as its all-time career leading tackler.

Pless is enshrined in the Ring of Honor at Memorial Stadium.


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