Both back easily cruised into the second round of our bracket, with Sims taking out David Winbush and Henley eliminating Kerwin Bell.
(6) James Sims
One of the more popular players of the past few years, Sims ran for the Jayhawks from 2010-2013, meaning he got an equal share of the Gill and Weis regimes. However, not even terrible coaching could keep Sims from running his way into the record books; he is currently third in career rushing yards (3592) and second in career rushing TDs (34) at KU. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry despite the fact that opposing defenses had absolutely no reason to fear the downfield passing game. He was also one of the more premier pass catchers in Kansas football history from the RB position, hauling in 72 receptions for 587 yards and two TDs.
Sims made an impact right away; the first time he saw action was KU’s second game of the year in 2010, when Sims started as a freshman, going for 101 yards and leading the Jayhawks past heavily-favored Georgia Tech. He was the first freshman in KU history to break the 100-yard mark in his KU debut.
He was finally named first team All-Big 12 his senior year (2003), which saw him rush for 1110 yards on only 230 attempts, good for a 4.8 average. That season included this enjoyable 230 yard, 3 TD effort against West Virginia, a 31-19 Kansas victory. You can relive those three touchdowns here.
Sims went undrafted but was picked up by the Green Bay Packers, however, he did not stick in the NFL.
(3) June Henley
Henley ran for the Jayhawks from 1993-96. He still holds the school career records for carries (823), rushing yards (3841), and rushing touchdowns (41). He made an impact at Kansas right away, getting the first team All-Big 8 nod his freshman season. He finished his senior year with a second team All-Big 12 nomination.
L.T. Levine cut into Henley’s numbers in 1994 and 1995, but June rushed for over 1,100 yards in both his freshman and senior campaigns. He topped his career off with 23 touchdowns his senior year.
Henley was drafted 163rd overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1997 NFL Draft, but didn’t make the team. He signed onto the Rams practice squad, finally getting some game action in 1998. His NFL career only totaled 11 games, gaining 313 yards on 88 carries, scoring 3 TDs.
These guys really do rank very closely to each other. Their career ranks at KU for your consideration:
Sims: 798 carries, 2nd; 34 rush TDs, 2nd; 3592 rush yards, 3rd
Henley: 823 carries, 1st; 41 rush TDs, 1st; 3841 rush yards, 1st
Who was the greater Jayhawk? Register your vote in the comments below. Other matchups can be found here.