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Greatest Kansas Football Players of All-Time Bracket: Evans vs Pless

(1) Ray Evans vs (4) Willie Pless

NCAA Football: Texas at Kansas John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Evans has moved through the first two rounds of the bracket untouched, knocking out Larry Brown and Ollie Spencer(!!) with ease. Willie Pless, on the other hand, eliminated Ben Heeney before surviving the fighting Mrkonics in the second round.

(1) Ray Evans

Clearly, Evans played in a different era, but regardless he is still one of the greatest overall athletes in Jayhawk history. Evans started on offense and defense, at quarterback and cornerback. He was a first team All-American in 1947 as a defensive back and a big part of leading the Jayhawks to the 1948 Orange Bowl.

Evans is the only player in NCAA history ever to lead the country in passing yards (as a QB) and INTs (as a CB) in the same year. He is the only Jayhawk to be first team All-American in both football (1947) and basketball (1943). He was a three-time first team All-Conference (Big Six) selection (1942, '46-'47) in football.

He is still KU's single season and career leader in interceptions. He is one of five Jayhawks ever to be taken in the top 10 of the NFL Draft.

He is also one of five Jayhawks (four players and a coach) enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, and he is also memorialized in KU’s 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.