The question posed in the title is an easy one to answer on the surface. Steven Sims Jr. is very good.
He’s been the best offensive player on the Jayhawks the past two years, which, OK, might not be saying much. The counter argument to that is that he’s averaged 849 yards and 6.5 touchdowns in his past two seasons while being the main weapon defenses have to plan against and not having a consistent and reliable quarterback.
Regardless, that’s not the point of this article. The real question is, putting Sims’ production into perspective, where does he stack up in Kansas football history? Spoiler: It’s probably higher than you think.
I touched on the past two seasons already, but the production began as a freshman. Sims was the second-best receiver on the team with 30 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He then followed it up with seasons of 859 yards and seven touchdowns and 839 yards and six touchdowns, respectively.
It should also be mentioned that Sims took over some of the kick and punt return duties as a junior, tallying 355 kick return and 77 punt return yards. That junior season also included Sims’ 233-yard outburst against K-State, which is the third-most yards in a single game in KU history (it was also the most since Dezmon Briscoe’s 242 yards in 2009; the similarities/comparisons between those two won’t end there).
Put it all together and Sims has caught 161 passes 2,047 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons of work. Not bad.
Where He Stands: Recent History
It’s been a while since someone in a KU uniform other than Steven Sims gained more than 800 receiving yards in a season. The closest was Laquvionte Gonzalez in 2016 with 729, the season Sims had 859 yards and seven touchdowns (compared to Gonzalez’s three). But that’s it.
You have to go back to 2009 to find a receiver better than Sims, where the duo of Dezmon Briscoe (1337 yards and nine touchdowns) and Kerry Meier (985 yards and eight touchdowns) ran rampant on opposing secondaries. This was also the final season for Todd Reesing and I can’t help but imagine Steven Sims’ playmaking ability after catching a beautifully thrown ball from Reesing down the sideline.
Where He Stands: All-Time
If Sims never played another snap, he’d already be one of the best receivers in Jayhawk history. Here’s where Sims currently stands in the all-time career lists:
Receptions: 161 - 3rd; behind Meier and Briscoe
Receiving Yards: 2,047 - 5th; behind Briscoe, Meier, Willie Vaughn, and Mark Simmons
Touchdowns: 15 - tied for 6th with Dexton Fields; behind Briscoe, Meier, Bruce Adams, Vaughn, and Simmons
Let’s assume Sims maintains his average from the past two years: 65 receptions, 849 yards, and six touchdowns. Sims Jr. would tie Meier for most career receptions (226), and while Briscoe’s record for career receiving yards (3,240) and touchdowns (31) are tough to reach, he would easily be second all-time in those categories. Currently, Meier is second all-time in career yards (2,309) and touchdowns (18), and Sims is likely to surpasses those numbers with an average year.
Sims has never had an eye-popping statistical season—like 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns—but there’s something to be said for his remarkable consistency through three years, and potentially four. Regardless of how this year plays out, Sims is leaving KU as an all-time great.