As part of our 100 days until Kansas football (maybe) series, we’re doing another countdown. This one features the best players to wear certain numbers for the football Jayhawks. Just as a side note, there is no way that we’re going 1-99 (although any suggestions in the comments are always welcome), so we’re going to highlight the very best from a certain number set. Today, we’ll start with numbers one through twenty.
The Best of the Best
#3 Aqib Talib
We knew that Aqib Talib was going to be good when he left KU, but we just didn’t know how good. Oh yeah, and remember how he became a dual threat in 2007? Yep, he caught four TD passes that magical season. But perhaps Talib’s most memorable play in crimson and blue was his 60-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 2008 Orange Bowl. That touchdown gave KU its first lead, one that they would never relinquish.
#5 Todd Reesing
There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said before about Todd Reesing, so I’ll add this: I thought that Mark Mangino was out of his mind when he turned over the quarterback reins to Reesing over Kerry Meier. I couldn’t believe it. It made no sense. I don’t think I’ve ever had a worse sports take in my life.
#9 Nolan Cromwell
Not many people make the transition from safety to quarterback and then back again, but that’s what Nolan Cromwell did. He was an All-Big 8 star at DB then became the conference’s offensive player of the year at quarterback.
Then, with the Los Angeles Rams, all Cromwell did was go back to defense and get named to the All-Decade team in the NFL for the 1980s. Decent work. Here’s more on Cromwell if you’d like to read it.
#10 Bobby Douglass
Between his arm and his legs, Bobby Douglass was a force to be reckoned with. He led the Big 8 in scoring twice. His completion percentage wasn’t through the roof, but Douglass will go down as one of the best to ever sling it at Kansas. He played ten years in the NFL for the Bears, Chargers, Packers, and Saints. Bobby Douglass was about more than just football- he loved KU- as you can read right here.
The Next Best
#4 Bill Whittemore
Bill Whittemore probably proved, more than anyone early in the Mark Mangino era, that the system was going to work. Whittemore is a long-time favorite on this site, and why not? In his two years, he threw enough touchdowns, gained enough yardage, and ran effectively enough to be on several top-10 lists and in KU lore as the man who kick started one the best eras of KU football.
#12 David Jaynes
The only KU player in a top 4 of a Heisman vote is none other than David Jaynes of Bonner Springs, Kansas. He was a Kansas QB record holder for many years until some guy named Reesing came along. More about Jaynes right here.
#16 Chris Harris
Chris Harris’s numbers at KU were never outstanding, but after he left KU, it’s hard to find better. Over nine years in the NFL, Harris has totaled 20 interceptions, and been selected to the Pro-Bowl four times. In 2016, Harris was selected as a first team All-Pro performer.
#3 Charles Gordon
I loved Charles Gordon. He’s definitely one of the more memorable players from the early Mark Mangino years (man, that dude got some nice talent to come to KU), and you could argue that Gordon could or should be ahead of at least Harris on this list. NFL performances is what is pushing Harris into the higher category. A more in-depth profile can be found here.
#3 Gerald McBurrows
Gerald McBurrows was much better known after he left the University of Kansas. His NFL career was highlighted by stints with the Rams and Falcons. He was a solid performer for nine years in the league. All that you need to know about McBurrows can be found in this piece that I wrote about him several years ago.
#12 James Holt
The Altus, Oklahoma native totaled 223 tackles in his three years playing with the Jayhawks, including 99 in that magical 2007 season and 105 in the following campaign. In that final senior season, Holt sacked the opposing QB ten times, and he also ranked number one in the Big XII with twenty tackles for a loss. The second team all-conference selection was now on the NFL’s radar and played parts of two seasons for the San Diego Chargers.
Can you think of anyone else? Add your suggestions below because there is definitely someone that we’ve forgotten.