We recently looked at the top nominees for next up on the ring of honor. Kansas Athletics says that the Ring of Honor is intended to honor Kansas All-Americans and others who have made a significant on-field contribution to the football program. Today, we will look at those who have made “significant on field contributions.”
In case you didn’t want to click the link, a reminder of my First Round Nominees: K Bruce Kallmeyer, CB Gil Reich, RB Tony Sands, DL Dana Stubblefield, ATH Charles Gordon, LB Nick Reid, DT James McClinton.
In no particular order:
Second Round Nominees
Frank Seurer, QB, 1980-83
Seurer started all four years and is KU’s career leader in games played for a quarterback with 44. He led the Jayhawks to a bowl game in 1981 and an upset over 10th-ranked USC at the Coliseum in 1983. While at KU, he broke most of David Jaynes’ records for passing, and today sits at #2 in passing yards and #3 in TD passes.
James Sims, RB, 2010-13
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 in his college career despite the fact that opposing defenses had absolutely no reason to fear the downfield passing game. He was 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.
Laverne Smith, RB, 1973-76
Only two Jayhawks have averaged over 6 yards per carry in their college careers – Gale Sayers and Laverne Smith. On 488 carries, Smith averaged 6.5 YPC, earning first team All-Big 8 recognition in 1974. Sportswriters who saw both Smith and Sayers play say Smith was faster than the Kansas Comet.
Jon Cornish, RB, 2002-2006
Cornish’s breakout season came in his junior year, as he led the 2005 Jayhawks in all rushing categories. He amassed 780 total yards that season with 9 rushing touchdowns. Cornish was even better as a senior in 2006. He set the single-season mark for rushing yards at KU, going for 1457 while scoring 8 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD, and getting over the 100-yard mark in 8 games. He was first team All-Big 12 that year, setting up an impressive CFL career.
Kerry Meier, WR, 2006-09
After switching from QB, Meier ended up being one of the most prolific receivers in Kansas history. He ranks first all-time at KU in total receptions, and ranks second all-time in touchdown receptions and receiving yardage behind Dezmon Briscoe.
Dezmon Briscoe, WR, 2007-09
Briscoe holds the top spot in most of the receiving categories in the school record books, including receiving yards and receiving TDs. In addition, he ranks #10 all-time in the Big 12 in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He also holds a school record with seven 100-yard games in a season, including four consecutive 100-yard games. He was a first team All-Big 12 selection in his junior year of 2009.
LeRoy Irvin, CB, 1976-80
Irvin is still tied for 5th in the school record books in career INT’s and is sixth in career tackles. He was the only freshman on the 1976 squad to get a starting spot. He led the team in tackles his sophomore year, and led KU DB’s in tackles during his junior campaign. A nine-year pro career saw him named to two Pro Bowls.
Algie Atkinson, LB, 1998-01
After playing in 11 games in his freshman campaign, Atkinson became a starter just a couple of games into his sophomore season, eventually finishing his four-year career as KU’s leader in sacks with 24.
Ron Warner, LB, 1996-97
A junior college transfer from Independence CC, Warner made an impact right away at linebacker. He was named first team All-Big 12 in 1997, and still sits at third in career sacks in the Jayhawk record books.
Kansas has had a myriad of multiple first team All-Conference players throughout its history, but in my opinion, to consider those guys before the ones nominated a few weeks ago and the ones just listed would be difficult to justify. I may be missing one or two, but per the 2018 media guide I think I got all of KU’s multiple first team All-Conference selections. That makes this a quick list of other names that you could, eventually, make a case for.
Note that the years behind their names are the years they were first teamers, not necessarily the time they were at KU. This is from the formation of the Big Six on (1929-current):
Hessley Hempstead, G, 1993-94
Dan Eichloff, K, 1990-92
Willie Vaughn, WR, 1986, 1988
Bucky Scriber, P, 1980-82
David Verser, WR, 1979-80
Emmett Edwards, WR, 1973-74
Kurt Knoff, DB, 1973-75
Emery Hicks, LB, 1968-69
Fred Hageman, C, 1959-60