Sunday, December 2, 2012

KU running back James Sims says NFL can wait

Kansas running back James Sims (29) celebrates a touchdown in KU's last football game Saturday against West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.

Kansas running back James Sims (29) celebrates a touchdown in KU's last football game Saturday against West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.


Kansas University tailback James Sims enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2012, becoming the 11th Jayhawk to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. But a professional career for the junior from Irving, Texas, is not calling just yet.

“I think about it from time to time,” said Sims during an interview prior to last Saturday’s 59-10 loss at West Virginia in the season finale. “But it’s not my main priority right now. I still feel I need to mature as a running back and work on things before I think about going to the next level.”

Heading into the season, Sims was perceived by many to be a solid but unspectacular runner on a bad football team. However, after rushing for 1,013 yards in just nine games, the perception changed and now many have begun to think about Sims’ professional football future.

KU coach Charlie Weis is one of those guys, and he said on multiple occasions throughout KU’s 1-11 season that Sims had what it took to play in the NFL. Weis would know. KU’s first-year coach worked as an NFL assistant for 16 seasons and, during that time, coached an impressive crop of running backs from Curtis Martin to Jamaal Charles and all kinds in between.

“He can run inside and he can run outside and he can pick up the blitz,” said Weis of Sims. “He can run and he can catch. I don’t know what he can’t do. Does he run sub-4.5 (second 40-yard dash time)? No. But he’s a really, really good player. And if you’re a really, really good player here, there’s a better than even chance that you’re going to have a chance to be a really good player (in the NFL). His football will not end next year when he finishes up his senior year. His football will continue.”

Sims, whom Weis compared recently to former Denver Broncos stud Terrell Davis, has led the Jayhawks in rushing in each of the past three seasons. He followed up a strong freshman season (742 yards on 168 carries) with a near repeat (727-182) during his sophomore season. But a better offseason conditioning program and the motivation to make up for the three-game suspension slapped on him to start the season after a DUI arrest last summer turned Sims into a faster, stronger, more dangerous back.

While breaking the 1,000-yard mark on 218 carries, Sims stacked up a school record streak of six straight 100-yard rushing games earlier this year and finished as the Big 12’s leading rusher at 112.6 yards per game, even with most of KU’s opponents focusing their defensive gameplans solely on stopping him. Even still, Sims has not been talked about much outside of the area. Asked if his occasional thoughts about the NFL had included any conversations serious talks, Sims emphasized his plan to return to Kansas for his senior season.

“No. Not right now,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything about it.”

That time will come, Weis said.

“I can’t see one reason why he wouldn’t play on Sunday,” Weis said earlier this season. “I think he’s a nice solid player. I’d want him on my team.”

With 2,482 career rushing yards, Sims currently sits in eighth place on KU’s all-time rushing list, 1,359 yards behind all-time leader June Henley. Sims’ 27 career touchdowns rank third all-time, one behind Tony Sands for second, and 14 behind Henley.

Hit the road, Jack

Last week, already armed with the knowledge that the Jayhawks’ season would be over, win or lose, after playing West Virginia in Morgantown, Weis explained that he would waste no time hitting the recruiting trail.

He reemphasized the point in his postgame comments following Saturday’s loss by saying he would shift his focus to recruiting “in about five seconds.”

Weis said he and several assistant coaches would be out recruiting immediately and could be traveling for a while.

“I’m not coming home after the game,” said offensive line coach Tim Grunhard. “I’m driving to Pittsburgh and then I’m flying to Louisville and then to San Francisco and then to Honolulu and then I’m back here on Thursday to recruit Kansas City. I’m really looking forward to getting out there on the road and selling the vision that we have for this team.”


phog1004 1 year, 4 months ago

There are a ton of people on here saying he won't make it in the NFL because of his speed, but the kid ran a 4.5 coming out of high school, and after one offseason with Holsopple he dropped weight and gained significant speed over the previous year. I'm not saying he is running a sub 4.4 or anything, but the uptick in his straightline speed was significantly noticeable even without a stopwatch in front of i'd be surprised what his 40 time is now.

You guys have got to remember, Bryce Brown couldn't even beat out Hubert and Pease at KSU and he is playing this year, so I wouldn't count out someone who led the bigxii in rushing.


JHWKDW 1 year, 4 months ago

Like I have said before and over again, KU ran the ball better than you know who in Black and Gold, I think we played better "Old Man Football" than they did. Passing game must get better (Well Duh)!

Darn I was hoping the 49ers would get some smarts, and draft Sims, and he could be be a backup for a bit, and learn from Frank Gore on how to be a kick tail RB in the NFL! Trust me Gore could be a good guy to learn from. Love to see Sims one day run for the 49ers them guys run the ball about as much as KU. Well maybe the 49ers could draft Tanner Hawkinson they need help on the Offensive line

Well I hope next season Sims can boost his stock. Sims im glad you are coming back.


texashawk10 1 year, 4 months ago

A bowl game next year is the best case scenario for this team. It was also the best case this past year and had things worked out against Rice, NIU, OSU, Texas, and Texas Tech, would've happened. The biggest issue with this team, even more than a lack of talent, is that this team just doesn't know how to win. I think a reasonable expectation next year would 3-4 wins, but with all the question marks on this team, who knows what could happen. RB and LB are really the only two positions where KU doesn't have any questions next year. Everywhere else are huge question marks. Will Jake Heaps be competent enough so that KU at least has a threat of throwing the football. Turzilli and Parmalee showed improvement throughout the season, not leaps and bounds, but enough to where an offseason of getting their route running crisper could make them viable options for Heaps. Mundine is a good receiver, but his route running needs major improvements and he is less than useless as a blocker. Can one of the other TE's fill that role that Ragone did so well this season. Can the OLine replace the departing players well enough to keep give Sims a chance at KU's all time rushing record and give Heaps enough time find receivers. Can one of the DE's step up and become a consistent pass rusher. Can the DT's stop the run and collapse the pocket to force sacks and INT's. Can the 3 new starters in the secondary grab some INT's because a couple of games could've been won had the DB's made INT's instead of dropping them. I know most people expect KU to have a kicker that is automatic from inside 50 and a punter who can kick 50 yards because that's not reality. A kicker reliable inside of 40 and a punter who can average 42-45 yards are more realistic for the college game.

If KU can get improved play from multiple position groups over last year, then KU should continue to build on the improvement of this year, and if not, next year will be even more frustrating than this year was.


rockymtnjhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I have to believe KUs grade F crappy passing game this fall will stick in Weiss' craw all winter. KU will run and throw the ball better next year. It should translate to a few wins.

A better pass rush to go with maturing linebackers should give us a better defense. Secondary guys still on the roster will have to step it up. 3-5 wins is probably realistic. 6 maybe 7 is not out of the question. For the latter, Heaps and the OU kid will have to be a dynamic tandem. The rest of our receivers apparently suck. The TEs are fine.


carolinahawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Tough crowd. I'd say losing to six bowl teams by a TD or less isn't too bad in the first year of a program. I'd seek four wins next year, but everyone will be looking for Sims. We better be able to play-pass, or, better still, pass enough to force defenses to play us with some respect deep. And, If we don't get some defensive speed, it's going to be another long year.


90sHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Interesting, a lot of NFL talent scouts post right here on the KU message boards. Who'd have guessed it .... It's fine to have an opinion, but those of you who diss Sims' ability to play in the NFL don't know squat. I'm not an NFL scout, so I'll defer to Weis' knowledge of the NFL game since he spent many years there, including as a running backs coach.


Emery 1 year, 4 months ago

Although James Sims is a very good college player, I think the title of the article should read, "The NFL can wait on James Sims".


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 4 months ago

James Sims and Tony Pierson are the only reasonably good players on the roster.

The rest of the team shouldn't be in a BCS conference.

Face facts, boys.


Jim Jackson 1 year, 4 months ago

We need better talent and it will get here. Weis knows what he's doing.


wildjayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Looks like KU has another Turner Gill at the helm.


JayhawkinNE 1 year, 4 months ago

I would like to see an article on the incoming recruits and how they fared during their high school/jr college season. Please share if anyone has this information.


flloyd 1 year, 4 months ago

Without Sims in the 2013 season, we'd be lucky to win a single game. We may not even win one game with him with the schedule we have next year.


Jeff Suther 1 year, 4 months ago

Sims is a solid RB, the best one ku ha had since Cornish, but is not an NFL back. He lacks the speed. I could see Pierson in the league before him.


jhox 1 year, 4 months ago

We should try to talk Cox into red shirting next year. He's very talented and it's not doing him any good wasting his last year watching Sims from the sideline.


Phil Leister 1 year, 4 months ago

What are the chances Sims leaves KU as the all-time leading rusher? Give me 10-1 odds and I'll take the bet.


jayhawkintx1973 1 year, 4 months ago

Matt Tait probably has the toughest job at, and I also believe Matt Tait is the most valuable writer at by far.


jayhawkintx1973 1 year, 4 months ago

I said yesterday, NIU, in the Orange Bowl. NIU is playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl. KU's schedule may have been the toughest of any school the past couple of decades.


JayHok 1 year, 4 months ago

Great article and this should certainly help with recruiting. Here's to James Sims and the 2013 Kansas football team!


hawkdds 1 year, 4 months ago

I hope every Big 12 team in post-season wins by 20 points to show the SEC and talking head pundits the league is tough from top to bottom and the Irish stuff Alabama.RCJH


MN_Jayhawk39 1 year, 4 months ago

Anyone notice that Northern Illinois just made the Orange Bowl... and Rice also made a Bowl. That means that all 11 teams KU lost to made bowls.


Doug Cramer 1 year, 4 months ago

Agree with Ahperse.

Sims does not have the speed thats required to succeed in the NFL.


ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 4 months ago

I hate to be "that guy" to correct Tait's errors but their are just too many in this article. The "N" in NFL should be a "A" for arena.


Brennan Keller 1 year, 4 months ago

Don't be surprised if Coach Weis fires wide receivers coach Rob Ianello after this season. The WR's greatly underachieved all season long. It is one thing to not have much of a passing game but it is another story when NO wide receivers have TD's and player development in that position was not seen all season long. What are your thoughts Jayhawks?


LAJayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I made the point about our schedule difficulty on the other article, but it bears repeating, and actually goes along with this Sims piece.

Again, Sagarin ratings have us as having the hardest schedule in ALL of college football. But that just got emphasized even further today. EVERY FBS school we played this year... EVERYONE, from Rice to NIU and all 9 of the Big 12 teams are bowl teams. That's 11 bowl teams we played. Not only that, but TWO of those teams are BCS bowl teams, NIU and KSU. And a 3rd is in the Cotton Bowl (OU).

11 Bowl teams and two BCS teams.

Think about that brutal schedule, not only when you contemplate how we did, but also when you think about how amazing it is that James Sims rushed for over 1,000 yards in only 9 of those games.... when all of those defenses were keying on him.

Sorry, but that is freakin' impressive. James Sims is an absolute STUD.


Jason Keller 1 year, 4 months ago

A small running back who runs a 4.6.. yep welcome to the league kid.. Look he's ok and because of his vision, can compete on this level but he will NEVER carry a football in a regular season game in the NFL period. I can think of at least 15 running backs in the last 3 years who were much better than him coming out of college who were buried in a depth chart and then released. You need Darin Sproles like athleticism to even think about playing at that size. Next topic.


Robert Brock 1 year, 4 months ago

Next year we will be 7-5, gp to a bowl, and THEN Sims can head to the NFL.


jayhawkintx1973 1 year, 4 months ago

It's a long a shot, but the top QB in the class of 2013 decommitted after USF fired Skip Holtz. This would obviously be a good guy to talk to, because Heaps and Baty only have 2 years of eligibility.

A recruit like his could help attract some WR's also. If USF can get a guy like this, I don't see why KU couldn't.


Jim Erickson 1 year, 4 months ago

This is huge... Sims is the best thing we have going. I have high hopes for Heaps and McCay, but neither is proven as a Jayhawk yet so Sims is our biggest piece coming back. There are running backs who can run behind a good line and running backs who can flat out run.. Sims is a stud.


Ron Prichard 1 year, 4 months ago

Good decision. I'm glad he decided to come back. With a full season next year he could break the all-time KU career rushing record. I would love to see that.


irvan moore 1 year, 4 months ago

good kid, we are fortunate to have him here


Boouk 1 year, 4 months ago

Smart decision by Sims. Hopefully he stays healthy and boosts his stock.


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