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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kansas D-tackle to bring ‘nasty’

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For a player who is supposed to be so mean on the field, new Kansas University defensive tackle Keon Stowers sure seems awfully nice off of it.

And you can bet that Stowers has heard about that more than once.

Blessed with the size and strength to play defensive tackle and the smile to play a starring role in a children’s play, the Georgia Military College transfer has spent much of his career trying to overcome his good-guy image.

“My coaches always joke around with me saying I’m too nice and all of this,” Stowers said before reporting to campus in early June. “But once I get on the field and show people what I can do, that quiets up people pretty quick.”

Originally from Northwestern High in Rock Hill, S.C., Stowers spent the past two seasons at Georgia Military adjusting to the college game. While that included obvious tasks such as endless hours in the weight room, studying film at all times of day and lots of practices, Stowers said he also tried hard to keep himself from smiling so much.

“I try to be a good guy off the field, and I try to smile all the time,” Stowers said. “But once you step onto the gridiron, it’s all a different story. You try to be the best player possible first, and then you bring the nasty after that.”

There has been nothing nasty about Stowers’ life since signing with Georgia Military out of high school. After earning all-region honors after a 95-tackle senior season at NHS, Stowers went on to help GMC rank as the 14th best defense in the country last season, when he recorded 26 tackles, three for loss, and two interceptions.

Now he has his sights set on bringing that type of production to Lawrence, where early playing time figures to be within reach.

“That was really one of my deciding points when choosing Kansas — the opportunity to play and the lack of depth at that position,” Stowers said. “That was their selling point, too. (This offseason, defensive coordinator Dave) Campo was reminding me that they’re really thin there, and they’re really counting on me to be one of the guys to come in and help fill that void there.”

Talks such as those inspired Stowers to work as hard in the weight room as he did on developing a mean face, and the efforts appeared to pay off. When Stowers signed with KU, he was listed at 272 pounds.

A few weeks after graduation, back home in South Carolina, he was up to 283. And by the time he left for KU, he was just six pounds shy of his goal of 295.

“I’ve put on a good little bit of weight,” he said.

Stowers will room with fellow defensive lineman Ty McKinney, a transfer from Trinity Valley CC in Texas, and in addition to competing for playing time, the two will look to build on a friendship that began during the offseason.

“We’ve gotten to know each other a lot,” Stowers said. “He’s decided to bring the TV, and I’m bringing the Xbox, so we’ll take the friendship from there.”

Comments

Doug Cramer 2 years, 4 months ago

After seeing how our d-line has performed since the graduation of James McClinton...I'll believe it when I see it.

I think our d-line is still thin...and lacks overall talent.

What's bothersome...what happens in the future ?

We only signed ONE d-linemen in last years class...and so far in the class of 2013...we have committed zero.

We also thought Gill's class of 2011...which brought in a ton of talent on the O-line...would create some additional guys on the d-line...by moving some over to defense. Well that didn't happen either.

Buddy Wyatt and Campo - lets break this pattern of not giving ourself a chance to win games...and let's really focus on getting some help in this VERY IMPoRTANT position group for the class of 2013.

Patrick Leiker 2 years, 4 months ago

We only signed one d lineman in last years class?

Jason Keller 2 years, 4 months ago

Dude they've brought in 2 or 3 Juco defensive tackles. Programs like ours rely on Jucos to fill positions like this. Don't let the Juco thing scare you, these kids were D-1 all along they just didn't have the grades. Plus Juco ball is very very competitive. I played a year myself and I can tell you that the 12 guys each team gets to bring from out of state are all solid division I guys.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

Kellerman - 2 JUCO DT's Plus a HS DT, Plus Keon - who was listed as a DE but growing into a DT by design.

As for the restof TRJ's off base comments, some people wondered about OL recruits moving to DL because there were 6 to start, but we're now down to 4 and they are projecting nicely into reserve roles on an also thin OL. The 4 DL recruits in 2012 would indicate that this staff has appropriately identified this (as well as other) area of need on the team.

Doug Cramer 2 years, 4 months ago

I hope my comments are off base...but afraid they're not.

If acquiring a couple of Juco guys is gonna fix the worst d-line in d-1 football...then I'll eat my words.

Again...what about the future of this position group ? Yes...we only have 1 d-linemen coming in this year as a freshman...and none committed this year. That's a fact...not off base.

On top of that...the 2009 and 2010 classes also lacked d-linemen. So how the hell do we expect this defense to stop any of the big 12 offenses with the current roster of d-linemen ?

Jonathan Briles 2 years, 4 months ago

First off your "fact" that we only signed one high school recruit last year is false. We signed two. A lot of people forget about signing Neal Page who is a DE. Rival.com rated him very low, but ESPN lists him as our third highest rated recruit.

It is too early to judge this years recruiting class. We are recruiting Defensive Linemen and just because none are committed yet does not mean we will not sign a few.

Why do you think Juco guys are so bad? Weis saw it as the biggest problem and wanted to get a quick fix. He got guys who were physically ready for the Big 12. There is a very small group of HS level DT's who can play at a big level right out of HS. Weis did the best thing for this year by signing all of those Juco guys.

Doug Cramer 2 years, 4 months ago

KanFan - didn't realize we had the Neal Page guy. Thanks for bringing that up.

As far as juco guys are concerned...the problem is with the future. It would be nice to have some studs coming up. Juco guys are only here for two seasons...we need to be developing some young talent waiting in the wings.

Jonathan Briles 2 years, 4 months ago

Page was a really late addition to the class and because of his low rating by rivals not a lot noticed him. I don't know which site to believe because rivals thinks nothing of him, but ESPN thinks he has a lot of potential if he can hit the weight room pretty hard.

I understand that you want guys for the future, but our line needs help now. Juco guys bring immediate help to teams that need it. I don't think we will continue to see Weis go after the Juco ranks the way he did this year. He addressed glaring holes and I think you will be satisfied with what he brings in this year. If he does not bring in more HS than Juco this year then we may have something to be concerned about, but for now I think he has done what is needed.

burnmu 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey table crock, why don't you whip out your magical wand and fix it for us? Honestly, do you even proof read what you're posting? Why don't you brush up on your football IQ and stop drinking and blogging so much.

Wisconsin2Kansas 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah.... a lot of programs recruit JUCO.... big deal if we didn't sign all freshman at the DT position..... Kansas State has been successful signing JUCO players......

Ben Kliewer 2 years, 4 months ago

You're right TRJ, this is going to be the worst KU Coaching staff ever... Oh, wait...

KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

Warren Sapp, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, Dan Saleamua...

Killers on the field, killer smiles off it. He's in good company.

bville_hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the football article, Matt. Keep em coming!

jhawkrulz 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm hoping for an increase in talent, but I hope even more for an increase in coaching abilities on the D-line. I believe Dave Campo will get the defense going and will do some impressive things. I'm not saying that our defense will be top 25, I'm guessing it will be Top 75, but that is a lot better than last year (dead last or maybe it was second to last, but it was horrible). If we are top 75, it'll at least allow us to be in some games and maybe...just maybe pull off a couple more victories.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 4 months ago

I love reading more reasons to believe that the d-line will improve greatly over last season. Sounds like he's working hard to bulk up for big time play in the Big12. These guys have a great opportunity to turn things around at KU.

pizzashuttle 2 years, 4 months ago

Weis immediately addressed our D line issues with juco players. He gets that we need a well staffed D line and he's a good recruiter. And I'm sure Campo gets it too. Personally, I'd figure out who the best 2 recruiting assistant coaches are and let them help recruit the OL and DL, plus whatever positions they coach. IMO it starts with the line and builds out from there. If you don't have a good O & D line then forget about having a good season in the B12.

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