Monday, November 5, 2012

Former KU football star Jon Cornish sets CFL record

Edmonton Eskimos' Donovan Alexander, right, and Damaso Munoz tackle Calgary Stampeders' Jon Cornish during the first half of a CFL football game, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Calgary, Alberta.

Edmonton Eskimos' Donovan Alexander, right, and Damaso Munoz tackle Calgary Stampeders' Jon Cornish during the first half of a CFL football game, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Calgary, Alberta.


As Kansas University’s football program continues its push to develop pro-caliber talent, several former Jayhawks are enjoying success in their post-KU careers.

Although a couple of guys have made solid names for themselves in the NFL, no former Jayhawk is as hot at the moment as running back Jon Cornish, who plays for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders and, last weekend, set the CFL single-season rushing record by a Canadian by matching the exact total — 1,457 yards, on 258 carries — he recorded when he set KU’s single-season record in 2006.

Cornish, a native of Westminster, British Columbia, achieved the feat during Calgary’s 30-27 victory over Edmonton. A 22-yard carry in the third quarter propelled him past Edmonton legend Normie Kwong, who ran for 1,437 in 1956.

“(Normie Kwong) has always been that name,” Cornish said. “He’s been the top of the top for Canadian running backs. For me to now be mentioned at the same time as him is an honor.”

Cornish’s regular-season total also made him the first Canadian-born player to lead the CFL in rushing since Saskatchewan’s Kory Sheets did it in 1988.

The 2012 season was by far the best of Cornish’s six-year CFL career. In addition to setting the rushing record, the 2006 KU grad who ranks ninth on KU’s all-time rushing list finished with 1,795 yards from scrimmage, placing him second in the league behind B.C. Lions running back Andrew Harris, a native of Winnipeg. It marked the first time in CFL history that Canadians had finished first and second in that category. Both players surpassed the previous record of 1,662 yards from scrimmage set by Calgary’s Terry Evanshen in 1967.

Cornish’s squad, winner of eight of the last 10 games, finished the season 12-6 and will enter the postseason on a four-game winning streak. Calgary will play host to Saskatchewan on Sunday in the West Division semifinals.

Regardless of how Cornish fares in the playoffs, this likely won’t be the last time his name is heard around here this season. Current KU junior James Sims, who last week became the first Jayhawk since Laverne Smith in 1974 to rush for 100 yards or more in five straight games, sits just 28 yards behind Cornish (2,245) on KU’s all-time rushing list.

Sims and the Jayhawks (1-8 overall, 0-6 Big 12) will play at Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3) at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.


jhkprd 5 years, 7 months ago

It's great to hear this news about one of my favorite Jayhawks. I recall vividly his powerful collisiions with tacklers which usually resulted in the tackler reeling backwards and Jon gaining additional yardage. Those weren't great teams, but there were excellent football players. I guess those were the good old days....

hawkdds 5 years, 7 months ago

A great ambassador for KU, glad he is having a productive pro career in his home country.RCJH

Lance Cheney 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't know about a completely great ambassador for KU. Remember when he made headlines about a month or so ago for mooning the other team's fans? Not a high point for us or him.

troutsee 5 years, 7 months ago

Cornish was a great Jayhawk and a very nice person. He fought his way from obscurity to start for the Jayhawks. I still remember his 71 yard run in our epic win over the Huskers just after the Huskers had regained the lead following a Jayhawk turnover deep in our territory. Then game the chant, "Go Big Red" from the thousands of NU fans in attendence. No sooner had it started than Cornish ran over the NU safety and scored and shut them up. It was a great moment to be a Jayhawk. Thank you Jon.

MoralVictory 5 years, 7 months ago

Are there any more Canadians that we can recruit?

Kent Wells 5 years, 7 months ago

Geddy, Neil, and Alex have eligibility.

Lance Cheney 5 years, 7 months ago

I always knew that guy was a stud, and loved watching him run. At the time, I actually envisioned him playing in the NFL (rose-colored glasses, maybe?), but setting CFL records is nothing to sneeze at. Congratulations buddy!

Mangino_Maniac 5 years, 7 months ago

Awesome news. Cornish was a great back at KU, and it's great to see he is having success in the CFL!

pbouldenv 5 years, 7 months ago

Great news for Jon. He was a beast at KU...glad to see he still is.

Cmill1221 5 years, 7 months ago

Never understood why he didn't at least get a shot in the NFL. He was a monster at KU. I'll never forget that HUGE run vs Nebraska. I don't think I ever saw him get caught from behind. He was also a beast on special teams as the Gunner on Punts and Kick off. One of my all time favorite Jayhawks.

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