Friday, September 26, 2014

Texas red-letter game for Kansas’ Texans

Kansas University's Ben Goodman (93) is one of 25 Jayhawks from Texas who will take on the Longhorns on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University's Ben Goodman (93) is one of 25 Jayhawks from Texas who will take on the Longhorns on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


The story’s the same just about every year but always seems to take on a slightly different feel because of the individual stories that accompany the general narrative.

It sets up like this: KU player from Texas — there are 25 such players on this year’s roster — enters UT week with a Texas-sized chip on his shoulder because the Longhorns either snubbed him in the recruiting process by choosing to sign someone else or, perhaps worse, never even bothered to take a look at the young man’s game film in the first place.

From Todd Reesing (Austin), Aqib Talib (Richardson) and other big names from the past to more obscure and lesser-known Jayhawks such as Trevor Marrongelli (Austin) and any number of young Texans on today’s roster, one of the most motivating factors for the matchup with the Longhorns always has been for these Jayhawks to prove to the Texas coaches and players that they messed up by not signing them. Just about every program in the Big 12 has these types of players on the roster, and, no matter how well their careers go or how much they enjoy the school they wound up at, these guys just don’t forget.

“Texas is definitely the dream school,” said junior defensive lineman Ben Goodman, who hails from Beaumont, Texas. “It’s probably every little kid’s dream school. They wanted to play for the Longhorns.”

Goodman, who is close with a few of the current Longhorns, is one of those players who never got a sniff from Texas. Although he is plenty happy with the way things worked out for him at Kansas, Goodman still has not forgotten the snub and holds a similar grudge against several Texas schools. For Goodman and the rest of the Jayhawks, though, it’s winning, and not settling the score, that remains most important.

“We actually want to beat every team, not just the teams from our home state,” Goodman said.

Unfortunately for KU’s Lone Star State natives, that has been tough to achieve.

Since Texas and Kansas joined the same conference in 1996, the Longhorns have won all 11 games in the series, leaving the former Longhorn hopefuls with nothing but long faces.

There have been close calls — the 2004 “BCS/Dollar signs” game and 2012 last-second, home loss come immediately to mind — but the Jayhawks have not been able to snap the skid.

For the handful of KU Texans who are seniors, Saturday’s 3 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium will mark their final shot at taking down UT. It’s an opportunity that’s not lost on any of them and one that means as much as any game they’ve played thus far in their college careers.

“I really do,” Mesquite, Texas, senior JaCorey Shepherd said of wanting one final shot at Texas. “The last few times we played them, we had it all there. We had the talent to play with them. Things just didn’t work out our way. Growing up, I didn’t really have a favorite college or anything, but people back home definitely give you stuff for losing to the home state team and all that. I’m gonna play the same way regardless.”

Added Goodman: “(A win) would just be a huge thing for this program. Everybody knows that UT is a big, legendary school, and if we beat UT it’ll just build another level of confidence. There’s just something about beating the University of Texas.”

Or so they’ve heard.


Ian Ballinger 7 years ago

Excited to see how they handle this game. I honestly feel good about Texas... maybe that's stupid of me and I'm desperate to see the Jayhawks succeed.. I don't know. I just have a good feeling about the UT game.

Robert Brock 7 years ago

KU beat out Louisiana Tech, Arkansas State, and Navy to get the Texans on the roster.

Jim Jackson 7 years ago

You're ignorant. Don't have time to go through each one but we beat out some pretty reputable programs for a lot of the TX kids on the roster.

Jack Wilson 7 years ago

Nah, come on .. UTEP and Tulane were in a lot of these kids.

Titus Canby 7 years ago

It's tough to sell a product that has a perception of being inferior.

DaNeille Dani Davis 7 years ago

Good luck Jayhawks. Win this one for you an the Alumni! We are behind you. Maybe Coach should sign the team up for THE PROGRAM. I think it's just what they need. Rock Chalk! D'85

Lance Cheney 7 years ago

I was thinking the same thing when I read that article.

Lucas Town 7 years ago

KU - 25 players from Texas. 18 players from Kansas make up 19% of KU roster. K-State - 23 players from Texas. 54 players from Kansas make up 44% of K-State roster. There is a lack of PRIDE in out program.

Michael Maris 7 years ago

I tend to think it's not a lack of PRIDE in the Jayhawk Football program. I tend to think it's more of a commitment issue. I believe that the current football players have pride. But, I've said it in the past. I don't believe that the Upper Crust put their full commitment into the football program.

Additionally (as I've also said in the past), where are the former Jayhawk Football players (ex-NFL or non-NFL) at?

I know that there has to be plenty of them living in the Kansas City area. Why isn't the Athletic Department inviting these guys back to be appointed as Ambassador's of Jayhawk Football program?

Just my thoughts on your comment.

Lucas Town 7 years ago

You know that raises other questions, but you are correct about the commitment of the current and former players. Why does Aqib Talib give his high school affiliation when introducing himself in the pregame line up? You are also correct in the fact that former players aren't at more games and promoting the program around the country. I very seldom if ever see this. Maybe I am not viewing in the right places. Its frustrating, but until every one has given their full commitment this football program will not achieve much.

Bryce Landon 7 years ago

I have Marvin Mattox as a friend on Facebook, and he always rocks his KU pride.

Matthew Palmer 7 years ago

KU players have huge pride!!! Does anyone really feel the players hande the in state, out of state demographics. In Stste or out of state I see Wris & Company trying to recruit the best talent possible! The program is on the rise in a very tough conference. I'm sticking with KU!

Armen Kurdian 7 years ago

My prediction last week -- CMU 30 KU 10. So stuff my mouth with crow...tastes awful but I'm happy to eat it.

This week:

KU 9 UT 7.

Bryce Landon 7 years ago

Considering KU is 0-fer in games with UT since the Big 12 started, I think there's a reason why Texas passed these guys over in recruiting.

Sam Burns 7 years ago

I'd like to know how many conference wins we've had since Charlie Weis has been here, and how much he has been paid during that time. I wonder if anyone in college football has made more money per conference win than Charlie.

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