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Kansas football’s top 25 difference-makers: No. 20, DE Josh Ehambe

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Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong spots fellow position player Josh Ehambe during a set of squats at the Anderson Family Football Complex on Thursday, June 29, 2017.

Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong spots fellow position player Josh Ehambe during a set of squats at the Anderson Family Football Complex on Thursday, June 29, 2017. by Nick Krug

Tom Keegan and I collaborated on a list of 25 potential difference-makers for the Kansas football team in 2017 and will release one each weekday leading up to the Sept. 2 season-opener vs. SEMO, at Memorial Stadium. We will list them in reverse order of how indispensable/potentially impactful they are for KU's hopes of having a more competitive season.

When people discuss the Kansas football team’s talented defensive line, conversations sometimes begin and end with the names of Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Daniel Wise. But the stars of the unit will tell you another name belongs in those discussions.

Junior defensive end Josh Ehambe, who first displayed the brightest flashes of his strengths during the 2017 spring game, when he recorded four tackles and made three sacks, has transformed himself into a potential impact player.

“He’s probably one of the hardest-working guys on the team,” Wise said of Ehambe. “Constantly putting in work, constantly pushing us to be as best as we can be. And that’s what it’s all about on the D-line at the University of Kansas. That’s what we do.”

As a redshirt sophomore in 2016, Ehambe played in 11 games but only totaled three tackles on the season. He made his biggest impact versus TCU, with a sack and forced fumble.

Now entering his fourth season in the program, the 6-foot-3, 247-pound lineman can feel himself becoming capable of much more. Ehambe said in an interview with KLWN earlier this summer he’s probably at his best right now rushing the passer off the edge.

“But where I feel like I do need to improve is stopping the run, being more stout in the run, because before I can get to third down I have to get through first and second. I have to stop that first,” Ehambe explained, adding he thinks that will come eventually.

Until then, Ehambe, as he previewed in the spring game, should still find opportunities to make big plays on defense. On one down during the open scrimmage a few months back, Ehambe started outside, sped past right tackle Antioine Frazier with a spin to the inside and created himself an easy path to the QB.

Given the overwhelming talent of some of his D-line teammates, Ehambe wants to make the most of his chances this fall.

“I know a lot of guys are going to be so stressed on Dorance, so stressed on Daniel, Isi (Holani), that it’s probably going to leave me one-on-one,” Ehambe said, “and it’s all on what I do and if I seize the moment.”

Although Ehambe has missed much of preseason camp up to this point due to what head coach David Beaty described as a “minor surgical procedure,” he could be back involved by the end of the week if there is no change to his recovery timetable.

KU football's top 25 difference-makers

25 - Quan Hampton

24 - Ryan Schadler

23 - Taylor Martin

22 - Ben Johnson

21 - Isaiah Bean

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