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Tale of the Tait

Fox Sports conducts anonymous player poll at Big 12 Media Days

The guys and gals at Fox Sports Southwest conducted an anonymous player poll of all Big 12 football players in attendance at Big 12 media days earlier this week in Dallas.

The results, which they published Tuesday, had a little more KU football flavor than I expected.

Here's a quick look at the questions and the noteworthy KU answers. Check out the link for the rest of the answers.

1. Who is the Big 12's best team?

Not surprisingly, KU received no votes.

2. Who is the Big 12's most overrated team entering 2014?

Somewhat surprisingly, KU received 3 percent of the votes here, which means exactly one of the 39 players polled mentioned KU. If there's one thing I would think Kansas would avoid being called it's overrated. But, hey, to each his own. No explanation was given.

3. Which Big 12 coach would you most like to play for?

Players were not allowed to say their own coach here and KU coach Charlie Weis received 3 percent of the votes, with one player saying: "The first game we played KU, he was the first coach who ever found his way through the crowd and found me. He shook my hand and told me I did a good job and it was just shocking."

4. Which coach would you least like to play for?

Weis tied with TCU coach Gary Patterson for the top honor here, with each receiving 18 percent of the votes, or the nod from seven different players. The lone explanation here was brief: "He just hasn't been that successful."

5. Which Big 12 school has the best fans?

As you might have guessed, KU received no votes.

6. Which Big 12 school has the worst fans?

This one might sting a little for some of you, as 40 percent (16 players) voted Kansas in a runaway. It doesn't sound like KU's reputation for having the Big 12's worst football fans came from their vulgar behavior or nasty ways. Quite the opposite, in fact. Said one player: "Their fans don't show up. They're a basketball school." ... "They're too into basketball." ... "The stands were like half full."

Check out the full results for more on which programs the players themselves think have the best, and worst, players, coaches and fans in the Big 12.

Reply 26 comments from RXDOC Terran Woolley Catsandwich Atljaybird Baldjedi Texashawk10_2 Table_rock_jayhawk Doug Roberts Chandleraccipiter Joe Ross and 8 others

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 8 - DL Andrew Bolton

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall:

White Team quarterback Michael Cummings pitches the ball to a teammate as Blue Team defensive lineman Andrew Bolton closes in during the second half of the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

White Team quarterback Michael Cummings pitches the ball to a teammate as Blue Team defensive lineman Andrew Bolton closes in during the second half of the Kansas Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo by Nick Krug

No. 8: Andrew Bolton, Junior DL

There was a lot of hype surrounding Bolton last summer because, at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds and with a penchant for getting to the quarterback, Bolton represented the kind of player KU had not seen in a while.

Big, strong, explosive and focused on nothing more than chewing up QBs, Bolton would have been a big addition for the defensive line. An early injury kept him off the field during his first season in Lawrence, but the year off might have been a blessing in disguise for the Hinds (Mississippi) Community College transfer.

See, instead of being rushed out there at less than 100 percent, the time off gave Bolton a chance to heal. While he was healing, he also took full advantage of the opportunity to work on his body, absorb the playbook and watch and learn what life is like at the Division I level.

With such knowledge now his, the expectations are again high for Bolton, who figures to hold down the left side of KU's D-Line while defensive coordinator Clint Bowen and D-Line coach Buddy Wyatt play around with the flexibility the other guys up front provide.

We talked to Bolton briefly during fall camp last year and the only thing I remember is that he was a quiet guy. He seemed a little shy when dealing with the media and it would have been a shame if any kind of uncertainty about his place at this level or this school showed up on the field in 2013.

He's been here a year now. He knows the coaches, he knows the scheme and he's at least seen what big-time college football looks like. It's now his turn to be a part of it. And if he's ready and able, KU's defense has a chance to be a heck of a lot better immediately.

KU coach Charlie Weis had this to say about Bolton at Big 12 media days in Dallas earlier this week:

"Bolton came in banged up and really wasn't ready to go. And he's a big, physical, bruising type of guy that I would have liked to have played last year. I'm glad we didn't."

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

No. 10 - RB De'Andre Mann

No. 9 - WR Rodriguez Coleman

Reply 4 comments from Dirk Medema Table_rock_jayhawk West_virginia_hawk Terrylee

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 10 - RB De’Andre Mann

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall.

New KU running back De'Andre Mann on his official visit to Kansas.

New KU running back De'Andre Mann on his official visit to Kansas. by Matt Tait

No. 10: DeAndre' Mann, Junior RB

There's a good chance that many of you don't know a whole lot about De'Andre Mann. You should change that. Because there's a real chance that the 6-foot, 200-pound junior-college transfer from Hartnell College could lead the Jayhawks in both rushing yards and exciting plays this season.

Mann, the player KU coach Charlie Weis had no desire to sign until he saw him play, owns a solid combination of size, speed, power and elusiveness. He's big enough to run through tacklers, fast enough to run around them and determined enough to come in and compete for carries immediately. He would not have picked Kansas if he didn't think he could be a factor here.

That's not a knock on seniors Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox, freshman Corey Avery or any of the other players that will make up KU's backfield this season. It's more a sign of Mann's extreme confidence. The guy's here to make some noise and his focus is on playing football and helping the team win, nothing more, nothing less.

Bourbon will get the first and best chance to prove he's worthy of being the top dog and he might win the job and be huge for the Jayhawks this fall. But remember, even with James Sims operating as the lead back during the past four seasons, there was room for guys like Darrian Miller and Taylor Cox to put their stamp on the KU ground game. With Miller gone and Cox trying to bounce back from multiple injuries, Mann could be in great shape to inherit that type of role and never look back.

If he can, that will do wonders for the entire KU offense. Not only would it help ease the burden on Bourbon, but it also would be huge for sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart, who likely will need help from all areas of the offense to settle in and become comfortable running the show. The talent's there for Cozart to be solid, but without the backs being reliable, the receivers and tight ends getting open and making plays and the line giving him time to think, his talent might not matter.

Mann's will. Even if he's not the leading rusher by season's end and even if he shares carries with a talented group that could even include senior Tony Pierson toting the rock a couple of times per game, I believe that Mann's skills and build will allow him to stand out on a regular basis.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

No. 11 - DL Keon Stowers

Reply 5 comments from Matt Tait Texashawk10_2 Table_rock_jayhawk Jay Beakum Baldjedi

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 12 - OL Damon Martin

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall.

Kansas offensive lineman Aslam Sterling (77) and Damon Martin (73) bemoan a missed first down attempt by the Jayhawks against Iowa State during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas offensive lineman Aslam Sterling (77) and Damon Martin (73) bemoan a missed first down attempt by the Jayhawks against Iowa State during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

No. 12: Damon Martin, Junior OL

After cruising through a couple of seasons as an under-the-radar talent with tremendous potential, the time has arrived for Martin to become the man.

With so many older, more established lineman playing ahead of him during the past couple of years, it's easy to see how Martin could have just blended in. He had some good moments, started a few games and always was one the coaching staff pointed to as a guy who could become a player. If he's able to do that this year, it will do wonders for the Jayhawks' offenseive line as a whole.

Up until the arrival of spring ball, Martin had spent his career playing guard. However, with the KU O-Line facing a more pressing need at the tackle positions, Martin was bounced outside and spent the entire spring playing right tackle.

Seems like a good fit to me. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Arlington, Texas native is definitely big enough and strong enough to handle edge rushers. And we've talked for a while about how he always seemed to have the kind of build that lent itself to being good with his feet. While those three factors are crucial for tackles, Martin is still learning a new position and there's no question there could be growing pains.

There are a couple of reasons to believe Martin will succeed at his new spot. First, he's comfortable on the right side already, having started the final four games of 2013 at right guard. Second, he's not going to be overwhelmed when he gets out there because he's seen it all before. His first career start came at Oklahoma in 2012 and he has played in 13 games during the past two seasons, the natural progression for a guy who red-shirted in 2011.

Getting a jump on the shift from guard to tackle in the spring surely helped, but how well Martin handles his new role remains one of the bigger questions and more important factors in determining just how successful the Jayhawks will be this fall.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

No. 13 - OL Keyon Haughton

Reply 3 comments from Jay Beakum Matt Tait Swishymcjayhawk

Tracking the progress at Memorial Stadium, Part II

It's been almost two weeks since our last look at the progress at Memorial Stadium, where construction crews are working to remove the track and lay down asphalt and turf in its place.

Not a ton has changed in terms of the aesthetic of the stadium, but the drainage asphalt has been put down around the perimeter and that allows you to see a clearly defined area where the turf soon will be.

Not as dramatic as the last look, but still interesting nonetheless. The project, which began June 25, is slated to take 6 weeks and should be done in time for the beginning of fall football camp, which opens Aug. 8.

For now, there's still a construction-grade chain link fence around the south end of the stadium so no sign of the new decorative fence that will replace it. But I'm guessing that will be one of the final steps in the project.

Here's a few angles of what's new....

View from the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium:

This look, shown from the southeast corner of the stadium, gives a good idea of what the drainage asphalt looks like all the way around the field.

This look, shown from the southeast corner of the stadium, gives a good idea of what the drainage asphalt looks like all the way around the field. by Matt Tait

View of the West sideline:

Here's a look at the west sideline, where you can clearly see the area that will soon receive the new turf.

Here's a look at the west sideline, where you can clearly see the area that will soon receive the new turf. by Matt Tait

Elevated view of the entire stadium:

Elevated view of the entire field.

Elevated view of the entire field. by Matt Tait

View through the fence behind the south end zone:
(This one is particularly cool because a good chunk of the asphalt you see used to be track)

View through the fence behind the south end zone.

View through the fence behind the south end zone. by Matt Tait

Reply 3 comments from Len Shaffer Catsandwich Jay Beakum

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 14 - RB Brandon Bourbon

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall.

Kansas University running back Brandon Bourbon (25) rushes against South Dakota State on Sept. 1, 2012, at Memorial Stadium. Bourbon, a fourth-year junior, says he feels better than ever after an injury-riddled start to his KU career.

Kansas University running back Brandon Bourbon (25) rushes against South Dakota State on Sept. 1, 2012, at Memorial Stadium. Bourbon, a fourth-year junior, says he feels better than ever after an injury-riddled start to his KU career. by Richard Gwin

No. 14: Brandon Bourbon, Senior RB

It's been a long road for Brandon Bourbon to reach the top of the depth chart.

Between injuries, which he's endured during most of his seasons at KU, and James Sims getting carries ahead of him, Bourbon, the former four-star prospect who at one time had committed to Stanford, has logged just 63 carries during his first four seasons in town and had a tough time finding any kind of rhythm amidst his sporadic playing time.

While outside factors have contributed to that in the past, Bourbon will have no one to blame but himself if things don't change in 2014.

He enters fall camp as the team's top back, largely because — of all things — he was the healthiest returning running back from last year's team. Winning the starting job and becoming a factor in KU's new-look offense will not be easy, but Bourbon seems more at peace with life and football today than he has in the past four years and does not seem to be threatened by the presence of a stable of talented and hungry backs at his position.

Taylor Cox, De'Andre Mann and Corey Avery — and maybe more — figure to be Bourbon's main competition for carries this season, but if Bourbon were to hold them off for the lead dog role played by Sims during the past four seasons, it would do wonders for this team's diversity on offense.

With each back in the system being a little bit different, having one horse to handle the tough carries and be a consistent force could keep the others fresh and allow first-year offensive coordinator John Reagan to get creative in how he uses them.

Provided he stays healthy, Bourbon is fully capable of handling such a role. His blend of size, power and speed gives him great potential, and his career, to this point, has been highlighted by his big-play prowess.

I talked to Bourbon this spring about the opportunity ahead of him and, although he loved Sims and bonded with him like a brother, he said he was thrilled he was gone because, for the first time in his career, he really felt like there was an opportunity for him to be the guy.

We'll see how it plays out, but Bourbon taking the reins from his good buddy would be a big boost for the KU offense.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

No. 15 - DB Dexter McDonald

Reply 8 comments from Jim Jackson Terrylee Jay Beakum West_virginia_hawk Matt Tait Dirk Medema Table_rock_jayhawk

LeBron James’ decision to head home brings uncertainty for Andrew Wiggins

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, congratulates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, left, congratulates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the number one pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Thursday, June 26, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

After a 10-day wait that was magnified into feeling like 10 years because of the 24-hour news cycle, we found out Friday that LeBron James is headed back to Cleveland after four years, four trips to the Finals and two titles in Miami.

None by Sports Illustrated

After the inevitable reactions of 'Wow, he really did it,' from basketball fans around the world, the first thing that likely came to the minds of KU basketball fans was this: What does that mean for Andrew Wiggins?

The short answer? Wiggins probably should not get too comfortable in those Cleveland duds. He may be on the move via the trade winds and it may be happening very quickly.

Not only does LeBron hold down the majority of the minutes and stats at the small forward position, but there's strong speculation that veteran shooting guard Ray Allen will follow James to Cleveland, which would crowd up things at the 2-guard spot, too. The shooting guard spot is the place Cleveland management seems to think Wiggins will ultimately succeed and bringing on Ray Allen doesn't kill that idea but it adds quality depth and allows them to explore the idea of adding big man help.

There's been some talk in the past week about the Cavs possibly moving Wiggins, last month's No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, to Minnesota in exchange for all-star big man Kevin Love.

None by Marc J. Spears

If Love will go (and why wouldn't he?) and the Timberwolves are OK with getting Wiggins in return for a guy they'd probably lose anyway (and why wouldn't they be?), then this is something that could happen in a hurry.

The first reports from NBA insiders were that the Cavs have already offered Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick to Minnesota for Love, but the general belief there is that such a package won't be enough and the T'Wolves will demand that Wiggins is included in any deal they do.

Perhaps the biggest sign that it might be in the works comes from James himself, who, in an essay penned at SI.com, talked about the Cavs' roster and did not mention Wiggins. It's possible the former Jayhawks' omission was simply out of respect for the process since Wiggins has not yet signed with Cleveland, but there's also a better than good chance that James knows something about Cleveland's willingness to explore moving Wiggins to bolster the roster.

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.

"LeBronWatch" might be over but "WigginsWatch" is just beginning.

Welcome to the NBA, Andrew.

Read LeBron's full essay about heading home to Cleveland here.

Reply 30 comments from Eric Dawson Adam Gerval Jhawkerman Baldjedi Reggie Flenory Shannon Gustafson Joe Ross Kingfisher Michael Bennett Ryan Donovan and 12 others

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 16 - TE Jimmay Mundine

Here's this week's final installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall. Look for Nos. 15-11 next week, beginning on Monday.

Kansas tight end Jimmay Mundine (41) eludes TCU's Sam Carter (17) for a touchdown in the second half of TCU's 27-17 victory over KU on Oct. 12, 2013.

Kansas tight end Jimmay Mundine (41) eludes TCU's Sam Carter (17) for a touchdown in the second half of TCU's 27-17 victory over KU on Oct. 12, 2013. by Richard Gwin

No. 16: Jimmay Mundine, Senior TE

Voted second-team preseason all-Big 12 by several publications that cover the Big 12, Mudine will be the first to tell you that finishing there would be a disappointment.

The senior leader from Denison, Texas, has been labeled with tremendous potential since he arrived in Lawrence and now, with his final season of college football right around the corner — and pro football aspirations still present in his mind — Mundine is hellbent on proving that he's been worth the talk.

The presence of wide receivers Nick Harwell, Tony Pierson and Rodriguez Coleman, as well as mobile quarterback Montell Cozart, should spread the field as much as possible and give Mundine all kinds of room to work in the middle. Provided he can put the drops that plagued him in 2013 behind him — and there's no doubt in my mind that he will — Mundine could be in for a monster season.

He'll need help, of course. The offensive line will have to hold up long enough to give Cozart time. And Cozart, still a rook in a lot of ways, will have to show he can both get the ball to Mundine where he needs, wants and likes it and have enough command of the offense to put pressure on opposing defenses and take advantage of making them have to cover the entire field.

With his big body, strong base and good athleticism, Mundine is a potential match-up nightmare for opponents, too big for corners to cover and more athletic than many expect. Even with all of the drops and losses during the past couple of seasons, Mundine always maintained that his never was a confidence issue. He didn't get down on himself too much and instead chose to focus on the next play, the next game, the next chance to make a key grab. That mentality should serve him well this season, when he'll likely hit the field with a nothing-to-lose mindset.

Mundine's a hard worker with a great attitude and strong drive. Winning and succeeding mean a lot to him. Senior urgency can be overplayed at times, but, in this case, I think it's a potential gold mine for the KU offense.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

No. 17 - DB Isaiah Johnson

Reply 3 comments from Terran Woolley Blake McFarland Robert  Brock Jay Beakum

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 18 - DB JaCorey Shepherd

Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall.

Kansas cornerback JaCorey Shepherd knocks away a pass to Oklahoma State receiver Charlie Moore as Moore falls to the turf during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas cornerback JaCorey Shepherd knocks away a pass to Oklahoma State receiver Charlie Moore as Moore falls to the turf during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. by Nick Krug

No. 18: JaCorey Shepherd, Senior DB

You won't find me running out of good things to say about Shepherd any time soon. And I'm not even just talking about his prowess as a football player.

Shepherd is one of the best dudes on KU's roster and although that means a lot in all other walks of life, it doesn't win football games. Luckily for the Jayhawks, Shepherd has the switch required to flip into competitor mode and rarely shows anything but all-out intensity on the field.

Last year was Shepherd's breakthrough year. He was tested time after time as opposing offenses tried to stay away from CB Dexter McDonald on the other side of the field and Shepherd passed almost every time. Two years ago, Shepherd was there athletically but still was learning how to be an instinctual corner. Last year, he took major steps forward in that department but there's no question that he still has room to improve.

I'll be dead honest: Shepherd's a little lower on this list than some might have guessed because he delivered so many times last season. If his ability as a cornerback was still a question mark, he'd probably be in the Top 10 here because the uncertainty around how he would perform would make his season incredibly critical for KU. He'd also be higher on this list if the secondary was not such a position of strength for this year's squad.

But I don't think there's any need to question whether Shepherd will perform or even how well he'll play in 2014. However, because he holds down one of the most demanding and difficult positions in the Big 12 and because KU has almost no margin for error at any position on the field, the senior from Mesquite, Texas, is still going to have to back up all of the praise he's earned and bring his best year yet if the Jayhawks hope to win more games than they've been used to of late.

Luckily for the Jayhawks, Shepherd — with his driven mindset and confident demeanor — is exactly the kind of guy you want in that position.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

No. 19 - K John Duvic

Reply 6 comments from Jay Beakum Table_rock_jayhawk Leikness Dirk Medema Oklahomajayhawk Joe Ross

Most Crucial Jayhawks: No. 20 - DL Ben Goodman

Another weekday has arrived... Here's the latest installment in our series that examines the Jayhawks who stand to have the biggest impact for KU football this fall.

Kansas defender Ben Goodman (93) pumps his arms in the air to get the crowd into the game during the first-half of the Jayhawks game against KSU Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defender Ben Goodman (93) pumps his arms in the air to get the crowd into the game during the first-half of the Jayhawks game against KSU Saturday at Memorial Stadium. by Mike Yoder

No. 20: Ben Goodman, Junior, DL

Goodman has long been one of my favorite KU players, as much for his personality, good sense of humor and big heart as his enormous potential.

A true program guy who has slowly but steadily developed and taken steps forward each year at Kansas, it's time for the big man from Beaumont, Texas, to turn in his best season yet.

He has shown flashes of being a pass-rushing menace but never done it consistently well over a long stretch of time. It's in there, though and now that he's reached veteran status it could be time to see Goodman's game reach a new level.

At one point in his career, after KU lost former five-star stud Chris Martin to off-the-field trouble prior to last summer, several Jayhawks voiced their belief that the loss was not catastrophic because Goodman's enormous potential. Goodman followed that up with the best season of his career, tallying 34 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 3 sacks, 2 QB hurries and an interception.

As those number suggest, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound lineman is plenty athletic, has good size and strength and entered the offseason known for his high-revving motor. If he improved any of those areas between the last time we saw him and now, there's a chance that Goodman's best could be right around the corner. If that's the case, so could the KU defense's.

A move to the interior of the D-Line (from the Buck position he played last season) should give Goodman a chance to find some mismatches and use his quickness even better. The big question there will be if he can hold up under the pounding he's sure to take from bigger offensive linemen game in and game out.

Thanks to a recruiting haul that included all kinds of pass rushers, the Jayhawks figure to have options for getting to the quarterback this season. If Goodman isn't cutting it, it's possible that someone else will get his shot. Goodman has the experience, the understanding of the scheme, the hunger and the opportunity. The time for him to become a game-changing player is now.

Top 25 Most Crucial Jayhawks for 2014:

No. 25 - LB Jake Love

No. 24 - DB Greg Allen

No. 23 - DB Cassius Sendish

No. 22 - OL Zach Fondal

No. 21 - WR Justin McCay

Reply 2 comments from David Lara Texashawk10_2

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