Thursday, June 2, 2011
The Revolving Door: Kansas
By ESPN.com staff
I've done it. You've done it.
"Hey, is that guy still around?"
Even with two fewer teams, it's hard to keep track. Our next series, which we did last year, too, takes a look at two key players for every team in the league who are taking their talents elsewhere, returning to campus, or arriving to try to write a legacy of their own.
So really, this series isn't so much for the fans of the teams in the posts, but more for everyone else. It wouldn't be a bad idea to bookmark these.
Next up: Kansas
Justin Springer and Drew Dudley, LBs
Springer and Dudley anchored the Jayhawks defense in 2010, combining for 149 tackles as the team's No. 2 and 4 tacklers. Dudley was an All-Big 12 performer in 2009 for his 88-tackle season, and was named to the Big 12's All-Academic team in each of his final three seasons. He also had 13.5 tackles for loss in his final two seasons, including 8.5 in 2009.
Springer had 25 tackles in 2009, but emerged as one of the defense's leaders in 2010, making 85 tackles as a team captain. In Kansas' big win early in the season against Georgia Tech, Springer earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors for his 15-tackle performance.
Jake Laptad, DE
Laptad was a constant on the defensive line for the Jayhawks during each of his four years in Lawrence, beginning with the Orange Bowl season in 2007. Laptad finished his career with 145 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and was a three-time All-Big 12 honoree. Of those 33 tackles for loss, 20.5 came in the last two seasons, when he led the Jayhawks.
Daymond Patterson, WR
Patterson, a former wide receiver turned cornerback turned receiver again, emerged as Kansas' best playmaker in 2010 and could hold the title once again in 2011. He made his presence known in a big way when he broke a handful of tackles and made one of the biggest plays of the Jayhawks' season: a 32-yard, catch-and-run touchdown to put Kansas over the top against defending ACC champion Georgia Tech. Patterson led the team with 60 catches last season for 487 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Steven Johnson, LB
Johnson is a former walk-on, but his recent efforts have been rewarded when the Pennsylvania native was offered a scholarship. Johnson led the Jayhawks in tackles last season with 95 stops, ranking 15th in the Big 12. Johnson hardly played in his first two seasons, but after coach Turner Gill designated him a starter before the start of the 2010 season, Johnson blossomed. He had just nine tackles in 2009, but in 2010, he had four games with as many stops.
Darrian Miller, RB
Miller was one of the top players in the Kansas City area. Gill nabbed him and he's made a huge impact early. A shifty, speedy, 5-foot-10, 190-pound back, Miller showed his skills this spring after enrolling early. He was the nation's No. 18 running back, and already figures to be a factor in the backfield along with the team's leading returning rusher, James Sims.
Brock Berglund, QB
Berglund had planned to join Miller this spring, but after enrolling in classes during the spring semester, Berglund went back to his home in Colorado. Berglund was the top quarterback in Colorado and originally committed to the Buffs, but after Dan Hawkins was fired, signed with Kansas. A dual-threat quarterback who describes his skill set as "Tim Tebow, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning kind of all put together," Berglund could be the long-term solution to Kansas' struggles at quarterback.
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