Jayhawks Open Spring Football Friday
March 30, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. -
Kansas football will hit the practice fields for the first time in 2011 when it opens spring practice Friday afternoon. Second-year head coach Turner Gill will welcome 87 players to the practice fields adjacent to Memorial Stadium for the first of 15 spring practice sessions.
The Jayhawks return 40 letterwinners from the 2010 season, including seven starters on offense and eight defensive starters. Among the returning starters are 2010 Mackey Award Watch List honoree Tim Biere at tight end, Rivals.com Freshman All-Big 12 honoree James Sims at running back and Big 12 Honorable Mention return specialist D.J. Beshears. Other returning offensive starters include offensive linemen Tanner Hawkinson, Jeremiah Hatch and Duane Zlatnik, wide receiver Daymond Patterson and quarterback Jordan Webb.
Biere tied for third on the team with 19 receptions for 228 yards. He also led the team with four touchdown catches and returns as one of the top tight ends in the Big 12.
Sims led the Jayhawks with 742 rushing yards on 168 carries. He also led KU with 10 touchdowns, including nine rushing scores. His 742 yards were the fourth most by a Jayhawk freshman in school history and ranked ninth among NCAA freshmen in 2010.
Beshears returned 36 kickoffs for a school-record 922 yards this past season. His 25.6 yards per return average ranked 40th in the nation. He had a 96-yard return for a touchdown against New Mexico State.
Defensive starters returning include defensive linemen Toben Opurum, Richard Johnson, Jr. and Patrick Dorsey, linebacker Steven Johnson and defensive backs Tyler Patmon, Isiah Barfield, Lubbock Smith and Greg Brown.
Johnson returns as the leading tackler for KU as he recorded 95 stops in 2010. Among his tackles were 4.5 TFL's for eight yards and two sacks for a loss of four yards. Barfield ranks as the next highest returning tackler with 55 last season. He also collected two interceptions.
Notable position changes entering the spring season include sophomore defensive linemen Keba Agostinho and Kevin Young who have both moved from defensive end to defensive tackle. Sophomore Prinz Kande has made the shift from safety to linebacker, while part-time wide receivers Bradley McDougald and Keeston Terry will focus on playing safety.
The Jayhawks will conclude their spring season with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m. The game is free to the public.
Kansas football fans can follow the Jayhawks on the internet all spring through KU's official website, as well as get behind the scenes looks through the Kansas Football Blog. Additionally KU recently launched coachturnergill.com, which will also feature a wealth of content on the Kansas Football program.