🏈 3 Former Jayhawks Headed to AFC Championship Game With Bengals
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Football will be well represented by the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday when the squad travels to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Former Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji is expected to start at right guard for the Bengals after drawing the starting assignment in the past 11 games, including Cincinnati’s two playoff games. Additionally, the Bengals special teams unit is led by associate head coach and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, a former punter who lettered for the Jayhawks in 1994 and 1995 and earned COSIDA Academic All-America honors during his collegiate career. Former Jayhawk running back Pooka Williams Jr., is also on the Bengals practice squad roster.
Adeniji earned All-Big 12 honors during all four of his seasons with the Jayhawks, culminating in a first-team selection in 2019. A standout left tackle for Kansas, Adeniji earned second-team honors in 2018 and was named honorable mention in 2016 and 2017. A team captain in 2019, Adeniji was a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft and has appeared in 26 career games with Cincinnati with 16 starts.
Simmons, who is in his 19th season with the Bengals and is originally from Elkhart, Kansas, was named Academic All-Big Eight in 1994 and 1995. In 1995, he ranked sixth in the country in punting average at 43.8 yards per punt. His career average of 41.7 yards per punt ranks tied for fifth in program history. His 43.8 average in 1995 ranks tied for sixth all-time in single-season Kansas history. He also served as a graduate assistant for the Jayhawks in 1996.
Williams was named first-team All-Big 12 in 2018 by the Associated Press and then again in 2019 by the AP and the Big 12 coaches. He was named an FWAA Freshman All-American in 2018 as well as the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and was a second-team FWAA All-American in 2019. His 1,660 all-purpose yards in 2018 rank as the third best single-season total in school history. He finished his Kansas career with 2,382 rushing yards, which rank ninth-best in school history.
Sunday’s AFC Championship game is set for 2 p.m. CT, on CBS.