10 Questions with Kansas Football's Keon Stowers

The Jayhawks hit the practice fields for the their fourth spring practice of 2014 Thursday afternoon. They were in full pads for the second-straight session.

KUAthletics.com caught up with senior defensive lineman Keon Stowers for a more in depth look at what he has been working on during the offseason and is doing to go out with a bang during his final season as Jayhawk. The following is 10 Questions with the Rock Hill, S.C., native:

Q: What are your goals for the team this season?
A: Definitely to get to a bowl game – that’s one of our biggest goals right now.

Q: You were voted captain last season, how was that experience?
A: It was good. I’ve always been a natural leader, so I had to play my role when I first got here as a team player. I had to sit back and watch the older guys like Toben (Opurum) and Keba (Agostinho) do their job and  when it was time for me to lead, they were able to hand me the torch and take off. I think it was really good being the captain last year and I’m looking forward to another year.  I think people get caught up in the whole ‘captain’ deal, it’s really not even being a captain, it’s really about being a leader on the field and off the field. Making sure guys are going to class and stuff like that. That directly correlates on the field because if you’re holding them accountable off the field, then you’ll be able to do it easily on the field.

Q: What are you concentrating on specifically this season?
A: Getting my pass rush better. That was one of the things I lacked last year, so personally I’ll be working on my pass rush – getting to the quarterback better.

Q: What was your favorite football moment in 2013?
A: Beating West Virginia, because it ended the Big 12 streak and watching our fans celebrate – that was probably the biggest thing. The faces when our fans rushed the field – that was really the most important thing. We are here working, doing it for the coaches, but those people who come out here every Saturday and watch us play are really who we do it for.

Q: What did you concentrate on when working out in the off season?
A: I concentrated a lot on my speed, because with my pass rush, speed comes second hand. So I really worked closely with Coach Holsopple on a lot of speed, drills and getting my feet right.

Q: How do you stay focused on the fall season when it is months away?
A: I think because of the competition, we’re not going against any other teams, it’s just offense versus defense. We all want to get better. We see the guys we’re going against every day and we’re just getting out there and preparing to compete. I’m a natural competitor, so any chance that I get to compete really gets me going.

Q: Who is your role model?
A: I’d have to say my grandmother. She’s been my role model my whole life, every time I’ve answered a question about my role model, it’s been her just because she was a strong lady, and still is. She worked two, three jobs whenever she had to so she could provide for me and my brothers when my parents weren’t there. She is very selfless and does what she has to do to take care of me and my brothers and is still taking care of my youngest brother right now.

Q: When hosting recruits, what is your favorite thing to tell them about Kansas football?
A: What I usually do when I host is I try to get players to come just hang out, because often these recruits see us on the field and they see our play, but they never get to see how we are as people. When we get a defensive recruit in, I call over Ben Heeney and Ben Goodman, all of the guys they see on TV and see that we’re just regular people like them. I think that they see that, ‘Wow, this is somewhere we need to be. This is a family atmosphere.’ IjJust try to show them the family atmosphere around here.

Q: What motivates you?
A: One thing that motivates me is the situation that I’m in. I have nothing to go back home to, I’m basically making my own path in my life. I’m expecting a son in June, so that’s really my motivation right there. But to put it in perspective, just my situation at home – I’m not trying to go back there. I’m working as hard as I can to create myself a good future.

Q: What is your favorite KU Football tradition?
A: The Rock Chalk Chant. When I came here for my visit, it gave me chills and I knew I was going to commit here when I heard that chant.