Kansas Football: Jayhawks in the Pros Update No. 1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Several former Kansas football players have made a mark on their respective 2014 seasons of professional football. A weekly recap of how former KU student-athletes fared in the professional ranks of the National Football League and the Canadian Football League is below.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Anthony Collins is beginning his first season with the franchise and has started both regular season games in 2014 for the Bucs. On Sunday, Collins helped pave the way for Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey to carve up the St. Louis Rams defense in a losing effort, 19-17, with 22 carries for 144 yards. A 2007 All-American for the Jayhawks, Collins has played professionally in 61 games and has started in 27 contests.
Chris Harris, Jr.
Denver Broncos starting cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. has played in 47 regular season games with 31 starts to his name in his fourth professional season. So far in 2014, Harris has recorded nine tackles and three passes defended. Harris was instrumental in the Broncos’ slim, 24-17, victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, with six solo tackles and one pass defended.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2013, Hawkinson has played in one game during his career. The McPherson, Kansas native was active on the Bengals’ 53-man roster, but has not played in the first two Cincinnati games this season.
At linebacker for the Denver defense, Steven Johnson has been a valuable asset for the Broncos’ special teams unit over the past two years. Johnson has played in 27 regular season games and has made 17 special teams tackles over the first two years. So far in 2014, Johnson has recorded three tackles over the first two games of the season.
A free agent safety, McDougald was claimed by Tampa Bay in November 2013 and has played in four games for the Buccaneers. McDougald has seen action in one game so far in 2014, but has yet to record any statistics.
Fighting to make a 53-man roster for the better part of two seasons, Houston Texans fullback Toben Opurum joined the team after multiple practice squad transactions with the Kansas City Chiefs. Opurum was signed to Houston’s active roster in December 2013 and is looking to make an impact on the Texans’ franchise.
Coming off of his first season seeing extended time in the San Diego Chargers’ secondary, safety Darrell Stuckey is looking to make an even bigger impact in 2014. Last season Stuckey tied for third on the team in special teams tackles, and has already begun to make a name for himself in 2014 with two tackles and a fumble recovery on special teams through the first two weeks, including a win over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
After being acquired by the Denver Broncos from the New England Patriots, Talib has been the shutdown corner the Broncos have been looking for to replace veteran Champ Bailey. Talib has started both games this season and has made six tackles to go along with four passes defended. Talib recorded two tackles and one pass breakup in Denver’s dramatic, 24-17, win over Kansas City on Sunday.
Canadian Football League
In 2014, Cornish has started five games and rushed 75 times for 587 yards for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. Cornish is currently leading the team in rushing yards and sits third in the league. Cornish has already been named the CFL’s offensive and Canadian player of the week for his performance in the Labour Day Classic, when he rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. The next week he was named Canadian of the week again for the Labour Day Rematch when he carried the ball 17 times for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Throughout the 2014 season Ottawa Redblacks wide receiver Marcus Henry has caught 42 passes for 510 yards and one touchdown. Henry only needs 25 more receiving yards to tie his career-high which he set last season. Henry previously led the team with four catches for 51 yards in a 7-5 loss on Sept. 5.
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