🗓 On This Day: Ray Evans Drafted
Ray Evans becomes the first, first round NFL Draft choice in Kansas history. Three other Jayhawks selected.
April 19, 1944: Ray Evans was a standout two-sport athlete for Kansas, and became the first, first round NFL draft selection for the Jayhawks in 1944. Evans was selected ninth overall by the Chicago Bears and was joined in the draft by fellow Jayhawks – Gene Long (9th round, Boston Yanks), Warren Hodges (26th round, Chicago Cardinals) and George Dick (30th round, Detroit Lions).
Following two years at Kansas (1941-42), Evans spent three years in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II before returning to Kansas for two additional years (1946-47).
In his final two season, the Jayhawk football team won a pair of Big Six football championships (1946, 1947) and played in the 1948 Orange Bowl where Evans scored both touchdowns for KU. He was named a football All-American in 1947 and later a two-time Helms Foundation basketball All-American (1942, 1943).
Following the end of his eligibility, Evans played one year in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1948.
He is the only Jayhawk to have his number retired in two sports – football (42) and men’s basketball (15). Evans was inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Honor, the Helms Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, Helms Foundation Basketball Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame and the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame.