Kansas running back James Sims (29) is congratulated by offensive linesmen Duane Zlatnik (67) and Jeremiah Hatch (77) after a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Northern Illinois in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Several Jayhawks Getting NFL Opportunities
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A total of nine former Kansas football players are moving on to NFL opportunities via the draft, free agent signings and camp invites.
Tanner Hawkinson was a fifth round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, while Tunde Bakare (Chicago Bears), Greg Brown (San Diego Chargers), Dayne Crist (Kansas City Chiefs), Trevor Marrongelli (Detroit Lions), Bradley McDougald (Kansas City Chiefs), Toben Opurum (Kansas City Chiefs), Josh Williams (Chicago Bears) and Duane Zlatnik (Jacksonville Jaguars) will all be heading off to various NFL camps in the coming weeks.
The following are capsules of the newly NFL bound Jayhawks:
Tunde Bakare, LB (Chicago Bears)
Bakare played in 23 games during his two-year KU career, picking up seven starts at linebacker. He had 87 tackles, 5.5 TFLs and 1.0 sacks. He tallied a career-best 11 tackles at Texas in 2011.
Greg Brown, CB (San Diego Chargers)
Brown played in 50 games during his KU career, starting 28 at cornerback. He recorded 171 career tackles, including a career-best 73 his senior season. He ranked third in the Big 12 in 2012 with 12 pass breakups. He also had five career interceptions and 2.5 TFLs.
Dayne Crist, QB (Kansas City Chiefs)
Crist was selected as one of three permanent team captains prior to the season, despite transferring from Notre Dame for his final collegiate season. He started at quarterback in seven games and saw action in four others. Crist completed 103-of-216 passes for 1,313 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. He connected on a season-long 43-yard pass with Kale Pick on his first offensive play in a Jayhawk uniform. His best game as a Jayhawk came against TCU, where he threw for a season-best 303 yards on 19-of-39 passing.
Tanner Hawkinson, OL (Cincinnati Bengals)
Hawkinson earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors from the conference's coaches, the Associated Press, Phil Steele Magazine and the San Antonio Express News in 2012, while starting all 12 games at left tackle for the Jayhawks. He finished his KU career having started a school-record 48-consecutive starts. His 48 career starts and 48-straight starts are both team records. Hawkinson was a third team All-Big 12 selection in 2011 and earned freshman All-America honors in 2009 after starting every game on the KU offensive line in his first season. He was chosen to play in the East-West Shrine Game following the 2012 season where he helped lead the West Team to a 28-13 win. Hawkinson was selected with the 23rd pick in the fifth round, making him the 156th pick overall. He is the first Jayhawk to be selected by the Bengals since 2010 when the organization tabbed wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe in the sixth round. Former KU offensive lineman Anthony Collins is currenly a member of the Bengals and was a 2008 NFL Draft pick of the club.
Trevor Marrongelli, OL (Detroit Lions)
Marrongelli started 30 games during his Kansas career, playing both guard and center. He started the final 24 games of his career and helped the Jayhawks produce a 1,000-yard rusher and rank second in rushing in the Big 12 his senior season. Marrongelli is also a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honoree and a four-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree.
Bradley McDougald, S (Kansas City Chiefs)
McDougald was a Second Team All-Big 12 honoree by the league's coaches, a Third Team All-Big 12 mention by Phil Steele Magazine and earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors by the Associated Press in 2012. In his final season at KU, McDougald finished eighth in the Big 12 with 92 tackles and tied for 10th in the league with three interceptions. He concluded his KU career with 203 tackles, seven interceptions, seven pass breakups, 10.0 TFLs and 2.0 sacks. He earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors by the conference's coaches in 2011 and was named a Freshman All-Big 12 honoree in 2009 by The Sporting News. McDougald was chosen to play in the East-West Shrine Game following the 2012 season where he and Hawkinson helped lead the West Team to a 28-13 win.
Toben Opurum, LB-FB (Kansas City Chiefs)
Opurum began his KU career as a running back earning Rivals.com Freshman All-Big 12 honors. In 2009 he was the first freshman to lead Kansas in rushing in a season since Clark Green in 2002. As a freshman he shared time with senior running back Jake Sharp, but carried 133 times for a team-best 554 yards and nine touchdowns. His career-best rushing game he piled up 109 yards against Southern Miss. During his one season on offense, Opurum caught 13 passes out of the backfield for 105 yards and one touchdown. Opurum spent the remainder of his career on defense where he tallied 109 total tackles, including a career-best 45 as a junior. He registered 19.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and seven pass breakups.
Josh Williams, DE (Chicago Bears)
After transferring from Nebraska for his final season of eligibility, Williams started all 12 games at defensive end for KU in 2012. He made 24 stops on the season, including two TFLs. Williams added three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries. He tallied a career-high six tackles at Baylor, including a solo TFL.
Duane Zlatnik, OL (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Zlatnik earned Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in 2012 from the Associated Press. He started 32 games during his Kansas career, playing both guard positions. He started the final 31 of the final 32 games of his career and helped the Jayhawks produce a 1,000-yard rusher and rank second in rushing in the Big 12 his senior season.