Kansas Jayhawks Football: Top Sixteen All-Time in Rushing Yards

Kansas Jayhawks running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) - Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas Jayhawks running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) - Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kansas Jayhawks helmet – Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas Jayhawks helmet – Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas Jayhawks football program has existed for 115 years and boasts some of the greatest rushers the game has ever known.

The Kansas Jayhawks have had their moments on the gridiron through the years, and some of the best rushers ever to play the game donned the crimson and blue over the years.

The school’s football history includes two Pro Football Hall-of-Fame running backs, a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, a four-time NFL Pro-Bowler for the Los Angeles Rams, and a three-time Canadien Football League rushing leader.

Since 1956, the Jayhawks have featured 30 players to gain more than 1,000 yards on the ground during their career, 11 with more than 2,000, and four who topped the 3,000-yard mark.

While the Kansas Jayhawks have not been the most successful football school in the country over the years, they have had some talented athletes carry the ball. According to Sports-Reference, the Jayhawks are 521-574-54 in their history.

They have only one more double-digit win season (three – 1905, 1995, and 2007) than they have Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs.

Still, some of the names and accomplishments on this list are impressive.

Kansas is known as a basketball school, but fans should be proud of the positives in their football history as well.

All stats are courtesy of Sports-Reference.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the top 16 rushers in Kansas Jayhawks football history.

Kansas Jayhawks All-Time Rushing Yards Leaders Number 16: Delvin Williams

Many may not remember who took over as part of the Jayhawks’ backfield after John Riggins was drafted. Delvin Williams not only had produced a solid college career, but he too had a successful career in the NFL, albeit, not of Hall of Fame-caliber like a couple of his KU predecessors.

Williams played sparingly in his first two seasons at Kansas, though his numbers were good, averaging over 5.0 yards per carry both years. As a senior, he carried the workload and wracked up more than a thousand yards from scrimmage.

  • Rushing Yards – 1,649
  • Carries – 377
  • Rushing Touchdowns – 13
  • Yards per Carry – 4.4
  • Total Yards from Scrimmage – 2,047
  • Total Touchdowns – 15

Williams was impressive enough to catch the eye of the San Francisco 49ers, who selected him in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft. He had a very successful seven-year NFL career with the 49ers and Miami Dolphins (not counting a very brief appearance with the Packers.

He compiled 5,598 yards rushing as a professional, including two seasons with more than 1,200 yards. He added 1,415 yards receiving, and he scored 39 touchdowns.

He was selected to two Pro Bowls in 1976 and 1978 and was an All-Pro in 1978.

He is just one of many Jayhawks who enjoyed a great professional career after their time on campus.

Next: Tough Runner on Some Bad Teams